Self-Publishing News: 2.20.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

In a fast-paced world, articles with bullet points (especially numbered ones) seem to rule as far as attention grabbers go. Consumers look and see a title like “8 tips for how to self-publish your novel” and think, ‘I’ll read the all of the emboldened points and skim the ones that interest me most, and then I can get back to my really interesting Facebook news feed.’

Ricardo Fayet, provides one such streamlined list for those thinking about taking the plunge into the self-publishing world. Fayet’s list is one worth going over because, while it is concise, it has some insightful tips that one might not consider off-hand.

  1. Know your audience
  2. Create a writing routine and be consistent with it
  3. Give your manuscript to readers and gather reactions before publishing
  4. “Know your budget and do your research”
  5. “Always hire a developmental editor”
  6. DO NOT design your own book cover
  7. “Don’t think of distribution as digital vs. print” — there’s a market for both!
  8. “Build your mailing list before you publish your book”

Within each of these tips, Fayet has pretty sound advice that is fleshed out succinctly, but with enough information to persuade you that he’s done his research. Click the link above and pluck what piece of writer wisdom you can from it!

For a more heart-warming piece, we’ll turn to the story of Dawn Reed, a woman who had the (quite achievable) dream of publishing a children’s book. Reed’s story had been rejected several times over, which would turn some dreamers into cynics or quitters. However, Reed had a more realistic (and optimistic) understanding of these rejections.

I think of Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) who was rejected by over 20 publishers and Norman Bridwell, writer of the Clifford the Big Red Dog books, who was turned away by 15 publishing companies…and I keep going,” says Reed.

Rather than let the rejections stop her in her tracks, Reed simply chose another route–that of self-publishing. While working with a self-publishing company, a bizarre thing happened. Dawn received an email saying, “Hi. Your dream is over. Your book will never be published…” Reed was obviously crushed, but turned to things such as prayer as a way of coping with what seemed to be both terrible and impossible news.

Luckily, after probing and inquiring about the strange email, she received word “from the Vice President and Director of Production,” she said, “His email account had been hacked, and that’s why I received the harsh notice. I was so relieved!”

If you consider yourself a fellow dreamer, lover of writing and self-publishing, read this article to see how Dawn dealt with the possibility of her dreams being shattered time and time again, and how she turned out to still become a self–published author nonetheless. It’s an inspiring article that I’m sure many of us can empathize with.

 


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.


Kelly

ABOUT 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: 2.13.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

In this article, Jeremy Ryan Slate asks the question, “Why use a publisher at all?” in lieu of the question, “Why publish at all?” when confronted with the reality that only 1% of books published in 2016 ever made it to an actual bookshelf.

Slate uses the example of a book by Jared Kleinert called, “2 Billion Under 20” to really send his point home. Kleinert’s book–which focused on millennial entrepreneurs–did well initially. However, because the author went through a traditional publisher, when the book’s sales began to fizzle out he wasn’t able to use/repurpose the content of the book to generate sales because he had waived the right to do so with his publisher.

Thus came the impetus for Kleinert’s next book, “3 Billion Under 30,” which he decided to self-publish, for a handful of reasons, some of which are elaborated on in this article. First was networking–the stories he compiled to make the book came from over 75 entrepreneurs, all of whom used the book as a platform for their brand, in turn helping Kleinert establish his own brand. Secondly was the press component: when you self-publish you can promote the text on your blog, website or other social media platform by publishing excerpts–a liberty you do not get when going with a traditional publisher. Lastly, Kleinert–a true businessman–has come to realize that the free market has made it more profitable for editors and designers to freelance than it was for them to work for traditional publishing companies. Thus, the best of the best are accessible to self-publishing authors who are willing to pay to have professionally designed and edited books, of the same (if not better) quality provided by traditional publishing companies.

To read more insights from the entrepreneurially minded, read the full article by clicking the link above!

Maryann Breukelman’s first published novel is entitled, “The Secret Bookstore” and is described by the author as “a modern fable …a sort of a fairytale for adults.” Written under the pen name, Magnus Fox, Breukelman identifies with the main character, who embraced the fear of the unknown so as to find a path to self-discovery–much like the author feels she herself did by self-publishing this piece. Breukelman has written many manuscripts, but most remain hidden away or abandoned before she decided to explore writing in a new genre with “The Secret Bookstore.”

“The novel follows the journey of Fox, a disillusioned accountant who finds his life thrown into chaos at the appearance of a mysterious woman urging him to seek out a secret bookstore and ultimately his true purpose in life.

