Self-Publishing News: 2.19.2019

February concept. stationery and notebook, business background

And now for the news!

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

It has been a long time since we’ve written about the Espresso Book Machine (EBM) on this blog, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not still out there and making a big difference. And they’re still newsworthy! Last Fall, the iconic New York bookstore Shakespeare & Co. closed its doors on its original historic location and reopened them elsewhere in New York, with the added bonus of an Espresso Book Machine! For those not already read into the EBM and what it can do, Mackenzie Dawson breaks it down this way for readers of the New York Post: ‘If a title is not available on the shelves, the patented 3D printer Espresso Book Machine can print one “in the time it takes to brew an espresso.”‘ She quotes bookstore CEO Dane Neller, who went on to add:

“I felt that the future of bookstores was smaller stores, community-based and experiential. This technology is like bringing the warehouse into the store, allowing us to offer customers the selection of Amazon.”

And there, we very much agree. The EBM isn’t limited to Amazon selections, however; EBMs also allow customers to bring their own media for printing in a variety forms, including UB. For more on how the EBM works, check out their online brochure.

Romance is big business, as Kim Komando would be (and is) the first to tell you. On Valentine’s Day last week, Komando write that “More than half of the top 20 books on Amazon’s romance best-seller list are titles from its book-publishing arm or are from self-published authors.” And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Komando’s words of wisdom; she also notes that while “Romance is serious business” indeed, “Some authors make six figures a month selling love stories. And to keep their books at the top of the charts, authors are known to spend upwards of $50,000 a month in advertising.” So even though “Love doesn’t always make sense,” as Komando would put it, “for eBook authors, it can make dollars.” And it costs dollars, too. Keep an eye on Komando’s website for more developments on this front; she knows the industry.

One of this last week’s more interesting developments comes from an unexpected corner of the internet: Psychology Today, not exactly our usual go-to spot for news on publishing. But this week? This week they’re in our corner, and they’ve got our back. PT contributor Marty Nemko, PhD, unfolds his own self-publishing story:

I’ve written 11 books, most published by Wiley, Random House’s Ten Speed Press, etc. Yet perhaps surprisingly, I feel best about the few I self-published using Amazon’s CreateSpace and its Kindle Direct. And here’s the punchline: That’s true even though those self-published books have sold far worse than my commercially published ones.

Especially today, when most publishers will look only at agented submissions—and it’s hard to get a respected agent—I believe it’s usually wise to write for self-publication, even if you’ve previously written books that have sold well. Indeed, I made that choice with four of my five most recent books.

So why is he such an advocate for self-publishing?

It comes down to the process, writes Nemko, and he gets into the fascinating psychology of why, exactly, self-publishing might be of benefit to everyone. We cannot recommend this article enough!


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: 2.13.2019

February concept. stationery and notebook, business background

And now for the news!

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

While it’s difficult to tell if any article could really ever tell us everything we need to know about self-publishing, much less publishing at large, Forbes’ latest piece from Forbes Coaches Council member and contributor Divya Parekh makes an intense effort to do so. Fittingly for a website dedicated to more many more topics than publishing, Parekh’s article opens with a bit of framing discussion about content creation and personal branding generally, and what it is that draws consumers to content. Writes Parekh, “A universal truth for most people is that they have something in their lives they believe others would want to read. This is especially true of anyone who is successful in their profession and has a business or life philosophy they want to share with the world or a story to tell.” Parekh goes on to describe the high points about what has changed, what has stayed the same, and those misleading myths which have always swirled around book publication. For Parekh, writing a book isn’t just for those who have always had the itch and the urge to put pen to paper; rather, publishing is about spreading one’s brand and building one’s sphere of influence. “Like a snowball rolling down a hill that gathers speed and mass as it travels down the slope, your book will do the same for you in spreading your brand and message,” Parekh writes. To read more, follow the link.

Actor Laura Cayoutte, famous for her roles in films such as Django Unchained and Kill Bill: Volume II, is also a successful self-publishing author. According to Earl Hodges of NOLA, Cayouette has now self-published seven books (Know Small Parts: An Actor’s Guide to Turning Minutes into Moments and Moments into a Career perhaps her most widely known publication, while Lemonade Farm and her Charlotte Reade mystery series are also popular), and has scored celebrity reviews. Writes Hodges, “In her career as an actor and writer, Cayouette has learned a few things about taking risks and moving to the next level. And she generously encourages and shares with others who have dreams of their own that they are pursuing.” This article chronicles not just some of Cayoutte’s shared wisdom, but also the experiences of those who lucky enough to attend the January meeting of the South Louisiana chapter of Romance Writers, which also featured self-publishing author Farrah Rochon and SLRW’s president-elect, Devon Alexander.


