Self-Publishing News: 3.31.2020

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And now for the news.

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

Now this is a fascinating idea: According to this Accesswire repost to Yahoo! Finance, author J.B. Lion is launching a new series of five books, each of which comes as a “standard text-only version and a graphic novel that mixes illustrations alongside text.” The dual version, the article claims, is “meant to enhance the reading experience, reducing the chance that a reader stops reading halfway.” The series is the product of a decade and a half of labor, as well as the creative insights of Lion’s sons, creators of the world upon which THE SEVENTH SPARK is built. Given some of Lion’s other literary inspirations, it will come as no surprise that the series resonates with those readers who love other mammoth works of twisty and multifaceted fantasy fiction, and the graphic novel version is bound to attract a wide readership among those more attracted to visual forms than thick tomes. Whatever else happens in this series, it’s fascinating to see how indie authors like Lion are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in self-publishing. Now we’re curious about what other indie authors might be looking into dual-version publications like this one.

To balance out the day’s news release, we take a quick glance away from fantasy to catch a glimpse of another fun new thing in the world of science fiction, this time out of Fairbanks, Alaska. Ramzi Abou Ghalioum writes that “It would have been hard to tell, looking at his first two careers, how Craig Martelle would pivot at age 52 and begin writing science-fiction action novels.” But he did, moving first from the Marine Corps into law, working with Fortune 100 companies for a number of years before retiring from his second career and turning his attention to writing “that book I always wanted to write,” as he puts it. Drawing upon the kind of “streamlined approach” that his experience in the business world introduced him to, Martelle has applied the concept of process improvement to the act of writing–a concept that “involved examining a production process and figuring out how to streamline it for efficiency.”  Combining both his creative gifts and a lifetime of professional experience, he decided to self-publish. “The business part isn’t that hard,” he writes, so long as authors find the resources and guidance they need–another part of his mission.


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: 3.17.2020

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And now for the news.

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

We have a couple of really exciting success stories to share with you, our readers, this morning. First is this article from the digital megapowerhouse news-and-all-other-things website Mashable.  Contributor Sam Haysom opens his article by debunking the persistence of “self-publishing stigma,” an expression all of us here on the blog are familiar with from ages past. And “While questions over writers’ and publishers’ attitudes to this type of fiction may be up for discussion,” writes Haysom, “one thing seems pretty clear: A whole lot of people read self-published books. And a whole lot of writers are making money from selling them.” Three of those writers–LJ Ross, Rachel Abbott, and Adam Nevill–feature heavily in Haysom’s article, each contributing wisdom from lived experience following a unique path into self-publishing. We highly recommend you read Haysom’s whole piece in its entirety.

We have sung the praises of LibraryBub here on the blog before, but this month’s news is a serious highlight. The website, founded in 2015 to “mak[e] vibrant connections between indie and small-press authors and an extensive network of libraries,” is designed specifically to help libraries (and therefore their communities of readers) “identify acclaimed books from the independent publishing sector.” That’s you, folks. And while this particular press release mostly focuses on recent March releases that have gotten exactly that kind of acclaim, it’s worth noting that it provides links for both librarians and independent publishers (including self-published authors) to participate.


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: 10.29.2019

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And now for the news!

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

This fascinating article from Matia Madrona Query of Publishers Weekly tackles the story of author Melissa Marr, an author already well-known for her traditionally published work but who has recently made the decision to “go indie,” by which we mean that she has moved into self-publishing for her most recent projects, including short stories, a collection, and re-releases of at least two books from her backlist that have gone out of print. “‘Let’s be honest: I’m lousy at boxes,'” Query quotes Marr as saying. “‘I write picture books, middle grade, YA, adult, short fiction, and manga. Why not try this?'” Why not indeed? And Marr seems to be finding her feet; writes Query, “in taking control of the publishing process, she has relished the additional freedom to package and juxtapose her work in new and novel ways—a particular benefit for an author whose literary fantasy realms are often layered and intermingling.” Marr’s, Query goes on to point out, experience some benefits as well, including a quick turnaround from manuscript to print copies on the shelf. Marr’s experience has given her some useful insights into the value of visibility, an attractive cover, and a responsive self-publishing platform as well—all of which are worth reading!

