Self-Publishing News: 5.18.2021

news from the world of
self-publishing

There has been a lot of news lately regarding self-publishing and politics, specifically how it is providing a publishing haven for those individuals that have been rejected by the Big Four traditional publishing houses (Penguin Random House/S&S, Hachette, Macmillan, and HarperCollins as of May 2021; PRH has already begun the process of absorbing Simon & Schuster). At first glance, this news isn’t a surprise, as self-publishing has always been the place where authors previously seeking traditional book deals turn after finding them too constricting or flat-out unavailable. What’s different this time is how the choice, repeated regularly and often by high-profile politicians or those affiliated with politicians, has set up self-publishing to be cast as partisan: right now, those affiliated with the conservative right are self-publishing, while those affiliated with the conservative left are championing traditional publishing. Or at least, that’s how news outlets are covering the various happenings. This article from Fischer and Rummler of Axios outlines the sequence of events that has led up to this situation, and holds back from drawing too many conclusions. It is to be hoped that these same news outlets will also cover the critical role that self-publishing has played in providing a platform for diverse and marginalized voices of all kinds for decades, and steer clear of judging the many thousands of such writers who continue to self-publish today.

Time for a palate-cleanser! This article from Forbes contributor J.J. Hebert is not quite what it looks like, as it’s most definitely an argument for self-publishing. (Many articles that start with “Don’t X before X” end up being arguments against X.) Hebert, CEO of a self-publishing company and a self-publishing author himself, covers five critical aspects of the process that lay the groundwork for a solid start for those authors who have not yet taken the leap. His questions cover everything from quality control and editing to format options to identifying target readers to selecting a self-publishing platform that fits an author’s needs. It’s a fantastic and fairly concise introduction to much of the architecture required for a solid self-published success.

It has been a rough year for those who love (or whose success depends on) book fairs. Thankfully, many companies have been working hard to adapt to the post-pandemic world, and Publishers’ Weekly is hosting its inaugural PW US Book Show from May 25-27. They’ve updated their website with a list of participating virtual “booths,” and you can find out plenty more about pricing information and how to participate [ here ] and [ here ]. This virtual book show is intended to fill part of the vacuum left behind after the cancellation of so many in-person bookish events, and to provide librarians and booksellers (and those affiliated) with access to information to assist in connecting readers with their books. As with many other book fairs, though, the general public is invited to attend. It will prove to be an interesting experiment!

This much-needed article from Book Riot provides a straightforward and comprehensive explanation of what both traditionally and self-published authors make, on average, from their books each year. It also provides a nice breakdown of what all the complicated terminology means, which is just as important. And finally, it also profiles fifteen authors from all kinds of backgrounds and from both spheres of publishing who were willing to share data on what they make. Article author Sarah Nicolas refrains from sharing most of their identities (Jim C. Hines is an exception), and notes that none of the big “blockbuster” authors (think Grisham, Rowling, Quinn, etc) shared theirs. But even beyond the fascinating data we find the stories of how the finances fit into individual authors’ lives most revealing of all. Given the range of authors who participated, there should hopefully be at least one that can provide insight and context for new authors looking to break in to the publishing world. Would you need to pay for medical insurance out of your book earnings if you wrote full-time? Do you plan to write as a side-job? How much, after taxes, do you need to achieve your financial goals? What does your schedule look like? Each author Nicolas interviewed has something different to share.

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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 each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

Self-Publishing News: 4.13.2021

news from the world of
self-publishing

This article from Amy Rosen for Toronto’s The Globe and Mail is everything we needed over the last couple of weeks: a dash of joy, and the solid affirmation that we’re not alone in looking for and publishing information on a new generation of platforms that have evolved in the post-print newspaper age. (Not that we don’t love print or newspapers! As with all new and wonderful things, these new ways and means will eventually, if they haven’t already, reach a new and happy balance with the old, and all will be welcome tools in the race to learn about this wild world of ours.) Writes Rosen, “From knitting and kneading to photography and illustrating, PDFs, e-books and other downloadable guides are surging in popularity. Selling DIY digital downloads is becoming the modern-day way to let your creative and entrepreneurial passions fly.” Rosen highlights one of the earliest DIY sources of such self-published projects: “On Etsy, makers sell digital downloads of face-mask designs, knitting patterns and printable 3-D gift boxes. No middlemen, no shipping, no waiting.” If someone hasn’t already immortalized that statement in needlepoint, one of us most definitely will––it’s our ethic, down to our very core. Rosen also covers the story of a cookbook author whose digitally downloadable new PDF ebook may “lack the cachet of the printed book,” but whose $5 download fee “translates into far more money per purchase than she’d receive with a traditional book deal.” She also points the way to numerous other kinds of creatives who have used the various ebook self-publishing methods available to them to take advantage of the pandemic-driven surge in experimentation and craftiness. This article is an injection of pure inspiration for those of us casting about for our next simple-but-productive project.

