Self-Publishing News: 12.31.2019

happy new year 2020

Goodbye, 2019! Happy New Year’s Eve.

And now for the news.

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

This eye-opening article by Ron Charles in the Washington Post serves as a retrospective of the last decade in publishing, including insights into many encouraging trends as well as several ones that might serve as watchwords for the future. Charles covers the phoenix-from-the-ashes return of indie bookstores as well as the rise of audiobooks, graphic novels, and female authors. He also gives room to the politicization of both adult nonfiction AND children’s picture books–at the same time as a boom in the diversity of children’s book authors and characters, the popularization of erotic romance, and the surge in print-on-demand options and availability to readers and authors alike. The world of the gatekeepers (librarians and publishers among them) grew contentious, while television and film feasted on book adaptations for the big and small screens. Charles spends much more time on each of these points than our simple summary might imply, and we cannot recommend reading this article highly enough, as each and every one of those points has huge implications for self-publishing authors and their readers.

We are loving this article from Virtual Strategy Magazine‘s Allen Smith, which serves as a straightforward but delightful survey of all of the different steps one must go through before and after digging into self-publishing. The article is a relatively brief one, which makes it a good and quick browse for this holiday season.

Chandler Bolt contributed this excellent piece for Influencive, a website dedicated to “unconventional wisdom” and “influential minds.” He writes that “When we picture something as significant as writing and releasing a book, doubt starts to creep in. Our hardwired instinct to stay in our comfort zone and protect ourselves from failure is powerful and shouldn’t be underestimated.” But that protective instinct can often translate into a lack of confidence, and that lack of confidence can paralyze authors who are entirely deserving of being widely read. But there’s never been a better time to become an author, Bolt argues, in part because of the proliferation of possibilities and options and opportunities and services, including a number of self-publishing platforms that are easily available at the click of a button.


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

Self-Publishing News: 12.17.2019

December banner with fir branches.

Welcome to December!

And now for the news.

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

The big news in self-publishing this week is, of course, about as politically charged and divisive as it gets. As such, we’re not going to get too deeply into the woods here, but simply point out that there’s some confusion over what self-publishing platforms, specifically, were at play. The Washington Post article linked here mentions self-publishing three times, each time going on to name Medium and “some other self-publishing platforms” or “other blogs and self-publishing platforms.” One can certainly use blogging platforms such as Medium to self-publish short form pieces like articles and short stories, but it’s not widely or at least entirely considered one and the same as other (legitimately and uncontestedly and solely) self-publishing platforms. This is because many self-publishing companies and websites offer proofing and editorial services or can otherwise check for deliberately spread misinformation, which would make them unlikely places to find something like the list mentioned in the news just now. All this to say—self-publishing can look like a lot of different things, and it’s articles like this that muddy the waters and lead to increased stigma.

Now that we’ve gotten the least fun and most unavoidable news out of the way, here’s a palate-cleanser! This article from Blake Morrison of The Guardian is everything we needed to remind us that yes, creative work is valuable, and yes, self-publishing is everything we need it to be right now—a force for good. Morrison addresses self-publishing’s place in the larger ecosystem of memoir-writing and publication, writing:

The outlets for publishing memoirs have diversified too. Small presses and the subscription publisher Unbound have widened the field. Self-publishing also plays a part, as does the internet: from online blog to book-length memoir is an obvious trajectory, since both are first-person discourse offering an intimate relationship with readers.

And while we thoroughly advocate for reading the whole article, we can think of no better way to end our article today than with a quote Morrison includes by author and memoirist Katherine Angel.

The memoirist will always be asked, with a hint of disapproval: was writing the book therapeutic? But to Katherine Angel, in her recent Daddy Issues, “it’s the wrong question. The more accurate formulation, for me, is that writing is how I experience my experience. Until writing, in mere living, everything is out of focus.”

“Until writing, in mere living, everything is out of focus.” The act of writing is an act of vision, and a way of framing the world for ourselves and others to re-envision their own choices and experiences. What more important work is there than that? What more important endeavor than the one self-publishing helps make possible?