Fox is faced with the decision to leave his comfortable life behind and risk it all in the quest. The book follows that journey into the depths of a distant forest, chronicling Fox’s growing obsession as he faces a series of extraordinary events.”

This book can be read as an entertaining tale of adventure, or as a more philosophical plunge into the question of “why self-publish?” or what our purpose in life might be.


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.


Kelly

ABOUT 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: 2.6.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

Because I love the juxtaposition of these two articles on Amazon in relation to self-publishing, I’m going to present them both and let the readers formulate their own opinion on this corporate conglomerate. First, we’ll start with an article by Doris Booth that analyzes the ways in which Amazon “vigorously promotes its 70% royalty plan over its 35% plan to compensate authors on the sale of their e-books.”

But, 70% is DOUBLE 35% you say. Diving deeper, however, Booth unveils how the promotion of the higher royalty package is actually misleading.

“Believe it or not, the writer earns more money on the 35% plan than on the 70% plan. Why? Because the 70% plan is based on the publisher’s net income and the 35% plan is based on the gross sales price of the book. A book priced at $9.99 based on 70% of the publisher’s net income earns you $3.15. The same book based on 35% of the gross sales price yields $3.50.” – Booth

With that in mind, and also considering the fact that amazon puts a ceiling of $9.99 for the price of the ebooks using the 70% plan, while authors using the 35% plan can pick the price at which they’d like to sell their work.

More interestingly, the 70% plan grants Amazon exclusive rights to your piece, meaning you cannot sell it on ANY other platform, even if that platform was simply your own website. You grant them this exclusivity and you receive nothing up front. That’s right, “the author who signs the exclusive deal has just given away his or her entire content for free to Amazon, at least initially,” says Booth.

Further, when/if you do get paid by Amazon, it will not be based on the sale of the individual copies of your book, but rather, on the number of pages read by those who purchased it. So if your book sold for $9.99, but the reader only got 15 pages in, “your royalties will be calculated upon how many pages of your book are read, divided by the number of other books read that month.” Booth continues on with a more staggering statistic; “In hard-to-find data, Digital Book World reported not long ago that Amazon Kindle’s monthly individual author payout equaled $1.38.” One dollar and thirty-eight cents per month, you couldn’t buy a can of Coca-Cola with that.

I would definitely encourage authors to do their research, perhaps beginning with the piece above by Booth, before deciding where to self-publish their work. If choosing Amazon, carefully read the plans and what they offer you as a client, and don’t be too easily persuaded by larger numbers that are hiding larger inadequacies as far as returns go.

One lucky author is going to receive £20,000 as the Kindle Storyteller Prize winner in 2017. “The prize is open to any author who publishes their book through Kindle Direct Publishing between February 20 and May 19 this year,” says Tristan Fane Saunders, “Entries from any genre are eligible – including fiction, non-fiction and collections of short stories – so long as they are more than 5,000 words and previously unpublished.” So, if after reading the previous article and you do decide to publish with Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon, you could end up with a pretty big paycheck.

The incentive to offer a prize like this? Saunders seems to allude to dwindling Kindle sales and a general decline in ebook sale, “having shrunk 2.4% over the previous year.”

Whatever your opinion on Amazon might be, it has provided a streamlined way for authors to directly publish their work online. Be it for better or worse, being able to get your story published is often half the battle, and Amazon turned that battle into a breeze.


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.


Kelly

ABOUT 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: 1.30.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

 

This week, Publisher’s Weekly gave some predictions for self-publishing in 2017. According to this article, a 21% increase in ISBN registrations between 2014-2015 alone will definitely make some alterations to the self-publishing market. “New services have made it easier than ever to launch self-publishing projects,”  says Alex Daniel, author of this piece, “and as the landscape gets more crowded, it becomes more difficult for authors to stand out and make a profit.”

However, this isn’t just a problem for self-published authors, but authors in general. The rise of the Kindle and other ebook readers has lead to an increase in supply of ebooks, and not necessarily an increase in demand. Daniel says that Amazon “requires participating authors to publish e-books exclusively with Amazon and allows titles to be eligible for Kindle Unlimited—a program that provides unlimited books for readers who pay a monthly subscription fee.” This means that authors are not compensated for how many books they sell online, but rather how many pages of their books are read by online subscribers.

As you can imagine, author’s reaction to the struggle in the online book marketplace has been to retreat from a sole focus on ebook business–to try and get their paperback or hardcover books back into bookstores and libraries, and to expand into other sectors such as audio books and television. Further, Daniel predicts that self-published authors will begin to beef up their business cards by “adding such words as consultant, publisher, and marketer[…], passing on lessons for success to other authors.” This is huge because it means that authors can make some money on the side helping others fulfill their dream of publishing just by sharing their first-hand experiences with self-publishing.