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: 1.29.2019

January, illustrated name of calendar month, illustration

And now for the news!

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

We’ve been following the evolution of Wattpad for some time now, and the latest news is BIG: Wattpad, known far and wide as a host and home for free self-published digital stories, is now opening their very own publishing imprint for print books. This update, from Kidscreen contributor Alexandra Whyte, covers the basics. Writes Whyte:

The new division plans to leverage the company’s human editorial resources and its Story DNA machine learning technology to identify and publish stories that stand out from the  565 million-plus titles that are uploaded on its platform. Wattpad Books will also use audience data, along with global reading trends, to find international hits on the platform and some hidden gems to publish.

Its first YA six offerings will span fantasy, romance, mystery and more. Titles include: The QB Bad Boy & Me by Tay Marley (26.3 million reads), available on August 20; Trapeze by Leigh Ansell (2.5 million reads), on September 10; What Happened That Night by Deanna Cameron (one million reads), on September 17; Cupid’s Match by Lauren Palphreyman (46.4 million reads), on October 1; Saving Everest by Sky Chase (17.2 million reads), on October 8; and I’m a Gay Wizard by V.S. Santoni (400,000 reads), on October 29.

Much of our coverage on Wattpad here in the blog has been tied to Wattpad’s many successes, but it’s worth noting that many (if not most) of the stories uploaded to the site do not see blockbuster breakout success the way that the above have. Many of the most successful Wattpad stories seem to benefit from the same systems that underpin successes in other indie environments: authors who are engaged, social media savvy, and inventive marketers. We look forward to seeing how Wattpad’s latest venture goes! Also worth noting: The Verge also covered Wattpad’s big news, and you can read that article [here].

We can’t think of anything more quintessentially British than the boy who lived than, perhaps, the name Adam Croft. Croft, whose books are published exclusively online and distributed digitally, was “at one point […] earning an incredible £2,000 a day in royalties from his books, making him one of the world’s most successful independently published authors.” This comes to us by way of Express contributor Alice Pulham, who writes to argue that Croft’s example provides “an inspiring story for anyone who wants to be a writer but fears that the world of traditional publishing isn’t for them.” Pulham’s article covers Croft’s rise from obscurity over the last decade to become a force to be reckoned with in the wordsmithing community; he has now published upwards of 16 books, one of which (Her Last Tomorrow) sold “an amazing 150,000 copies in just five months.” Says Pulham, “Adam’s success shows just what can be achieved by authors with the drive and business sense to self publish, and is refreshingly direct about the book market. ‘Ultimately, the market will decide what books they want to buy, rather than publisher A or B.'” We couldn’t agree more, and we look forward to hearing more from this iconic British self-publishing author in the future.


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: 1.22.2019

January, illustrated name of calendar month, illustration

And now for the news!

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

Not to start us off on a negative note or anything, but this article from the Wall Street Journal last week by contributor Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg hits hard and doesn’t let up. As we’re all probably pretty well aware by now, Amazon has made bookselling (print and digital) as well as distribution at large a cornerstone of its commercial success, and their farsighted planning a decade ago are paying major dividends now, in the late 2010s. Fascinatingly, Trachtenberg uses the story of Mark Sullivan (author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky, a huge hit from 2017–and published by Amazon rather than one of the Big Five traditional publishing houses) to navigate the company’s long story of evolution from small tech start-up to a major force to be reckoned with, in book sales as well as everything else–including customer data points, which the company harvests in bulk. A complex and nuanced take on publishing in the age of Amazon, we highly recommend taking a look at this article–which also appeared in the WSJ’s January 17 print edition under the title ‘Amazon Rewrites Publishing By Pushing Its Own Books.”

One of the keen advantages that self-publishing has over the traditional model is its speed of turnaround and the general rapidity of the process. David Sharp of the AP, syndicated in this week’s Idaho Statesman, covers the posthumous publication of Dead Poets Society of America founder Walter Skold’s poetry collection, The Mirror is Not Cracked. Skold, who passed away in January of 2018, took his children on some of his many road trips to visit the grave sites of more than 300 great poets, and amassed a body of his own poems as well–the basis for the book. His children then elected to publish those poems in print to honor his memory, and elected to self-publish so as to release the book on the anniversary of Skold’s passing. Writes Sharp, “He launched the Dead Poets Society in 2008 in Freeport, Maine, drawing inspiration for the name from the 1989 Robin Williams movie. […] While alive, Walter Skold hatched the idea of creating a new holiday, National Poets Remembrance Day, on the Sunday closest to Oct. 7, the date Edgar Allan Poe died. He viewed it as a day to celebrate all poets, including those who have died.” Now that he’s passed on, his children and those who also lived to celebrate the poets are able to commemorate his life and love of words through the self-published tome–and those who are hearing about him for the first time can take part in the society he helped to found.

