Self-Publishing News: 4.28.2021

news from the world of
self-publishing

“Thanks to markets like Amazon that have made it easier than ever to access books, authors no longer have to wait to be given a green light,” writes Beth Jordan in this recent article for StudyBreaks.com. Jordan briefly covers the history of the longstanding family feud between traditional and self-publishing forms, with the rise of the digital and Internet age as well as the market forces creating additional challenges for the more established institutions even while going indie seems easier and more reliable than ever–with all of this making the page. Jordan also covers some of the other finer points of the debate, including why authors might or might not choose to go indie, and how different pros and cons can influence an author’s relationships to their community of readers … as well as other authors. Says Jordan,

[L]amenting one’s inability to sell books or to be traditionally published can become a dangerous, unproductive spiral because there are many reasons an author’s book might not be selling — most of the reasons likely coming down to marketing, visibility or the book’s quality. While the frustration is understandable, publishing a book through traditional means is unlikely to fix the situation as Amazon and other companies continue to out-compete the traditional publishers.

Jordan covers shifting market shares, the powerful role competition plays in decision making, and some suggested steps towards boosting visibility. All in all, this article makes for a great, ahem, all-rounder when it comes to entering or revisiting the key points of why we do what we do, and how. We can’t think of a better way to kick off this week’s news!

Five is a solid, memorable number, and it’s neither too long nor too short a quantity of listed items to ensure peak performance. So when Josh Steimle writes for Entrepreneur online that “A successful first book could even become a quality revenue stream of its own, paving the way for future writing endeavors” and that this process “can be accomplished in five easy steps,” you can be sure we’re going to sit up and pay attention. Steimle’s points, which include straightforward suggestions to research, plan, and begin executing a marketing strategy well before your book’s publication date, have the force of “common sense” behind them–only, as we know, that isn’t entirely common in the way it probably should be, all things being equal and communication being free of the current status quo. The nice thing about Steimle’s article, too, is that he also touches on some suggestions, including those for advance copies and incentives by way of free content, that often aren’t talked about as often as they could be, or should be. This is the kind of specialized information that indie authors might not instinctually know going into self-publishing for the first time, and which can really make a difference.

Another totally unintended “five” that converses comfortably with our last news item: Last time we covered the news in self-publishing, we included a previous article by Forbes contributor JJ Hebert, “5 Low-Cost Marketing Strategies for Your Self-Published Book.” This time around, Hebert is writing to authors (or potential authors) of “business books” in order to encourage them to use a self-published book as a kind of brand launch or relaunch–a way of sending your thoughts and your way of doing things out there into the world, and to establish yourself as a person of authority on matters pertaining to your field. As Hebert puts it, “writing and publishing a book is the ultimate credibility booster and business growth tool because the book will position you as an expert in your field, and you will become the go-to person for your particular topic.” But making sure your book sticks its landing and isn’t a wasted investment of your precious time and money (and since time is money, on to the nth degree) has to be a top priority, and Hebert has a nice list of straightforward suggestions in order to make that landing the stickiest possible stuck thing it can possibly be. Hebert does have a toe firmly in the waters of self-promotion here himself, given that he is CEO and founder of a self-publishing platform himself, but that doesn’t mean his tips aren’t worth taking a good, long look at. We happen to think he practices exactly what he preaches, and what he preaches seems to be effective enough to make us stop and look–and when it comes to marketing, that’s half of the battle won right there.

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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: 2.24.2021

Hello February.

news from the world of
self-publishing

“There is a shift in the artistic landscape taking place, and with it different ways of publishing and distributing literature,” writes Sinead Overbye for Stuff, a New Zealand-based news website. She covers the work and writings of a group of Maori authors. Says Overbye,

Self-publication is a re-emerging trend, particularly within Māori writing communities across the motu. It is no coincidence, and it is not new. Māori have always been innovative and self-determining, against all odds. Self-publication continues an historical trend of Māori resisting reliance upon the Crown and other entities to support what they believe will benefit them. It is a way of refusing to compromise, and of determining to speak in exactly the way we want to. It doesn’t ask, ‘Let us speak’, rather it says, ‘We have voices, and will speak regardless of who listens’.

In this way, Overbye’s words echo the sentiments we’ve expressed often here on SPA––that self-publishing is a democratizing influence on literature, and an influence that allows for authors without massive blockbuster intentions (as far as their envisioned audiences go) to still reach the readers they need to reach. Overbye goes on to write that in a “system where money determines the perceived value of everything, it is a radical (and to some, a confusing) act to produce work that doesn’t increase individual wealth, but whose chief purpose is to communicate.” That’s a line we’ll be chewing on for some time.

This one is such a heartbreaking story, in a good way! Abby Luschei, writing for Seattle Refined, covers the story of artist Jayashree Krishnan, who has been painting the faces of COVID-19 first responders and healthcare workers. In an interview with Luschei, Krishnan noted that the artworks’ positive reception online “was saying that the art is not just about the artwork, but it opened up the space for people who were not healthcare workers to step in and say something encouraging for them.” Writes Luschei,

In just about 10 months, Krishnan has painted more than 150 portraits of healthcare workers. Through this process, she’s heard their stories about what it has been like to fight COVID-19 first-hand. Krishnan is self-publishing a book, “Caring for Humanity,” that will feature those paintings and stories.

