Self-Publishing News: 5.21.2019

May -wooden carved name of spring month. Calendar on business office table, workplace at yellow background. Spring time

And now for the news!

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

This week, Forbes came through for self-publishing authors in a big way, with this article by ForbesWomen contributor MeiMei Fox bringing a bit of sunshine into our lives. Fox’s premise is fairly self-explanatory, given the article’s title, but her content is well worth a deep read or two. “These days,” Fox opens the article, “aspiring authors don’t have to rely on the miracle of finding a literary agent and securing a deal with a traditional publishing house. Self-publishing makes it easy to get your words out there – the tricky part is ensuring that your work gets read. That requires self-promotion.” She touches base with three bestselling self-published authors who happen to be women, all three of whom “have built highly successful careers […] while also being sure to create entire brands around their literary creations to generate income and further secure their fan base.” Those authors are Crystal Swain-Bates, an accomplished children’s book author dedicated to closing the diversity gap in publishing, Kristen Ashley, successful author to numerous romance novels that embrace body positivity and a richer perception of womanhood than is common in the genre, and Penny Reid, who first got into self-publishing because traditional publishers rejected her romance work as having “too many thoughts and used too many big words,” which says a lot about what publishers think women want and are capable of digesting. Each of the authors Fox covers provides some strategic advice to authors (of any gender) looking not only to get into self-publishing but to market their books successfully. Fox’s article closes with a list of eight suggestions on how to do just that.

While many self-publishing authors who are not male might bristle at this article title, this article provided by Prime Press to the Good Men Project opens with a statement of fact: “According to a study published by ResearchGate, men cover at least 72.62% of all the published books recorded since 2010. In the digital publishing world, nothing much will surprise you as well.” Publishing has been growing more diverse of late, of course, and self-publishing provides a democratizing influence over the process as it makes room for diverse authors, women authors, and voices from the margins—but it’s true, men are still in the lead when it comes to overall quantity of voices. As Prime Press puts it, “a whopping 31% of e-book sales on Amazon’s Kindle Store are self-published books, with at least 51% of it written by male authors. This is not surprising since literature spent centuries being a male-dominated arena. There are more male authors receiving recognition, financial success, and hold positions in relevant associations.” But that percentage—51%—is a lot closer to parity than in traditional publishing! The article goes on to profile a number of male self-publishing authors, including Mitch Miller, Robert Gallent, Paul Halme, and Brad Gilmore, each of whom has had great success in self-publishing. Well worth a look!


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: 5.14.2019

May -wooden carved name of spring month. Calendar on business office table, workplace at yellow background. Spring time

And now for the news!

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

In this recent article for the Irish Examiner, contributor Margaret Jennings converses with Frank Kelly, a printer who provides services to self-publishing authors. Kelly, who often partners with older authors looking to publish for the first time after retirement, pushes back against the lingering threads of stigma still tied to the process, especially when it comes to older writers. Writes Jennings,

You don’t have to “have a creative bone in your body”, he says, to witness the joy of seeing your name in print. Memoirs, biographies, family histories, local historical society compilations, are also all very popular projects and demand the focussed [sic] application of collating information in a chronological order.

All this is very good for the ageing process, he says.“It’s great for our whole well-being and longevity: it exercises the brain; it gives you a purpose in life, and a sense of achievement. We should always have something to look forward to, that’s my own personal philosophy — it’s the simple things that keep you going in life.”

For positive brain-ageing, writing focuses the mind, but also encourages the self-discipline to sit down and write a few pages every evening, he argues: “Instead of sitting down and watching a box-set, like a couch potato, in the evening, do a chapter a day, or write four pages a day; make a commitment to do something.”

In addition to the benefits associated with writing, Jennings (and Kelly) also note that publishing, separately from writing, has its own advantages: publishing provides a legacy, while promoting a new book with a launch party gives the author a specific time and place to boost their connectedness within their own community. Sounds pretty good to us!

In this week’s issue of the University of Melbourne’s Pursuit, Dr. Beth Driscoll digs into the development of what she calls microgenres, or “ultra-specific tags and categories” which are affixed to various books as they are published in order to render them more easily findable by readers. According to Dr. Driscoll, while “Genre has never been a very stable concept […] that hasn’t stopped it shaping the book industry and driving readers’ choices,” and the rise of microgenres isn’t all bad. Writes Dr. Driscoll, “they have effects that are social, textual, and industrial. Genres prompt social gatherings like cosplay at conventions. Genres influence what happens on the pages of books”—and “In an industry where all publishing is to some extent digital, microgenres, categories and tags all feed algorithms and make titles discoverable.” This is good news for readers. But what about self-publishing authors? As someone who has gone through the process herself, Dr. Driscoll knows a bit. “It’s often authors, these days, who choose how to categorise their own books,” she writes; in order to explore just what the experience looks and feels like, Dr. Driscoll and her fellow researchers co-wrote a comic erotic thriller about self-publishing and then … self-published it. Under a pseudonym, of course. They picked their codes and microgenres and then released into the world. The project is ongoing, writes Dr. Driscoll, but some results are already in:

As author-publishers, we have found that ultra-specific tags and categories can feel limiting, like putting creative work into ever-tinier boxes. But they can also feel generative and exciting, as they suggest new pathways for a book to travel along.