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

Self-Publishing News: 12.10.2019

December banner with fir branches.

Welcome to December!

And now for the news.

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

This week, web platform IdeaStream showed up for self-publishing in a major way in the form of an article by Carrie Wise on the stigma (still somewhat) attached to self-publishing. And while we’ve come a long way, writes wise, there are still authors like Shondra Longino (AKA Abby L. Vandiver) “still feel it.” In Wise’s article, Longino notes that she “think[s] more and more people are finding that self-published authors, you know, are good writers and their books are good. But […] there’s still a bias, and they hold us [to] a higher standard.” Longino recently found herself courted by traditional publishers, one sign that the market really is changing and that publishers themselves are now looking to self-published books as a resource and discovery system. Wise also records the changes taking place in how libraries, bookstores, and nonprofits in order to celebrate existing self-published works and support those authors choosing that path.

 Cleveland independent bookstore Loganberry Books carries self-published authors primarily on consignment, according to book buyer Elisabeth Plumlee-Watson.

The stigma around self-publishing “is certainly much less than it was 10 years ago,” she said.

Area libraries are also carrying more self-published books. Akron-Summit County Public Library makes a point to feature local authors. Cuyahoga County Public Library takes the lead on self-published books from the media, picking up ones reviewed locally or nationally. Cuyahoga County also has a writers’ center at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch.

But one’s very definition of “success” can shift an experience from negative to positive, Wise hints, quoting musician and self-published author Zach Fenell: “Do not let… somebody else’s opinion of be the reason you don’t self-publish.” The world has come a long way from when self-publishing first became an option, with stigma taking a rapid slide into background noise, but if you do happen to stumble into the middle of some, don’t let it get to you–there’s an entire community of supporters, as evidenced by Wise’s article, eager to show up for you.

In Spokane’s The Spokesman-Review, contributor Jared Brown covers the story of self-publishing author Libbie Grant’s journey to success (on her own terms, of course). Grant, who publishes under the pen names Libbie Hawker, Olivia Hawker, and L.M. Ironside, first built up an audience for her writing through the publication of several works of historical fiction, then began branching out once those books reached a loyal audience. Writes Brown, “The audiences for Grant’s pseudonyms overlap very little except for hardcore fans, she said. At one time, she thought about using initials as a veil for her gender. But Grant said the feminist in her decided she wanted to win a Pulitzer Prize in spite of persisting gender bias.” She also was determined to fight any remaining stigma, as we covered, above: “‘There’s a myth among people who love books that great books are always published,’ Grant said. ‘But that’s just not the case.'” We are so in love with her point of view!


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

Self-Publishing News: 11.26.2019

november

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

We kick off this week’s news post with an article from Matia Madrona Query of Publisher’s Weekly, who covers the story of Adam Pelzman, an author whose first book was published traditionally but who has recently made the choice to go indie and self-publish his second. He felt comfortable self-publishing The Papaya King, his latest book, in large part because he’d already developed a healthy relationship with his local indie booksellers. As Query puts it, “Little is more validating for indie authors than seeing their books displayed prominently on bookstore shelves—but not too many bricks-and-mortar stores are willing to take a chance on unvetted authors.” The Wellington Square Bookshop may just show other bookstores a path forward towards better supporting their local indie authors; says Query, “The Exton, Pa., bookstore has a section devoted solely to indie authors, runs writing workshops for aspiring writers, and even selects indie books for the store’s book clubs.” Owner Sam Hankin makes real space in his own life to support the project as well, by reading their books and organizing events for the authors at his store. As Query puts it, “Hankin focuses on a work’s exceptional qualities and merit rather than its publishing platform, and he frequently carries promising indie books to other area bookstores—as he has done with The Papaya King. ‘If I think this should belong to the world, it’s worth sending it into the world,’ Hankin says.” Pelzman’s success, and Hankin’s passion, make Query’s story an inspiring read and well worth your time.