Entrepreneur.com has published many other thought-provoking pieces on self-publishing in the past, and continues that trend by hosting JJ Hebert’s recent collection of marketing tips for self-published books. (A list of five has always held an appealing degree of symmetry!) “Writing a good book is one of the simplest ways to establish yourself as an expert on a topic,” he notes early in his article; “Your book can serve as the ultimate business card, both as a way to connect with people and build your reputation.” And of course, he has both plenty of experience and a personal stake in self-publishing. “As the owner of a self-publishing company,” he writes, “I am an adamant believer in the value of self-publishing. Not only does self-publishing give you have complete control of your book, but you’ll enjoy higher royalty rates as well.” But how to find success in such a packed field as self-publishing? For Hebert, success ultimately comes down to marketing, and successful marketing comes down to branding, reviews, emails, a certain carpe diem attitude, and crafting a solid architecture of support. For more information and explanations of these barest hints, we highly recommend you read the entirety of Hebert’s article, linked above.

We’ve written about the three (primary or popular) models of publishing available to the average human before on this blog, but it has been a minute since we’ve revisited the topic, and Alinka Rutkowska does such a fabulous job in this article for Forbes that we recommend brushing up on the big three categories of publishing (traditional, hybrid, and self-published or “indie”) by checking it out. As Rutkowska notes straight off, “Traditional publishing is considered prestigious, difficult, long — and lucrative for a rare few.” While recognizing the perks of successfully navigating the traditional route, Rutkowska advises readers to be realistic about the likelihood of doing so; when it comes to searching for an agent, “only a very small percentage of the authors who pitch agents will hear back from them, so your chances are pretty slim. If you do make it, you should be prepared to relinquish some creative control as your book will now be ushered into the hands of a group of professionals.” As for the other routes, Rutkowska makes it clear that they, too, have some substantial benefits, and might just prove more accessible to the average writer. “The beautiful thing about self-publishing is that there are no gatekeepers and the market becomes the ultimate judge,” writes Rutkowska, before going on to allocate the lion’s share of the article to describing what she defines as “hybrid” (and it should be noted here that definitions vary wildly, and that some industry experts would consider what she describes to incorporate significant aspects of what others would consider plain ol’ regular self-publishing). With a devastating gift for brevity, Rutskaya’s article is a quick but interesting read.

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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 each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

Self-Publishing News: 1.11.2021

news from the world of
self-publishing

The end of an era has arrived. The Kindle Lending Library has been one of Amazon’s longest-running services, having been launched in 2011 in part to help boost readership of the self-published works in its collection. The loss of access to this service will be a blow to those authors who have listed their titles in the Kindle Store, in that it will lower the circulation of their books, and will be deprived of the algorithmic benefits of proving popular in the lending library––once upon a time at least, if a book became popular in the Kindle Lending Library, it gained both word-of-mouth benefits in its offline sales and in exposure to new readers on Amazon by way of the “If you liked [x] you might also like [y]” algorithm. Writes Kozlowski, “This program was basically supplanted in 2016, when Amazon released Prime Reading. […] You can borrow up to 8 titles at a time, so it makes sense to use this over the Lending Library.  Prime Reading is also available in way more markets, such as Canada, US, most of Europe and even China.” His next paragraph is even more telling:

Amazon hardly ever announces the discontinuation of products or services, but they did it for this one.  With the Lending Library now officially over, in a couple of weeks, where do you get content now? Amazon is continuing to hype up Prime Reading for members, just like Prime Video is free for subscribers. Amazon also has Kindle Unlimited, which has way more titles than PR, but you have to pay a monthly fee.

Michael Kozlowski, Good eReader

If Kozlowski is correct, most readers who use Amazon as their point source for new reading material will already have crossed over from the lending library to the Prime Reading option, so the end of the service may have no further negative impact on self-publishing authors. That said, it marks both the end of an era and reflects Amazon’s overall shift away from its early days of author advocacy to a de-prioritization of those same authors’ best interests.

Evan Winter, a traditionally published fantasy author, originally published this think piece in the SFWA Bulletin, a publication of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and one of the premiere SF&F-related publications out there. Even though Winter himself has chosen to publish exclusively by way of the traditional route, he structures his article as a sort of exposé of the publishing industry overall and comparing both traditional and self-published “ecosystems.” Writes Winter, “Not long ago, I was asked where traditional publishing spaces are failing self-published writers, and I think I may have an answer: everywhere.” His decision, he writes, was informed by the democratizing influence of self-publishing and the power of traditional publishing to promote his books’ visibility––spliced with a healthy abundance of representat

This is because traditional publishing spaces aren’t structured in form or objectives to value the needs of self-published writers and their works. The ecosystem in which these spaces operate isn’t set up for self-published books and so the books have an extremely difficult time gaining the attention and acceptance of enough traditional publishing spaces to maintain a virtuous cycle of visibility, which is a primary benefit that these spaces offer. 