Publishers Weekly showed up for self-publishing in a big way this week, with multiple articles touching on different possibilities enabled by self-publishing. This article from contributors Raquel Delemos and Tiffany Richardson tackle the thorny issue of boosting diversity within indie and self-publishing (and frankly, publishing at large) through the writing collective Big Black Chapters, of which there are now more than 3,000 members. Write Delemos and Richardson, “we believe that having safe spaces for writers of color to address the issues they face is critical for the creative process. Alongside writing prompts and story excerpts, our group discussions involve topics relating to race and navigating mainstream creative writing spaces. We discuss the complexities of self-publishing alongside issues within our own community such as colorism and ethnic bias.” Fascinating, right? We’re always excited to see authors from underrepresented and marginalized communities take advantage of the democratization of publishing as offered and expanded by self-publishing platforms; we wish Big Black Chapters the best in all their future endeavors.

Margaret Atwood, mega-blockbuster-success of an author with a new book out (you miiiight have heard of it, given it became a Nobel prize-winner within weeks of its publication this Fall) is known for tackling tough subjects, and she broke into writing when there were very few women’s names on book spines. But there’s a side to her story that not many readers know about. Writes Dianca London Potts of Glamour, Atwood got her start when she self-published a collection of poetry: “‘We went around to bookstores, and they actually took them for 50 cents. It’s just what you did,’ she explains. ‘It taught me that you could make things, and there are still these entry points that involve a certain amount of self-publication.'” While most of Atwood’s story has been subsumed within the larger white noise of the traditional publishing industry, she still pays homage to her roots. And her characters, whether in book form or on screen, are at least in some small way able to give voice to powerful concepts of feminism and personal agency because of those bookstores that shelled out 50c back in the 1960s. How’s that for a testimonial?


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: 8.6.2019

august month

And now for the news!

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

It’s always exciting when self-published works are associated with, well, anything “high-brow,” and this week Highbrow Magazine’s syndication of NewsUSA covered the story of Jess Michaels, a successful author who just happens to have made her break through self-publishing after previously publishing a number of titles via traditional means. Says Michaels, “I’d begun developing an audience for my books and wanted to try something different. Authors I respected had success and greater control over their work with self-publishing, so I was eager to try it for myself.” Going self-published after completing her pre-existing book deals allowed Michaels to target the audience she knew she most wanted to reach, and to do so with full command over the hows and the whens and the whats. The article, in addition to covering Michaels’ story, advocates for those still considering their options to think about self-publishing’s benefits in respect to three things: creative control, speed to market, and proportional rights and royalties. “Who knows? Maybe the best-seller list is closer than you think,” write the article authors: the perfect happy ending to our romance with self-publishing!

In another success story made good, WHO TV out of Des Moines, Iowa, recently published an article by Megan Reuthers about Iowa author Nicholas Sansbury Smith. Smith, whose works mostly live on the postapocalyptic fiction shelf, has quite the writing work ethic: he sits down for ten hours a day and turns out four to five completed books a year by doing so. (We’re not jealous! We promise! OK, we’re jealous of that work ethic.) His works appeal to readers, among other reasons, for their groundedness and realism. Writes Reuthers:

He gets inspiration from his previous profession as a disaster mitigation specialist with Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management. He said, “It not only inspired me but scared me, and I was able to use that experience on different disasters or threats that we face to implement those in stories and then I used a sci-fi twist.’

He was, writes Reuthers, eventually picked up by a traditional publishing house, and is now producing multiple series simultaneously. But the real trick, Reuthers records, is “treating [writing] like a business. ‘Now is the best time in history to be a writer because you can self-publish a book, and if you know, even generally what you’re doing, in terms of marketing, you can have success,’ he said.” We are always excited to celebrate these both/and self- & traditionally published authors, who consistently demonstrate the fact that everyone’s publishing journey looks different, and there’s a path for everyone!


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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Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer: 12/04/2015



“There was a MOMENT—just a flash of an idea—that would not let me go.” My friend Lorry Lutz (author of ten books, soon to be eleven) was explaining that she simply had to write her most recent book. “I don’t remember exactly how I came across this woman’s life story, but when I did I felt like I knew her. Her Faith was a passion and her compassion for women who were being forced into bondage led her into many dangerous situations. I simply had to bring her story into today’s world, so people will realize that each one of us can make a difference.”

And, there we have it—the Personal KEYS to writing—the moment (idea flash), the message (expressed through actions/events), the memory (personal connection) and the miracle (making a difference).

For many writers I know, the moment the writing idea formulates is when we’re half-asleep—or half-awake—whichever side of the moment we’re experiencing. Other times of awareness hit us when we’re driving, stopped at a red light and happen to glance across a beautifully landscaped park, or up into the brilliance of an evening sunset. And, of course, there is the shower moment or the kitchen-sink-full-of-dirty-dishes moment or the changing diapers moment. I’m certain that you can add many such idea flashes of your own to this list. The point being—these inspired moments DO come and we need to grab hold of them as quickly as possible.