What our self-publishing adventure highlights is that microgenres help books and readers find one another in a global, digital age. Microgenres feed the algorithms that can push books towards niche bestseller charts or reading communities, and then springboard them into wider readerships.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the challenging instability and adaptability of ‘genre’, it is an ever-more powerful tool to help books circulate.

As you write and publish your own works, it’s worth keeping the power (and pitfalls) of microgenres in mind.


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: 5.07.2019

May -wooden carved name of spring month. Calendar on business office table, workplace at yellow background. Spring time

And now for the news!

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

In keeping with its power to assist in democratizing literature, self-publishing has always provided a home for authors traditionally locked out of the traditional publishing process, including authors who are women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ folks, and people without access to great resources. This week, at least one of those groups is seeing themselves and their works reflected on the awards circuit: women took home all of awards for all six of the categories of the second annual ‘Pen to Publish’ contest, sponsored by Amazon India, that recognizes “and celebrates self-published digital literary works across several Indian languages,” according to this article in India’s Business Standard. Barriers to women in publishing exist internationally, and so it’s really quite nice (to put it mildly) to see six Indian women recognized for their skill and craft. Totally worth a look!

Did you know the American Booksellers Association runs online marketing meetups? Neither did we! Now that we do, we’re super excited to hear from BookWeb a little bit about their most recent meetup, the first in a series of tree focused on IngramSpark, Ingram’s print-on-demand and e-book distribution platform. Ingram is one of the major companies to keep in mind when attempting to sell your self-published books through retail locations, including both the biggies (like Barnes and Noble) and indie bookstores. Barnes and Noble, of course, has its own thing going on with the Nook platform, but indie booksellers—and libraries!—rely heavily on Ingram for their purchases, and some will only stock books if they’re available through that platform. Emily Behnke of BookWeb points out a number of the meetup’s highlights, and provides a summary of the IngramSpark offerings. Definitely worth checking out!

In further exciting news for gamers, as the headline from GBATemp makes clear, Platinum Games is breaking into the self-publishing market. As GBATemp‘s Krista Noren says, Platinum’s CEO “Inaba hopes to spend 2019 preparing Platinum Games for a future where all its games will be self-published.” That’s pretty cool! We’ll be watching as the self-publishing phenomenon continues to make inroads into the gaming sector.


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: 4.23.2019

the word "april" from the wooden letters

And now for the news!

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

In a powerful interview with Verne Harnish—author, entrepreneur, and founder of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) as well as founder of global education and coaching firm Scaling Up—Thrive Global‘s Sara Connell gets to the bottom of why the long arc of self-publishing’s ongoing evolution has become so connected, in recent years, to movers and shakers in the world of business and financial investments. A part of it, Harnish hints, comes down to control: With self-publishing, the rapid changes constantly happening in the world of business pose no challenge to the applicability and usefulness of his books on the subject. In the world of traditional publishing, by contrast, books on business and entrepreneurship and finances are often outdated even before they hit the shelves—these are socioeconomic areas where life comes at you fast—and where publishers hesitate to even pick up titles as a result. The byproduct of this lopsided relationship has been a couple of fields where experts lean heavily on blogs, which are easy to confuse with similar blogs by inexpert folk and people with no authority, and a lot of misinformation. With self-publishing, on the other hand, the wisdom of experts like Harnish can be distilled down into distributable, authoritative forms that can then be updated as the fields themselves evolve. Says Harnish: “We update Scaling Up every six months. I have control of it. No one else is controlling my destiny. I get to keep control of my IP completely. And I can use the book as a real strategic tool to both grow its readership and support my business.” That’s a strength if ever we heard one!