Evan Winter, SFWA Bulletin

While he goes on to define the benefits to self-publishing for diverse authors who have not had a chance to see characters like them on the page––”Today, self-published writers can be read, make a living, and put out stories that might have an ardent audience even if those same stories wouldn’t attract an advocate in traditional publishing”––Winter admits that he chose to publish traditionally for commercial reasons. Even though this article is a testimony to that choice, it also, we believe, poses an important question to authors wavering in their own decision-making: How much do you value the preservation of your original perfect vision for your book’s content? That’s the trade-off: visibility for creative control. It’s a tough choice for many, we know.



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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 each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

Self-Publishing News: 12.22.2020

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:

In this commentary piece for the LA Times, Chad Post creates something of a nightmarish interpretation of the future in which Penguin Random House, the largest of all current traditional publishing houses, subsumes not just Simon & Schuster (the third-largest publishing house) but lays the groundwork for the decline of indie and small press publishing. PRH, whose holding company recently purchased S&S, will now be the largest traditional publishing company in history, and its only competition––Amazon––is not exactly a problem-free alternative for readers looking to support their independent publishers, bookstores, and authors as well. Writes Post,

Here’s my darkest vision of this merger: The first post-COVID-19 gathering of the Winter Institute, the only formal convention bringing together publishers and booksellers (now that BookExpo might be permanently retired), will be dominated by PRHS&S. They will have special dinners, busing booksellers to fancy venues every night to explain why it has the most important (meaning sellable) books over shrimp scampi. Meanwhile, the true laborers of the book industry — those who hustle and work the angles, who take the greatest risks and reap the paltriest rewards — will barely get any bookseller facetime at all.

There are many reasons why this could pose an issue to all of us invested in self-publishing, but it is also, as Post puts it, a rallying cry: “These two giants, PRHS&S and Amazon — helped along by COVID-19 — could put any number of presses out of business, further reducing the diversity of voices available to readers like you. And that’s exactly what we should stand against in 2021.” We couldn’t agree more.

Is the Publishing Industry Dead? by Alexis Davis 

In this article from Web Writers Spotlight, Alexis Davis asks a question oft-asked by those outside of the self-publishing industry: Has self-publishing (along with the Internet) killed the radio star––er, publishing industry? Or as she puts it more eloquently, “When ebooks exploded on the scene, experts predicted that the end of print publishing was nigh. […] Many rushed out and bought e-readers. How we consumed books forever changed. But did the advent of electronic publishing deliver a fatal blow to print publishing, and how has self-publishing affected the industry?” The answer, according to Davis, may in fact be surprising––again, to those who aren’t already in the know. Writes Davis, “In the U.S., print remains the most popular book format, with 65% of adults having read a print book in the last 12 months.” Just because digital options exist, she hints, doesn’t mean readers will abandon their favorite reading options. Digital means more options, not fewer preferences. “Just as digital music didn’t kill radio, digital publishing didn’t kill print. Radio adapted by offering live streaming. The publishing industry adapted by embracing ebooks and audiobooks,” writes Davis. “With the rise of self- and indie-publishing, we now have a more robust industry with more options available to writers, and that’s a good thing.” For the rest of Davis’ article, click the link above––it’s well worth the read.


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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 each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.

Self-Publishing News: Thanksgiving Week

And now for the news.

Highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing:
  • Indie Success: “The Best of All Possible Worlds” by Matia Madrona Query

The week of Thanksgiving, it seems appropriate that we stumbled upon this news in Publisher’s Weekly covering the self-publishing success story of Hugh Howey––an author launched into mainstream fame by the publication of Wool and its sequels starting in 2013. Query writes of his transitions back and forth between the indie method and the traditional publishing pipeline––once his work had already built an audience of fans online and in the first self-published print edition of Wool, his books have been picked up by publishers to re-release using their wide distribution networks. In an interview, Query concludes by asking Howey “Do you anticipate continuing to publish your future books independently?” His response on that question alone is worth reading the entire article:

I’m not sure how I’ll publish my next novel. The joy of self-publishing is that there’s little delay between a finished product and reaching readers. And, as Wool has shown, just because you publish a book on your own doesn’t mean it can’t find a publishing partner later on. The one thing I’ve learned in this business is to think about the reader first and foremost. If you do that, everything else is more likely to fall into place.

– Hugh Howey to Matia Madrona Query in Publisher’s Weekly Online

One of the aspects of self-publishing that we love the most here on Self-Publishing Advisor is its appeal to authors in all sorts of unexpected fields and its utility for all different possible kinds of content: text-heavy works like novels, educational materials, and so on––as well as visual-heavy materials such as zines, cookbooks, and photography portfolios! In this case Doug Allan, widely known for his partnership projects with the legendary Sir David Attenborough (note: for US readers, Attenborough has several spectacular documentaries and series easily accessible by way of several of the big streaming services). Allan’s photos are famous around the world for their quality, and for his ability to get right up in among his subjects. And now, Allan is advocating for self-publishing among his photographer colleagues on Digital Camera World. This is an absolute must-read!


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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 each month to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.