Grasping the idea is crucial and so exciting! From that momentary idea flash comes the whole.

  • The Headline that will be highlighted on the back cover of your book.
  • The Summary and/or synopsis that will draw readers and publishers.
  • The Heart—or Thread—concept that will carry your main points throughout.
  • The Passion that you will exude when presenting your book to agents, publishers, and most importantly, to readers.
  • The Significance or Take-Away Value that readers will grasp and carry into their own lives.

Author Lorry Lutz will see her book Boundless (her working title) released in December, 2016. The heroine of this historical fiction novel is Katharine Bushnell (February 5, 1855 – January 26, 1946) who became a medical doctor and social activist at a time when very few ladies were willing to take the risks she did. Her desire to reform conditions of human degradation took her to back-country mining and lumber camps in America, villages in China and palaces in India. I hope you will bring Lutz’s excellent story into your homes when it appears online—an exceptional example of grasping an idea and developing it to its fullest.


Lorry Lutz  (courtesy of her Twitter account)


Of course, timing is always a factor: the moment in time when the idea hits us, the months and quite possibly years in the research and writing, and the investigation and decision-making season when publishing options are weighed. Authors today have a quiver full of possibilities when reaching the moment to publish. You already know that mainstream publishers will not come knocking on your door to hand you a contract. However, if you know someone (who knows someone) in the big houses, there is at least the possibility that your manuscript will be read and considered. For those of us who are not in that position, the self-publishing presses have multiple packages that will not only get your book in print, but ONLINE for all the world to see. So talk to your author friends, query writing conference directors, read the Writers Market and Writer’s Digest, and discover where you and your book fit. Then … get it published!  ⚓︎


RoyaleneABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.  

Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

Demystifying the Digital Census : Self Love Levels Drop

Two weeks ago, I launched this series by laying the groundwork for understanding what the FutureBook (and its parent organization, The Bookseller) is all about and, as a result, what the annual Digital Census seeks to measure and comment upon.  (In summary: it tracks emerging and outgoing matters of interest for authors and publishers and other trade experts invested in digital publishing, whether through traditional or indie, hybrid, and self-publishing platforms.)  I also took a quick peek at the FutureBook‘s first confirmed trend of 2015: the fact that mobile has overtaken both tablets and dedicated e-readers as the primary means for reading ebooks.  And last week, I applied a microscope to the FutureBook’s second confirmed trend of 2015: the fact that digital sales are still growing, but that growth is slowing.  


This week, I’m going to examine the FutureBook’s third confirmed trend for the year.  Straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak: “Self-love levels recede as many indie authors report lower satisfaction levels.” The FutureBook publication, which you can read here, says:


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You can imagine how deeply sad I feel when I see a well-respected and industry-enriching publication commenting on authors tanking in the self-love department.  As it turns out, the data indexed by the Digital Census isn’t necessarily asking authors to psychoanalyze their performance and self-satisfaction, so “self-love” may be a bit strong of a term––but then again, maybe not.  Many authors do equate self-satisfaction (and their identity, really) with their performance in respect to sales figures.  And that’s a deeply problematic way to measure self-worth, as everyone is well aware … but sometimes we can’t help but believe it to be an accurate yardstick, especially when we’re spoon-fed a certain narrative by the mainstream media: the narrative in which success means J.K. Rowling, means Veronica Roth, means Tom Clancy and P.D. James and Agatha Christie, means George R.R. Martin, means blockbuster film adaptations and interviews with Ellen or Oprah or Jimmy Kimmel.

Maybe other self-publishing authors and bloggers might be content to state that this is wrong and it shouldn’t be the case, but I can’t just let it lie.  Where does the narrative of success originate?  And how can we alter the conversation to reflect a more holistic, life-affirming reality––the selfsame reality that indie, hybrid, and self-publishing authors of great quality and phenomenal worth experience on a day-to-day basis?

I think a lot of it comes down to the whole do as I say, not as I do syndrome that applies to many other grand social narratives in our modern world.  For example, we affirm again and again to our children that whatever path life takes them on, they have value––as plumbers as well as princesses, as garbage collectors and astronauts––but we flood their lives with films, television shows, and books that highlight the “exceptional” nature of the same “grand narratives” that the world will later try and tell them are impossible to actually attain, in adulthood.  (When was the last time we turned to a college student and said, “You can totally be a princess!” … and actually mean it?)