Where the internet seems to be helping authors in 2017, is of course, with marketing. Tapping into exactly who your audience is and what they are looking for has become immensely easier thanks to data from online readers. Not only that, but through social media, authors can directly sell their books to the readers that follow them. This serves a dual-purpose: ease of sales, and the establishment of a more personal connection with you reader base.

We will all have personal, political and business related challenges arise in 2017, however it is not the challenges that will define this year, but how we overcome them. Self-publishing authors are known to utilize their creativity and perseverance in the face of adversity. When a publishing company says “No,” we do not sit quietly and toss our manuscripts aside. If ebook sales are not satisfying our goals, we will find other means to get our work out there. The internet may have its share of flaws, but we can use it as a tool for our success, and this year I challenge you to do just that.


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.


Kelly

ABOUT 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: 1.23.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

Due to the ease of publishing anything from documents to novels on Amazon, some authors are finding that their work is being appropriated without their permission, or even without their knowledge. This kind of plagiarism can be straight copy-and-paste, word for word plagiarism, or it can be slight alterations to the story or wording.

Rachel Ann Nunes, a writer of Mormon fiction, found that one of her stories had been hijacked by a plagiarist who added sex scenes to remarket her stories as more mainstream romance novels. Luckily, a reader of Nune’s picked up on this copyright infringement and asked the plagiarist about the similarities and was told that the authors had collaborated on the piece. When Nune confronted the other author, Mullens, she received a vast amount of backlash on social media from whoever this troll was on the other end of the keyboard. One-star reviews of her book began springing up, hostile Facebook messages from strangers and the like. With this, Nunes was faced with a decision: drop it and let the theft slide, or take legal action. Nunes decided to sue who she believed to be Mullens for damages of $150,000, the trial taking place after the time of this article.

Without astute readers out there to catch this, there is a lot of this word theft that can fly under the radar for vast amounts of time. If it is discovered, you can imagine as an author how absolutely violating that must feel. People pour their heart and souls into their work when creating any piece of writing. To have someone else come along and throw their name on it and take credit for your creative outpouring is not just insulting, it’s a downright slap in the face.

The plagiarism trend seems to hit hardest in romance novels, as they are the biggest sellers in the ebook world, but any genre can fall prey to this. More surprisingly, the culprits aren’t always who you’d imagine they’d be either. Take Laura Harner, for example, a plagiarist who had put out 75 books in just two years. Due to Amazon’s rewards system, which puts authors who publish more often higher in the rankings. Unfortunately, Amazon gets to keep 30% of the profits from all books published on its site, stolen or not, as long as it removes the stolen work if it is discovered to be as such. This means the safeguards for authors who publish through Amazon will never be as good as those when publishing through a traditional publisher, who would be personally liable for violating copyright laws.

In short, the internet makes it quite easy for plagiarists to keep stealing work and making money under new names and new accounts. If signing up is as easy as having an email, and the company your publishing with is more focused on creating lots of content, i.e. lots of money, then it becomes relatively easy to work the system and pass off other people’s work as your own. This is the ugly side of a beautiful technological advance. Anyone can sit behind a keyboard and create a convincing online profile of themselves that does not match their true identity, which makes catching and prosecuting this type of offense extremely difficult.

I highly recommend reading this article for more examples of authors who dealt with this issue. I will also say, that as it is most often readers who catch these perpetrators in the act, remember that your role as a reader is equally as important as it is as a writer. Reading our fellow author’s works is one of the best safeguards we have in this digital age. I found myself profoundly impressed and inspired by the vigilance and support of readers who helped the victims mentioned in this article. It just goes to show how much showing appreciation for your fans can go.


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.


Kelly

ABOUT 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: 1.16.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

Since there’s not much going on in the world of self-publishing this week, I thought it’d be nice to follow up on the article we covered last week entitled, “Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word”, as Huffington Post just released an article with a counter argument titled, “Self-Publishing: An Insult to the Written Word or a Boon to the Industry?”

In this article, Samita Sarkar–a self-published author herself–defends the industry with anecdotal and researched defenses for the industry that Gough had spent an entire article belittling. Sarkar points to the more intimate connectedness self-published authors can achieve with their audience, the freedom they experience with regards to subject matter and the opportunity they have to become their own small-scale printing press.

What Gough called the “burden” of editing independent authors work, Sarkar calls a pleasure and an honor. “These authors are investing in their book and realize that they need professional help to improve on their work and make it more enjoyable for their readers and more marketable,” she says, “Why put them down for that?”