If you’ve spent much time in the world of comics lately, you’ll know that there’s a new force to be reckoned with in the land of superheroes (and more): Kickstarter. This article, courtesy of Forbes contributor Rob Salkowitz, dives into the decline of direct comic distribution (think of Diamond) and the rise of Kickstarter-funded projects as an alternative to the big publishing houses, including Marvel and DC. “Comic projects got funded at a nearly 70% success rate,” writes Salkowitz, “indicating that creators are doing a better job than ever finding their audience and mobilizing fans to support crowdfunded work.” But it’s not all clear skies and easy sailing, Salkowitz notes: Kickstarter projects are underrepresented by traditional comic promotional avenues such as the touted Previews catalog so familiar to comic lovers. Writes Salkowitz, the publishing system “has always rested on the weakest points: hard-pressed creators who struggle to make ends meet during the long lead times to write, draw, package and distribute their work, and the uncoordinated network of small, local businesses that connect comics to customers. Both are resilient beyond all reasonable expectation, able to survive through market conditions that would kill most other kinds of businesses. But that resilience is not without limits, and if the trends of 2018 continue, those limits will surely be tested this year.” Keep that in mind as you pick out your next selection at the comic book store!


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: 1.15.2019

January, illustrated name of calendar month, illustration

And now for the news!

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

The biggest news here at the start of 2019 would have to be the fact that authors are, overall, earning less money. Niall McCarthy of Forbes has put together a nice and succinct report-on-a-report for those looking to understand what this news means for authors–including self-publishing authors. “The drop,” writes McCarthy, “appears to be impacting nearly all categories of authorship and writers of literary fiction have been hardest hit, suffering a 43% fall in earnings since 2013. There was one exception and that was self-published authors who saw their book-related income almost double since 2013, though it remains 58% lower than for traditionally published authors.” So it’s not all bad news for self-publishing authors, for many of whom self-publishing is ancillary to their other income streams–but it does seem to be bad news for the traditional publishing industry, when all the implications are weighed. So what’s causing this drop in income over time? McCarthy (and those he interviewed for this article) place the blame firmly in Amazon’s corner. Writes McCarthy, “While Amazon can prove positive for some authors, particularly those seeking to self-publish, it forces publishers to accept narrower margins and those losses get passed onto authors through lower advances and royalties.”  McCarthy’s article is accompanied by the following infographic, and we highly recommend you read the full Forbes article–here.

publishing income author earnings

Interestingly, the Forbes article is confirmed and supported by today’s second article of note–one which comes from Publishers Weekly, and which provides more of the background information covered in Forbes. They tackle the Authors Guild survey (which purports to be the “largest survey of U.S. professional writers ever conducted,” for context). PW contributor Calvin Reid writes that it’s not all bad news, however, and he tackles the big question of “what next?” that so many authors will be asking after reading the Authors Guild report:

The report includes a number of proposals to counter the slide of authors earnings. Among them the report calls on Congress to allow authors to join together to bargain collectively with giant self-publishing platforms like Amazon, Google and Facebook for better terms; calls on online resellers to pay royalties on the sales of new books; asks for better library funding to allow them to deliver a royalty to authors for lending books to the public; urges publishers to pay higher royalties on e-books and on deeply discounted books; and urges publishers to destroy all book returns to prevent these titles from reaching the secondary market.

So what can you do, as an author or reader of self-published and traditionally published works, do? You can voice your concerns directly to those who shape policy and procedure–the companies dominating the publishing and distribution fields, as well as the politicians who govern commerce overall–and push for the further democratization and empowerment of authors. It’s not all bad news for self-publishing authors, of course–our income levels have more than doubled in the last decade–but we’re still, as the report notes, falling some 58% short on average of traditionally published authors. So there’s still work to be done in raising the profile of self-publishing authors around the world, in addition to everything else. If you’re interested in championing the cause, we highly recommend you check out the full PW article at the link.




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: 1.8.2019

January, illustrated name of calendar month, illustration

And now for the news!