Pat Pattison, an executive coach and author working on a book about creative re-invention, brings us this lovely article by way of Next Avenue. He profiles self-publishing senior Patricia Jacobson, who first started her novel Fern in 1986, and uses her story to lay out five steps to successfully self-publishing—and redefining what success means. His suggestions include seeking out editorial insight, doing one’s due diligence on researching self-publishing companies (that may or may not offer editorial services), and ensuring that one’s book is properly formatted before being distributed for sale in print or digital formats. He also tackles the thorny issue of pricing, and sorting out pricing outside of the traditional publishing standards. More than anything, he suggests looking beyond the money for one’s incentive to self-publish. As he puts it, turning a profit isn’t always the ultimate goal. Jacobson herself is a great example of someone who found the process its own kind of reward; she says “‘At eighty-seven, I really wanted to see Fern in book form, so I could share it with family and friends. When I first saw the final product with its classy cover and perfect size, I burst into tears!'” And if that’s not the heart-warming story you needed this holiday season, we don’t know what is!

If you need a little encouragement, Montclair Local contributor Melissa Sullivan has just the thing. While attending the annual Bucks County Book Festival this year, she found herself inspired by the story of Judith Leyster, a Seventeenth-Century Dutch artist who became something of an icon of successful self-promotion to Sullivan as a result of the fearless face she showed the world. As an author who needed a bit of encouragement herself to distribute promotional materials (specifically, bookmarks), Sullivan knew she needed to put herself out there as well. As Sullivan puts it, “often self-promotion can be the hardest part of our job as an artist.” This is because, she goes on to note,

We are used to working by ourselves, doubting if what we are doing is any good. And then, when we are finally successful and have our work out there in the world, we have to start telling people about it, in the hopes that maybe they might want to read it.
This can all be excruciatingly painful if you are bent towards introversion, as many artists are. But even if you are an extrovert, as I am under normal non-writer circumstances, this need to self-promote can still feel like you are swimming through molasses, dragging yourself to the ultimate point of pushing your work on some stranger.

It’s hard work, but it’s necessary too. And if Leyster could do it, and if Sullivan could do it, you too can find a way. We believe in you!


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

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Self-Publishing News: 11.19.2019

november

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

The news we first covered last week about the continued rise of self-publishing is still making waves around the Internet. This week, the science fiction and fantasy site Locus uploaded their own coverage of Bowker’s exciting report, an exciting development since science fiction and fantasy make up one of the top genres in respect to both publishing and reading. We look forward to seeing what current and future authors of SFF do with this information!

This week, Jonathan Giammaria of the McGill Tribune covered the happenings at Expozine 2019 in Montreal, Canada–an event which drew over 15,000 visitors this year. Writes Giammaria, “Zines have often been associated with fringe issues, speaking for and about marginalized people and providing a platform for countercultural ideas and movements. Since zines have often had small circulations due to their DIY nature, their distribution has generally remained within the communities that produced them.” There, are, understandably, many connections between zine culture and the world of independent and self-publishing industries. And at Expozine, “In contrast to mainstream conventions like the upcoming Salon du livre de Montréal, […] value comes from showcasing a variety of artists whose eclectic niches might otherwise be overlooked.” This is a sentiment most self-published authors know very well indeed, and we’ll be keeping our eye(s) on Expozine in the future as another place to showcase our niche stories.

Are we, or are we not, living in the end times of traditionally published media? Dave Winterlich, chief strategy officer with Dentsu Aegis Ireland, thinks we just might be … at least, we might be if traditional media doesn’t take a long and hard look at its underlying principles. This week, Winterlich wrote for the Irish Times website that the combination of free content and the migration of advertising revenue into a digital space dovetailed with a loss of purpose within the industry itself to create a kind of crisis. (At least, it’s a crisis if you don’t buy into self-publishing.) But it doesn’t have to end there, writes Winterlich: “Traditional publishers can continue to run quality paid newsrooms while still providing a platform extension for self-publishing.” We’ve already seen how fluid the boundary between traditional media and independent publishing can be, with authors creating their own individualized approaches based on services available and their personal needs. Radio and the gaming industry have begun to experiment with self-publishing, and comics have been working in this liminal space for decades. We hope that Winterlich revisits the idea in future articles, and delves a bit deeper into what this new both/and modality might look like.