Sarkar finishes the article by critiquing Gough for her heavy focus on the idea that the art of writing itself “has been cheapened by self-publishing,” she goes on, “But self-publishing can help to give people a voice. It provides them an outlet that they may otherwise never have had so they can connect with other people. Isn’t that what art is all about?”

Of course it is. Art is about creative expression. Maybe you don’t prefer the cubist art of Picasso, but instead find yourself more drawn to the High Renaissance art of Leonardo da Vinci; whether or not you have a palate for a particular type of art does not mean that one or the other isn’t art by definition. There are readers that will prefer self-published books and there are readers who will steer clear of them, don’t ever silence yourself because of those who don’t like your work, but keep writing for those who will continue to love and appreciate it.


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.


Kelly

ABOUT 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: 1.9.2017

And now for the news!

This week in the world of self-publishing:

Let’s Kickstart the new year with a piece on funding books with, well…Kickstarter. Funding is always the number one concern when thinking about publishing a book in general, but especially when self-publishing. Dylan Goldby used crowdfunding to help publish a book of his photography and says, “For me, crowdfunding made the most sense because I wanted to leverage my existing contacts, spread the word organically, and use the final product to raise more money without having to pay back any loans, etc.” Further, he says he enjoyed the rewards program built into crowdfunding which allowed him to send copies of his book to those who supported him, which also acted as a networking and marketing tool.

As far as using Kickstarter goes, Goldby has realistic and insightful advice for authors thinking about utilizing this crowdfunding platform. First off, he is explicit in stating that this is a time consuming process, so if you have a more efficient way to raise the money, by all means take advantage of it. The next piece of advice he offers: be prepared. Have your idea fully flushed out, study campaigns that have failed and succeeded and find out why. Part of Goldby’s preparation was creating a folder of Facebook and Instagram posts, emails asking for support, blog posts, videos, etc. Picking core hashtags relevant to your project is another great way to amplify your online presence.

Since you’re already in the self-publishing world, I’ll just keep beating a dead horse and say that marketing is a crucial piece to using Kickstarter–you need to self-promote like it was your job! Keeping up on your social media and networking presence is a fundamental piece to a successful Kickstarter campaign. To find out more about how Goldby experienced such success via this route, read the article above!

If you keep up on Huffington Post, you may have seen the article last week titled: Self-Publishing: An Insult To The Written Word, in which author Laurie Gough makes claims such as, “I’d rather share a cabin on a Disney cruise with Donald Trump than self-publish,” and “From what I’ve seen of it, self-publishing is an insult to the written word, the craft of writing, and the tradition of literature.”

Of course statements like these make me cringe, however something that makes me cringe even more is the sensationalism and mob culture of the online world which reacted to Laurie’s article with personal death threats, trashed ratings and the like. We unfortunately live in a world where technology allows us to fire vitriol at perfect strangers without ever seeing the repercussions or painful reactions of those we spew it at. Can you imagine threatening someone’s life you disagreed with if you were sitting next to them on public transportation? Of course not, because it is not only socially unacceptable, it is an absolutely insane and outrageous thing to do.

Gough has since apologized for the article (which has not stopped the hate-mail of course), where she recants her naive claims and admits on her Facebook page, “I’ve only read a handful of self-published books so was basing my article on that. I guess I was in a bad mood when I wrote it and I SO wish I’d never written it.”

Admittedly, Laurie’s article was offensive, brusque and clearly out of touch with the self-publishing world. Comparing self-publishing to screaming into a microphone and calling yourself a musician or saying that “the only similarity between published and self-published books is they each have words on pages inside a cover. The similarities end there,” are highly unfair assessments of the industry and have been proven wrong by numerous successful self-published authors.

So my question is why, when we know people are obviously wrong and expressing intolerant views, do we act so wrongly and intolerant right back at them? Intolerance shouldn’t breed more intolerance; if you fundamentally disagree with the tenants of someone’s argument, either ignore it and go on with your day, or add something productive to the conversation that will help persuade them via rational argumentation, rather than by fear of their safety or well-being. Screaming your opinion the loudest won’t make people listen to you, it will only make them want to plug their ears.

People will disagree with you, they will shoot you down, and they will tell you that you have no talent. Traditional publishing companies have done that to us for years, but we don’t go burn down their headquarters or troll their CEOs–we move on and we take the high road. I sincerely hope self-published authors let up on Gough, and I am sincerely happy to see her public and quite genuine-seeming apology.


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.


Kelly

ABOUT 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.