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

Another gem from Adam Rowe of Forbes, this article covers some of last year’s top news when it comes to publishing–both traditional and self-publishing trends. Rowe begins by writing that “Popular predictions include the continued rise of audiobooks, political non-fiction, books clubs and the niche subscription service model. But the past still has a lot to say.” What is it that the past has to share, specifically, here? Crime fiction is still on the ascendant, writes Rowe, and it looks as though nothing will be unseating the blockbuster greats of that genre anytime soon–and Rowe mentions that certain other genres, including science fiction, fantasy, and romance, are more popular in digital than print at present. Other revelations include the strength of children’s books as a market force, as well as food writing and popular science, particularly in the UK. This article as a whole is well worth a look, just to keep up with the latest in what’s happening in the publishing industry as a whole.

Every author has probably asked this question of the universe at some point, and here comes New York Times contributor Concepción de León to answer it. Writes de León, “Writing has never been a lucrative career choice, but a recent study by the Authors Guild, a professional organization for book writers, shows that it may not even be a livable one anymore.” But before you start slipping into despair, check out the full article, which covers the history of authorship and how income levels have shifted over the years. de León and the New York Times in general comes from a place of traditional print media, and they’re well aware of that fact. But they don’t completely neglect the self-publishing authors among us; the article relies on findings that “are the result of an expansive 2018 study of more than 5,000 published book authors, across genres and including both traditional and self-published writers,” writes de León. The real problem, de León writes, is a well-known name: Amazon. Amazon “charges commission and marketing fees to publishers that Ms. Rasenberger said essentially prevent their books from being buried on the site. Small and independent publishers, which have fewer resources and bargaining power, have been particularly hard hit.” So … does it pay to be a writer? It depends on your market, and your royalties, and your access to high-quality marketing strategies, de León intimates. Check out the full article for more!


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: 1.2.2019

2019

And now for the news!

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

To start off 2019, our first article today is a retrospective of the happenings in 2018, a year Beniah Munengwa of NewsDay describes as something of a “mixed bag,” in that it contained both some good moments and some hardships for the publishing industry–including the self-publishing industry. What are those highlights and hardships? We recommend you read the article so that you don’t miss a thing, but when it comes to self-publishing specifically, Munengwa cites pricing difficulties, a drop in book fair attendance, and the persistence of stigma as some of the worst book news in 2018, with a burgeoning of dialectical forms, diversification of authors, and the high quality of new self-published content as some of the best. As a Zimbabwean paper that covers news from the diaspora, NewsDay‘s article serves as a good and powerful reminder that self-publishing is a growing global phenomenon–with the power to transform the world. Writes Munengwa, “Heading into 2019, new energy needs to be injected into the publishing industry such that it emerges rejuvenated and refreshed as before, in the process remoulding literature into manna that the yesteryears were reknowned for churning out.” We can’t help but agree.

2018 was a year that cemented Amazon’s grip on the self-publishing industry, among many other markets. Last week, Paris Martineau and Louise Matsakis of WIRED put together a profile of this company, always and forever known for its sheer dominance of consumer-driven sales in the early Internet Age. If you were looking to understand how Amazon’s famous (or infamous?) self-publishing branch fits into its larger mission and into its larger process of acquiring subsidiaries and developing new services, this is definitely the article for you–just scroll down to the “Books” section and dig in. (Although we’d like to note that the entire article, even the non-bookish parts, is fascinating.) Amazon’s reach is, the article indicates, so extensive that it might easily seem that the company has gotten into the life business (after all, it’s now offering healthcare)–and one has to wonder where self-publishing ranks on the company’s list of priorities. Is it better to do all things well, or to do one thing brilliantly? Only time will tell; the jury’s still out on Amazon.

In yet another fantastic article for Forbes, Adam Rowe provides us this week’s outtro with his predictions for 2019–namely, that is, that this will be the Year of Audio. Why’s that? Because all of the groundwork has been successfully laid, and the market has diversified. Writes Rowe, “Audiobooks have been a popular sector of the publishing industry for years now thanks to the ubiquity of the smartphone, but 2018 was the year that distribution channels caught up: Google, Walmart, and Instaread all started selling audiobooks within the last year, and Kobo wasn’t too far ahead of them.” He specifically makes note of the companies making room for self-publishing authors in the midst of this field of new possibilities, including Findaway Voices, a company “which ushers self-published authors’ audiobooks onto the Apple Books marketplace and its 45% royalties.” Rowe also notes that the synergy between podcasts and audiobooks is at an all-time high, with podcasts routinely being ported over or adapted for audiobook format. His final conclusions? Rowe argues that “The virtuous cycle of a growing audience and a growing field of content will undoubtedly continue in 2019. The only question is what interesting new directions publishers and authors will find for audio in the new year.” We hope you’re among those authors looking to experiment, and we hope you’ll share with us the products of your labors! And in the meanwhile, happy New Year!

2019 goals


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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