Self-Publishing News: 5.15.2017

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this week in the world of self-publishing:

Beginning in March, Amazon began a policy which allowed third-party sellers the right to purchase the “Buy Box” for new books being sold on Amazon. Why is this such a big deal? Traditionally, by default, the “Buy Box” has always been something that belonged to the original publisher of the book. That way, when you purchase a book, 45% of the profits go back to the publisher, and in turn, help pay authors. “This contributes to authors’ royalties,” says Brook Warner, “and also means that your purchase is supporting the entity that published the book, namely the publisher.” Warner suggests that this policy not only favors the largest third-seller parties, but it drastically affects publishers and authors.

Warner is affiliated with the publishing industry, so she has seen first hand the negative impacts of this change. One of the authors published under Warner’s press called her to inform her that her book was no longer being offered at all on Amazon from her publisher. If someone were to search for the title of her book, the only available purchase options were from third-party publishing companies. “Amazon’s policy states that ‘eligible sellers will be able to compete for the buy box,’” says Warner, “but in this case, we had been completely wiped off of Amazon as an eligible seller in any capacity, without being notified.” After more investigation, Warner found that some books published by a company she used to work at, Seal Press, were only offering copies from third-party sellers.

The problem with this new policy, according to Warner, is that it affects publishers’ backlist for books “(typically meaning any book that’s six months or older).” To someone buying the book, it appears as though the third-party seller is the only available purchase option, and if they did click the “more buying options” button, it would only alert them to cheaper versions of the book, not the one for sale by the publishing company which is listed as “sold by Amazon.com,” with no nod to the publishing company at all. Because small publishing companies are especially dependent on backlist sales, and because Amazon is the main source for backlist sales, Amazon is making it look as though a lot of these books are out of print with their publishing companies when in fact, they are not.

What are the biggest takeaways from this new policy by Amazon? For Warner, it is that they are trying to further drive down the value and cost of books, something they’ve already done with their ebooks by encouraging authors to sell their books for under $10 by giving the incentive of better royalties if they do so. Further, this makes it so that authors can’t earn royalties for the sale of their books. Amazon has suggested to people who are upset about the “buy box” competition that they should keep their books in stock which is problematic for self-published authors or backlist authors whose books are only available by print-on-demand, which are only printed to order, i.e. out of stock. “This new third-party seller policy is potentially terrorizing,” says Warner, “in that it can and will literally result in publishers selling fewer copies and ultimately being forced to declare backlist books out of print.”

In order to counter this effort by Amazon Warner suggests supporting indie bookstores, avoiding third-party sellers and always considering how your purchase will affect the authors, especially if you yourself are an author. Driving down the cost of books means driving down the value of your creative and intellectual property, which as authors we should all value very highly.


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Self-Publishing News: 5.1.2017

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this week in the world of self-publishing:

Yesterday, in his article for the UK’s Express, author John Marrs dishes on what it took for him to survive all of those rejection letters–and still rise to the top, albeit through different means. Self-published means! Writes Marrs, “I assumed that with more than 20 years as a journalist behind me, writing for national magazines and newspapers, I might have had a slight advantage over other new writers on the hunt for an agent. How naive I was.” And how common an experience this is, for authors today. Becoming published, it seems, has less to do with skill and experience than with some nebulous formula for blockbuster success which the traditional Big Five publishing houses then fail to make good on in most cases. (We’ve talked about midlist authors here on the blog before, and how difficult it is to succeed in publishing even with a publishing house at your back.)

Luckily for Marrs (and everyone else), he found another way. He self-published through Amazon, and his book began to sell. The secret? Family. “I was fortunate that enough family and friends of friends bought The Wronged Sons for it to make an impact on Amazon’s charts,” writes Marrs. “Then, once visible, people I didn’t know began downloading it, too. Recommendations also came from members of online book clubs.” And he didn’t stop there–he released two more books, both of which became big sellers. He has since signed on with a traditional publishing house, but that, he says, is not the greatest reward he’s experienced as a result of self-publishing. Instead, it’s the fans: “One of my favourite things to have come from this ride is being able to interact with readers. They often tweet me to chat about characters or storylines they enjoyed and send me pictures on Instagram of my books in countries as far and wide as Canada, the Maldives and New Zealand,” he writes. If you’re a reader of self-published books, we hope you take a moment to tweet or comment on your favorite authors’ social media accounts today. It makes a big difference!

In this April 26th piece for the Entrepreneur, Samita Sarkar explains why running a kickstarter to launch your book is hard–and maybe not advisable. And in an age when launching a book is already hard, this may seem like a harsh judgement but in fact Sarkar’s thoughts are tempered by compassion and a great deal of wisdom. “Self-published authors know that you can spend months — or years — honing your writing craft,” she writes, “but as soon as your book goes to print, you’re no longer just a writer; you’re also an entrepreneur. Your publishing imprint is your company, and your book is your product.” This is not a bad thing, but it can lead to some interesting consequences when Kickstarter is involved.