I don’t know about you, but we can’t wait to see the final product. Says Krishnan, “This series is about so much more than just a piece of art, Krishnan said. It’s about sharing their experiences — what it was like to work in COVID units in the very beginning, how it changed and how some of them ended up contracting COVID themselves, for example.” If we only get one good thing out of this virus situation, we’re glad it’s a fabulous work of artistic self-publishing.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is spa-news.jpg
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: 2.9.2021

Hello February.

news from the world of
self-publishing

Here’s an article from lifehacker‘s Explainer section that provoked a number of conversations among self-publishing authors this last week: Sam Blum’s take on the necessary underpinnings of published (and therefore public) authorship. It begins with a familiar hook, too. Write Blum, “No two writers’ journeys to publication are the same, but most follow the same general path.” To view publishing from the appropriate distance from which to see a general path, Blum begins his summary with a warning: “Don’t quit your day job.” (We are not going to spend too long thinking about how Blum’s imagination also leads to “you lovingly stroke its spine,” a favorite out-of-context comment about books that seems a little over the top.) He goes on to describe the various ways and means of going after a traditional publishing gig, but many of his suggestions are also applicable to self-publishing (which lifehacker‘s Nicole Dieker wrote about all the way back in 2017––we still highly recommend you read that article as well). He writes about building a network, self-education, and carrying out some intensive market research. The only point that doesn’t apply is the section on finding an agent, but one might argue that finding a self-publishing company and team that works for you would make a good substitute there. Not only is his recent article a good reminder of many points we’ve covered here on the blog on other days, but it is also a good reminder to check out Dieker’s older article.

This one is a more troubling bit of news. One of our favorite aspects of self-publishing that we like to celebrate here on this blog is the power of the indie world to democratize the entire publishing space. One might argue, as we have in the past, that a healthy self-publishing industry supports not just a healthy traditional publishing industry as well, but a healthy society. And we are extremely grateful to live in a part of the world where free speech is honored and enshrined in our founding charters––and where, although our systems remain imperfect, the average person can still find a way to say what needs to be said, write what needs to be written, and publish what needs to be published. This article from TechCrunch is a good reminder that this is not true of all corners of the world, and that the situation in China is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the quieting of badly needed voices across the globe.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is spa-news.jpg
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: 1.26.2021

news from the world of
self-publishing

The big industry news of the last week has been the acquisition of Wattpad by way of a 100% stake. Wattpad, a self-publishing platform known primarily for producing short-form serial stories as well as fanfiction, has been a key actor in raising mainstream awareness of self-publishing, while simultaneously lessening the stigmas attached to indie works and teen writers. It has also worked in partnership with Penguin Random House to traditionally publish The Kissing Booth, which we wrote about here on the blog several times back in 2018, and afterward the company created Wattpad Books, which partners with Macmillan to publish other stories in book form. Wattpad has yet to go public, having acquired all of its financing through private investors. And now, according to Korea JoongAng Daily (in association with The New York Times), the Korean-based IT firm Naver has purchased a 100% stake in the company. Kyoung-Son’s article summarizes this event, and makes note of Naver’s next steps in getting “administrative approvals” in multiple countries, including Korea and the United States. For more information on this major development in global self-publishing, please read Kyoung-Son’s article in full.

This fabulous article comes to us by way of The Bookseller, an industry news platform which has put out articles in support of self-publishing as well as traditional publishing over the course of its long history. (The website is part of a London-based company that claims to have been “the business magazine of the book industry since 1858.”) Angela McConnell-Hughes (AKA Angela Kay Austin) is a self-publishing author whose books have put her on USA TODAY‘s bestseller list, and whose voice has become a very welcome and much needed one within the industry as an advocate for diverse indie authors. We highly recommend reading the entirety of her article, but absolutely must amplify her hard-hitting conclusion:

I think recent events in America and across the globe highlight the need for indie publishing, but I also believe they support the rally for change within traditional publishing. The authors and poets of the Harlem Renaissance voiced the anguish of Black Americans during the early 1900s. Indie authors of today follow in this tradition, introducing readers to vivid worlds inhabited by people of color. As a self-published author, I don’t see an end to the growth of indie publishing because I don’t see an end to traditional publishing marginalising different voices.

– Angela McConnell-Hughes, “Taking Back Control” (2020)

McConnell-Hughes takes no prisoners in her article, and holds nothing back. By chronicling her own experience and honestly documenting some of the challenges facing indie authors, she comes across as an earnest and sincere advocate when she still thinks going indie is the best approach, at least for authors who find themselves unwelcome in traditionally published books, either by deliberate exclusion or the systemic advantages given to certain authors that we have talked about here on Self Publishing Advisor before. If you, like McConnell-Hughes, have grown used to reading books where characters “who looked like me weren’t represented,” you too might consider following in her footsteps and choose to self-publish. Whatever you choose, her article is worth a look!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is spa-news.jpg
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.