Ever wondered why the e-book ownership situation is so complicated? Michael Kozlowski of The Good E-Reader is here with some thoughts on the matter, and the relationship between self-publishing and e-books. The long and the short of it, Kozlowski indicates, is that “Retailers welcome self-published works because they have better [return on investment] and make more money whenever an indie book is sold.” In reality, we never truly purchase e-books … we license them. But why aren’t we transparent about that fact? Writes Kozlowski: “companies could probably educate consumers about this reality. But they don’t. Probably because no one wants to click a button that says ‘license now’ or ‘rent until rights transfer to a new publisher.’ Instead, they bury this information in Terms of Service agreement, which, it is well documented, not very many people read. But is this information unsavory? Need it be obscured?” Now that is indeed an important question to ask.

Recently, one of our blog staff had the opportunity to sit in on a lovely panel hosted by the Multnomah County Library system as well as Ooligan Press, their local university press, at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (#AWP19) conference in Portland, Oregon. Their Library Writers Program is pushing the edge of the envelope in new and interesting ways when it comes to developing partnerships between indie and self-publishing authors and their local purveyors of story. The long and the short of it is, MCL figured out how to host local authors’ self-published works on their website and for access through standard library reading apps (think the library equivalents to the Kindle app); after these e-books had been evaluated and distributed, the MCL staff were able to gauge popularity and readership data, and approached Ooligan Press to see if they would be interested in turning some of those e-books into print form. And Ooligan said yes! As a teaching press affiliated with Portland State University, an Ooligan representative noted at the conference, they were able to be more nimble and take risks on indie authors for reasons of scale. The result of this partnership has been the pickup of author Katie Grindeland’s The Gifts We Keep, which is now for sale in print form as a result of the partnership. The story, as told both in the article we’ve linked here and at the panel in Portland, is just one more delightful proof of evidence that libraries, indie presses, and self-publishing authors may just be the making of each other, rather than competitors. We can’t wait to see what comes next in MCL’s Library Writers Project!


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: 4.16.2019

the word "april" from the wooden letters

And now for the news!

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

Some of the best literature comes from places that the average American reader might not know about, and we write about these places frequently here on Self Publishing Advisor: India, Britain, and this week, Australia. In this week’s West Australian, Jackson Lavell-Lee writes to promote an upcoming event at Barefoot Books Busselton, which according to Lavell-Lee “will host a book self-publishing event on Sunday at 2pm in conjunction with independent publishing company Book Reality.” Lavell-Lee goes on to interview Book Reality’s director and a number of authors who have self-published through Book Reality, giving this article an especially personal touch.

In other fascinating self-publishing news for the week, UK bookselling juggernaut Waterstones is dealing with a landmark case after a petition featuring over 9000 signatures was delivered asking the bookstore to give its employees a living wage. How does this relate to self-publishing? According to the article from Books + Publishing, “Campaign organisers also planned to present Daunt with a self-published book called Working at Waterstones, which includes anonymous testimonies from staff about their experiences of living on a low wage.” It says a lot about at least specific value of self-publishing that is has provided a platform for necessary anonymous publications and therefore the voices of those whose jobs are on the line, whether or not their names are attached to this petition. If they don’t file a petition, their jobs may prove unsustainable in paying basic bills. If they do file a petition and get called out for it, they may be let go on any number of technicalities. Thank goodness for self-publishing, eh? Speaking truth to power is one of its strong suits.


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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In Your Corner: Spring into Self-Publishing (Part II)

spring writing laptop

It has been some weeks since I last checked in about resetting for spring, and much has changed. Where I live, the snow has turned to rain, and every time it rains the worms show up on sidewalks and in gutters and on lawns, roaming just a bit astray from their primary work tunneling through the thawing, loosening soil. The birds are in the midst of their spring migration, and the ice is breaking up, even in the lake bays. The grass is greening under the last of the winter detritus, and even though the wind sometimes still blows cold, I am often tempted to take myself and my laptop out of doors to work in the warming sunlight.

Last time I wrote, I provided some thoughts on constructive ways to take advantage of the spring to reset our writing. This week, I want to spend some time thinking about why spring is so important to us as writers and writing professionals—as opposed to any other season of the year. Summer is lush with golden afternoons full of freedom and adventure. Fall is lovely and full of pumpkin spice lattes (as I think I’ve mentioned a hundred times each year). Winter is packed with special days of great emotional importance, and is a season of returns. But spring? Spring is special. And here’s why.

  • Symbolism.

    I’ve already mentioned that the world feels like it’s coming back to life in the spring, and it’s hard not to feel inspired by natural cycles on a symbolic level (not to mention physical—increasing sunlight levels and exposure in spring do some serious magic within the human brain). Rather than resisting this natural and symbolic rhythm, it’s worth attempting to channel it into forms that are useful to you. Feeling restless? Try out a bunch of new writing and marketing styles, and see what works well and what doesn’t. Spring is a laboratory of opportunities, and it’s okay to give yourself permission to let loose and be disorganized every now and again! Feeling energized and focused? Plan out a new schedule which makes more time for the things that you know will bring you peace and joy later in the year, when these habits are etched into your routine.