“Statistics from Kickstarter show that most of that platform’s campaigns fail,” writes Sarkar, “And that’s not good, because your Kickstarter page is never deleted. So, for years to come, anyone who Googles your name may stumble upon that failed campaign. Out of 349,504 total campaigns,Kickstarter reports, just 123,447 succeeded –a 35 percent success rate. Some 14 percent of projects finished without receiving a single pledge.” You will want to weigh this possible (or statistically probable) result against your need for money. But Sarkar also has some points on how to make Kickstarter work, and these points are worth paying attention to. Read the rest of her article to find out more!


spa-news

As a self-publishing author, you may find it helpful to stay up-to-date on the trends and news related to the self-publishing industry.This will help you make informed decisions before, during and after the self-publishing process, which will lead to a greater self-publishing experience. To help you stay current on self-publishing topics, simply visit our blog every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Top 5 Reasons for Self Publishing in October

Has publishing your book been on your to-do list for months, or even years? Does your book always get pushed to the end of your to-do list because you are overwhelmed with work and home responsibilities? Are you one of those people who always finds a reason to wait? Well, wait no more. October is the perfect time to take the leap into self publishing. Here are five reasons why.

1) Complete Your 2012 News Year’s Resolution

When the clock struck 12 on January 1, 2012, did you vow to publish a book this year? Now that it is October, are you feeling guilty for not fulfilling that resolution? Well, if you start the self publishing process in October, your book will be complete by the end of the year. A high quality self-published book typically takes 6-15 weeks to complete. If you start now, your book will be done by the end of 2012.

2) Get a Head Start on Your 2013 Resolution

So maybe publishing wasn’t one of your resolutions this year, but you want it to be one of your resolutions next year. Why not get a head start and start the self publishing process now? This way, you can show off your new book in 2013 instead of rushing to publish before the year is over.

3) It’s A Great Time for Spooky Reads

Do you write horror or thrillers? Do you want to write a children’s book about Halloween? October is a great month to work on these projects. The cool air and pumpkin lattes at your favorite coffee shop can set the tone for a fall book and help motivate you to complete great Halloween stories.

4) Avoid the Holiday Chaos

November through January are the busiest months for most people. You are scrambling around to shop for gifts, bake goodies and attend holiday parties. If you start the self publishing process in October, you can begin before you become consumed by twinkling lights and sugar cookies.

5) Free Amazon Extreme

Amazon Extreme is a marketing package (worth over $300) available through Outskirts Press. It helps self-publishing authors sell more books by taking advantage of the various options available through Amazon. For authors who start the self publishing process in October, the package is FREE! Yes, free. Click here to learn more.

So what are you waiting for? Make October the month you made your dreams come true.

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you on the right path.

The Amazon Experience for Self Publishing Authors

Amazon, the single largest book retailer, couldn’t be friendlier in helping self-publishing authors sell their books. Whether you’ve already published your book or are still in the writing or production process, prepare these Amazon options to maximize your books sales.

Amazon Look Inside the Book: This is the online equivalent to readers picking your book up off the shelf and flipping through the pages. An optional feature, “Look Inside” provides an icon over your book’s cover image and allows readers to browse through portions of your interior content. Amazon claims that books utilizing this option see considerably higher sales over those that do not.

Amazon Key Word Submission: Amazon allows readers to browse by category or key words. Imagine being transported instantly around a bookstore the size of football fields without having to use a map or ask an employee for directions. This is the experience Amazon customers find in typing in a simple keyword or phrase. (Few readers browse by titles or author; this is especially true for first-time authors.) The key is determining  the top ten keywords for your book.

Amazon Kindle: The Kindle is everywhere, and for good reason. It is a revolutionary digital reading device that allows individuals to instantly purchase books anywhere, anytime. One source noted that Kindle owners, on average, buy three times more books than non-Kindle owners. Kindle editions must be submitted through special formatting, which some self-publishing companies offer.

Amazon Reviews: Finally, email, call, and knock on the doors of everyone you know who can contribute a credible review of your self-published book and have them post their feedback on your book’s Amazon listing page. This will help convince readers that your book is worth buying.

I’d love to know, what is your favorite Amazon feature?

ABOUT JODEE THAYER: With over 20 years of experience in   sales and management, Jodee Thayer works as the Manager of Author Services   for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department   is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants;   together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the   book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your   career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist   seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Jodee Thayer can put you   on the right path.