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

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Self-Publishing News: 11.12.2019

november

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

The biggest news in self-publishing this week comes from The Good Men Project (again! We’re so excited about their new focus on self-publishing, as evidenced by multiple recent related articles on the subject). Contributor Rose Ernst put together this list of, you guessed it, twenty-nine must-listen podcast episodes on the subject of self-publishing. Writes Ernst, “My life changed when I discovered independent publishing in December 2017. Since then, I’ve published seven mysteries, one non-fiction book, and have two more in the pipeline. I’ve sold over 5,500 copies and given away 40,000. And I owe it all to Joanna Penn. The host of the Creative Penn Podcast.”

Chances are, if you’ve spent much time around both self-publishing and podcasts, you will already have heard of the Creative Penn. But if you haven’t listened to the show before, it can feel incredibly daunting to figure out where to start with Penn’s enormous backlist of episodes. And that’s where Ernst’s list comes in really useful, providing as it does a list of recommendations not just for several must-not-miss Creative Penn episodes but also recommendations for where to start when digging into The Author Biz, Rocking Self-Publishing, the Self-Publishing Roundtable, How Do You Write, and numerous other amazing podcasts. This list is absolutely critical guidance for anyone interested in self-publishing, period! We are so grateful to Ernst for taking the time to put together such a thoughtfully curated selection of episodes (all of which are hyperlinked for easy listening, another bonus!).


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

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Self-Publishing News: 11.5.2019

november

And now for the news!

Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing!

Woohoo! We are always excited to learn about new review services and opportunities for self-published authors, and this one comes from an extremely reliable and legitimate source with an already-extensive existing reach. This article from John Maher of Publishers Weekly covers the launch of BookLife Reviews, a new paid service from PW dedicated exclusively to covering self-published book reviews. Writes Maher:

BookLife Reviews will be written by Publishers Weekly reviewers, but remain distinct from Publishers Weekly reviews. The service is designed to help self-published authors reach readers by providing them with credible and reliable assessments of their work from reviewers with expertise in their genres and styles.

BookLife Reviews differ from Publishers Weekly reviews in that they are longer—approximately 300 words, compared to 200-250 words for a Publishers Weekly review—and are focused on reaching readers rather than booksellers and librarians. Authors are guaranteed to receive a review, and may elect whether to have it published in the monthly BookLife supplement, which is bound into the print edition of Publishers Weekly. Participants will receive their reviews within four to six weeks of submission. Self-published authors are also still invited to submit their books to Publishers Weekly for review consideration at no cost.

Given the reach of PW and its status in the publishing community, it is perhaps to be expected that these reviews do not come cheap, however. You can find out more about BookLife Reviews at https://booklife.com/about-us/booklife-reviews-faqs.html.

That’s right, self-publishing made waves at Forbes again this week, with an article from Bernhard Schroeder on its powerful slice of the market. And while publishing industry statistics have stayed fairly flat, writes Schroeder,

[…] year over year, self publishing is rapidly rising with e-books, print on demand and audiobooks bringing in billions of U.S. dollars in revenue each year. According to the latest report from ProQuest affiliate Bowker, self-publishing grew at a rate of more than 28% in 2017. The total number of self-published titles grew from 786,935 to 1,009,188, surpassing the million mark for the first time.

This is good news for self-publishing authors, Schroeder notes, before going on to also make note of several key ways that authors can make use of the (buzzword alert) gig economy to further their aims. And while it’s never a bad thing to make headlines at Forbes or any other major industry news engine, the continued thrivingness of self-publishing only seems to come as a surprise to those who haven’t been plugged into the publishing story over the last decade. For the rest of us, self-publishing’s continued outperformance of its own preexisting highwater marks is less of a surprise than a happy affirmation of what we already suspected: self-publishing is around for good.


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

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