  • Publishing practicalities.

    While the rhythm of self-publishing is far more flexible than that of traditional publishing, there remain some practical reasons why spring is the best time to both a) begin the self-publication process, and b) get to work on your next project. The first reason is that spring is normally a quieter season in publishing and self-publishing both, with awards season more than half of a calendar year away and nominee announcements in advance of that. The busiest period is still a few months out, with the submission deadlines for the National Book Awards (arguably the biggest event in traditional publishing) at the end of June and the CIPA EVVY Awards (one of the most important awards in indie and self-publishing) in mid-May. Another busy period of the year starts in Fall, after submission deadlines are over and authors feel free to focus on marketing. As Anthony Wessel wrote in 2012:

The book industry has sales trend lines that have been consistent for the past forty years. Sales are relatively flat on a week-to-week basis for forty-six weeks out of the year. Slight sales increases are seen on the minor sales holidays. This means approximately the same number of books is being read in any given week compared to the previous year. […] Indie authors should expect flat sales in 2012 from May till December and nothing close to what they had at the beginning of the year. I would suggest authors spend this time period writing and putting marketing plans together to capitalize on the upcoming holiday season.

  • Personal meaning.

    What does spring mean to you? I think this is an important question to ask each year. When I was younger, it was easiest to seize upon the optimistic and joyful aspects of spring; now that I’m older, I’m conscious of spring as a connection point between cycles of loss and life—a reality which heightens the joy in some ways but also renders it bittersweet. I have a lot of feelings to navigate in spring that I didn’t before, and these feelings translate directly into what projects I move forward with and which ones I let percolate a little while longer. I think it’s wise to listen to your body as well as your intuition about things like writing, and spring brings new dimensions to both.

How will you move your writing and marketing projects forward this spring? I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line in the comments section, below, or reach out to us online (we’re on Twitter at @SelfPubAdvisor)!

spring writing mug coffee tea books

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

In Your Corner: Spring into Self-Publishing (Part I)

2019 is now well underway, but not so far underway that it feels quite like spring––at least, not if you live in the same part of the world that I do.  The weather is grey and cold––and wet––and worst of all, there seems to be no end in sight (even though we know, in theory, that this happens every year).  At some point during the incrementally lengthening days, there comes a realization: your writing is suffering.  Whether it’s because of all the other things piling up, or because you’ve burned through your allotment of holiday candy, I thought I’d take a moment today to encourage you with a few simple––and practical!––ideas for kicking those pre-Spring blues.

spring crocus snow

  1. Take care of your body.  Revisit your sleep schedule, your vitamins C and D intake, your water intake, and those other finicky cycles that we all tend to interrupt and sacrifice on the altar of our incredibly busy lives.  If you notice that one of these basic components of day-to-day health is off, don’t stress!  Take a moment to breathe, and take steps to correct them––sustainably, of course, and never ever punish yourself for struggling or lapsing.  Positive reinforcement only!
  2. Check in with friends and fellows.  We all need the boost that a good conversation can bring.  Google it: research shows that we need positive interactions with friends, family, and other community members to stay positive ourselves.  During this pre-Spring time, reach out and touch base with your friends and fellow writers.  You need them, and they need you too!
  3. Try something new, like signing up for a creative writing or introduction to publishing course through your local library, or join a local writer’s group.  Don’t think in terms of a long-term commitment just yet––just give it a taste, a quick try, and reassess after a month or so.  Is it helping?  If yes, keep going.  If not, let it go and try something else.
  4. Get outside.  We writers tend to stick to the hermitage for reasons of both preference and (mostly) practicality.  Writing is easiest inside, where there are plenty of wall sockets and comfortable seating nooks and wifi connections.  And before summer well and truly dries out the snowbanks, getting outside can be kind of … messy.  But here’s the thing: sunlight and fresh vistas can be some of the best curative tricks in the whole trade.  Take something portable––an iPad or regular plain old paper notebook––in case something sparks your imagination.  Get it down then and there!
  5. Plan something fun.  Whether it’s a big vacation or a weekly trip to a local coffee shop (or, let’s face it, the local bookstore!), build rewards into your upcoming schedule.  Giving yourself something to look forward to as you strive to write this spring will spur you on!

It only seems right that we lay a solid foundation for the months of work to come.  Just remember: it’s okay to pick and choose what techniques work for you!

house finch spring buds snow

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.