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: 12.8.2020

And now for the news.

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

This article showed up shortly after our last News post, but we held onto it because it’s not the sort of thing that shows up all that often: a well-researched, impeccably presented report on the state of book clubs. The report, which is free for download from BookBrowse.com, is described in detail by BookBrowse publisher Davina Morgan-Witts in a recent Publishers Weekly post. Of particular interest in this particular iteration of the report is the effects of the ongoing pandemic on book clubs, including impacts on where they find their books, whether they purchase or borrow them, whether more book clubs are investing in ebooks or print books, and how the book clubs are adapting to pandemic social distancing guidelines. If you yourself are the author of a self-published book, you might be interested specifically in what this report has to say about the intersection of book clubs and authors under the pandemic; writes Morgan-Witts, “some groups have discovered how easy it is to invite authors to join them on Zoom.” The whole report is absolutely worth exploring, and if you’re an author, maybe this is the impetus you needed to put out a call on social media or through your local library network that you are available for meeting with book clubs by way of Zoom or other videoconferencing options!

This last week, Forbes contributor Stephanie Burns went to bat for self-publishing. Burns, whose primary area of focus is female entrepreneurship, writes that “If you want to gain credibility and exposure online, you can’t afford to pass up the opportunity to self-publish a book, especially when you’ve most likely already created enough content to fill one.” While she mentions KDP several times, it’s the concept of self-publishing that she is specifically behind: “Authors can also list their books for sale on Apple iBooks and Barnes & Noble,” she writes, and “Regardless of the platform, the digital book market is booming. Every day you remain unpublished is a day you’re losing revenue and customers to a less knowledgeable competitor.” Burns cites the case of Jen Ruiz, a lawyer-turned-bestselling-author whose entrepreneurial work has helped connect residents of Puerto Rico with the resources the need to build “online income streams.” Ruiz herself argues that with the pandemic changing the world as we know it, going digital is a way to make use of both the current moment and the entrepreneur’s existing marketing skills. She also actively rejects the idea that the only “real” authors are the ones who publish via the traditional route. Self-publishing can also provide what Burns and Ruiz call “warm leads,” or “the ability to access a free preview of eBooks with hyperlinks.” With this preview properly linked to and from your website, Ruiz argues, it “acts as your personal lead magnet to grow your audience.” Please do read Burns’ entire article on Forbes––it is very much worth your time.


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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: 11.11.2020

Veterans Day. November 11. Honoring All Who Served.

And now for the news.

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

Here’s a fun and uplifting story for those fans of epic fantasy: Isaac Stewart, who has worked as art director for fantasy megastar Brandon Sanderson among others, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to launch his lift-the-flap picture book after struggling to find a traditional publisher willing to take on the project. The fundraising campaign for the book, Monsters Don’t Wear Underpants, was fully funded within 12 hours, and has now more than doubled Stewart’s original funding goal. (So nice things can happen on the Internet after all!) At least for now, the book is available for pre-order, and even if you don’t have children going through potty training, you can certainly take notes from Stewart’s well-orchestrated Kickstarter process if you’re thinking about taking a similar path to self-publication.

“As a ghostwriter,” Elaine Pofeldt writes in the opening to a recent Forbes article, “I often hear from prospective authors who would like to write a book but are on the fence about whether to self-publish it or try to find a commercial publisher.” Pofeldt, a longtime contributor to a number of high-profile publications on the subject of entrepreneurship and co-founder of the entrepreneur-boosting company 200kfreelancer.com , offers a well-rounded and realistic comparison of the self-publishing process in contrast to a more traditional (or “commercial”) approach. She covers topics ranging from funding through writing, editing, publishing, and promoting your book––and how each experience varies between the two options. This is a thoughtful article that despite being written by someone “in the industry” will still prove useful to those readers who are not specifically launching their books through her business.

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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: 10.13.2020

And now for the news.

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

If you haven’t yet gotten into the world of podcasting as either a listener or creator, 2020 may just be the year to do so! One of our weekly contributors (Kendra M.) is something of a book-related podcast fiend, and pointed us to this recent podcast episode put out by Book Riot‘s children’s book show (they have many, which is why we’re being so specific here) Kidlit These Days, hosted by Matthew and Nicole. The episode in question is titled “Self-Publishing and Getting It Right,” and you can listen to it on the Book Riot website (linked here) or on most of the other podcatchers out there (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, and etc.). The conversation about self-publishing really gets going at about the 8:40 mark. While Kidlit These Days focuses most frequently on books for younger readers (young adult and younger), their conversation on self-publishing is worth listening to no matter who you’re writing for.

In a recent opinion piece for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Philip Martin describes a personal experiment with self-publishing: “As an experiment, I recently self-published a book through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing e-book publishing service. It cost me exactly nothing, because I designed the cover and formatted the text.” Apart from some annoyances specific to Amazon advertising, he writes, the process was straightforward and easy. He goes on to note that “Most of my favorite books from the past few years have been from presses I’d never heard of before I received the book. The digital disruption of publishing has had some negative effects […] but for a consumer, it’s a good deal.” His piece is informed by his work as a critic whose career has included many a review of the printed page, and who is now surfing the wave of transition into the brave new world of mixed indie and traditional medias, in print and on digital platforms. It’s great to see this take added to the list of author and reader thoughts on the subject.

This article by Sassafras Lowrey for Publisher’s Weekly blew us away this week. PW has often included positive reflections on self-publishing in the past, but mostly contextualized within a larger conversation about its merits in comparison to the traditional model. Writes Lowrey, “My biggest wish is that self-published authors could stop apologizing directly or indirectly for the ways in which their books came to be in the world. […] The most important thing for the success of a book is that the author has confidence in whatever publishing decisions are being made—especially if the decision is to self-publish.” Like many authors, Lowrey has dabbled in both modes of publishing, and she’s eager to advocate for the merits of self-publishing independent of how it may or may not compare to what’s come before. She tackles issues pertaining to diversity and representation, creative control, royalties, and much more. We can’t recommend reading the full article enough.

If you’ve ever wondered what the big deal is with zines or are curious about the possibilities zines offer the self-publishing author, we have some good news! This year the Twin Cities Zine Fest (TCZF) is going digital as a result of the-virus-that-shall-not-be-named, and that means you can participate no matter where in the country you happen to be––an unexpected bit of good news to offset some of the grimness out there. According to this press release,

TCZF aims to sustainably support self-publishing and the DIY ethic in our communities, with an intersectional focus on politically and socially engaged zines, community partnership, and amplifying the voices of those who have been historically unheard.

That’s a mission statement we can get behind! For those of us who do not live in the kind of urban sprawl that gives birth to fests like these, a digital option is a most welcome development. The Hennepin County Library, as sponsor of the event, does offer some tools and resources to their local library users that won’t be available to those who dial in from outside, but are available to the rest of us. Browsing the zinefest and watching the TCZF’s scheduled live events online is free, and many of the events have incredible titles, including the intriguing “Crafting autobiographical work without going nuts!” panel with M.S. Harkness on Thursday, October 22. Sounds like a great opportunity to interact with other creators despite the unusual year we’ve had. You can find more information at the link provided.


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.