It’s the same with publishing, including self-publishing: we tell warn aspiring authors again and again that success doesn’t look like any one thing, and it certainly isn’t equatable with sales figures.  But at the same time, the narratives of “successful” authors that we learn about and spread through news articles and social media are almost always about authors who rake in the big bucks and attention from the Big Five publishing houses (after a successful “grassroots campaign,” of course), and about rags-to-riches stories like Andy Weir’s and Christopher Paolini’s.  And I’m here to say: it’s too little, and too late.  It’s simply not good enough to affirm our indie authors as individual successes with trite sayings and cold comfort.  By the time we need comforting, it’s too late.  We have to break the stereotypes and unravel the threadbare story before authors publish.

Otherwise, we’re always going to be playing catch-up and damage control.  I will always, always be on hand to affirm that you’re a success simply because you did the hard thing and you (self-) published your book, but I think we can do more to set you up for a healthy sense of your own value and worth and general excellence, and do it earlier and better.  Let’s start by teaching the next wave of future authors that numbers do not an identity make!


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠

From the Archives: “How Much Do Self-Published Authors Make Per Year?”

Welcome to our new Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.


[ Originally posted: July 13th, 2011 ]

You want to become a self-published author, but you also have bills to pay and a lifestyle to maintain. So you pull up Google (or your search engine of choice), and search for “average income for book authors” or “average income for self-published authors”. You skim the results but can’t find any solid statistics. There’s a good reason why. Ready for it? Authors aren’t paid a salary. They earn royalties based on the sales of their book. These royalties are paid to them on a set schedule – usually provided that they meet the agreed upon “minimum earning threshold”.

So, will I be able to pay my bills if I become a self-published author? That’s an excellent question. Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” answer to it. When you publish a book, you are essentially taking a “gamble” on yourself. Many authors keep their day jobs until they are able to earn enough to support themselves on their book sales alone. One dedicated Outskirts Press author made $100,000 in only 180 days (6 months). However, there are some authors who don’t earn anywhere near this amount in a year. Furthermore, there are some authors who may not sell even one book over the course of a year.

How do you know where you fall? Self-publishing is all about investing in yourself. Given that successfully publishing a book involves 20% writing and 80% marketing, you should naturally spend most of your time/money on promoting the book after you write it. If you need help, you may consider enlisting the services of a book marketing consultant.

The income of a self-publishing author is 100% in their own hands. No one can “predict” how much you will earn as that is only a result of two things:  the quality of your book and substantial effort in marketing it to the right audience.


 Four years (and a few weeks) have passed since Elise first posted this blog about potential profits in self-publishing, and everything she wrote about then still holds up today.  But if you were looking for some statistics or some hard data to back up her assertions, consider the following information mined from a 2013 Forbes article:

  • 20% of self-published authors reported making no income at all from their writing, with a median income of under $5,000.
  • traditionally published authors had a median income of between $5,000 and $9,999.
  • hybrid authors–those who self-publish through a company like Outskirts Press–had a median income of between $15,000 to $19,999.
  • of authors who self-published, 1.8% made over $100,000 from their writing (in 2012); of traditionally published authors, 8.8% made a comparable amount; outdistancing the pack, hybrid authors performed the best, with 13.2% making over $100,000 in the same year.

The Forbes article stressed that theirs was an “non-scientific” sampling, so as not to be construed as “nationally representative” or even wholly accurate.  Still, when you look at the data, you can’t help but be impressed by one thing: hybrid authors are making out like bandits, comparatively!  We shouldn’t be discouraged by the first point, as the numbers don’t look all that great for traditionally published authors when it comes to profit and loss.

Take a look at this article from Publishing Perspectives, which includes a beautiful little infographic breaking down earnings by price bracket.  Those authors who make no money at all are fairly similar between traditional and self-publishing groups, but drop dramatically in the hybrid bracket.  On the whole, hybrid publishing platforms tend to spread out the earnings, percentage-wise, whereas self-published and even traditionally-published markets clump authors together into the lower income brackets.  (All but the Lucky Few, that is.)

All this to say, there’s been a shift in the last five years away from “strictly” traditional and “strictly” self-published modes of authorship.  The advent of indie and hybrid publishing–the diversification of the entire publishing system–has created more opportunities and more middle ground for authors who want to remain in control of the creative process.  None of this impacts Elise’s sound recommendation to stick to the 20/80 ratio (20% writing, 80% marketing)–but it does provide food for thought when it comes to offloading some of that marketing to professionals.  It’s no longer a question of “Can I find a niche?” but rather “Who is going to market my book most effectively?”  The answer isn’t always what you might think. ♠

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at, 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,