And now for the news!
Some highlights from this month in the world of self-publishing, specifically regarding publishing trends within the publishing industry, and their implications for all authors!
Fancy that–this week, self-publishing made The Verge! This week’s article by Verge contributor Shannon Liao focuses in on self-publishing platform Smashwords, which recently announced plans to partner with indie audiobook maker Findaway Voices. The deal hinges, Liao writes, on making it possible for “Smashwords’ authors and publishers [to] find professional narrators more quickly and hear voice actor recommendations from an online casting support team. There will also be estimates of production costs and stated hourly rates for voice actors, ranging from $150 to $400 an hour.” That may sound like a lot, and it is, as the average audiobook lasts in excess of six hours, but it does indicate progress for authors who previously had no access at all.
This is not the first time that a self-publishing company has partnered up with an audiobook company, but it is the first time it has made mainstream news indices like The Verge. Here’s hoping there are many more fruitful partnerships ahead–and not just because this is an excellent service idea, but also because more competition will drive the price down for those authors who really can’t afford the service, just yet.
If you’re wondering why we’re forefronting Facebook this week, then here’s a quick summary of events: recently, the social media heavyweight was implicated in election profiteering (which is not illegal) as well as the dissemination of private user data for profit (which is illegal, or at the very least a grey area) and exploitation by a political entity, which is not quite the same thing. Many Facebook users are outraged, and others are concerned that this marks a transition in the social media industry from providing services in exchange for harmless, benign, and politically (mostly) neutral data exchanges (such as the hosting of annoying ads in the margins of your home page) to a social media industry which ruthlessly exploits its users the same way that everyone else seems to. Many people have decided to quit Facebook altogether as a result. Enter Bruce Shapiro of The Nation, who argues a different take on the subject: that Facebook, a de facto self-publishing platform, “for all its flaws, […] remains a vital tool for political activism.” Shapiro argues we ought to regulate Facebook, transforming it into something more like a public utility, so that these functions can remain available to us without (as much) risk of it being put to political and profiteering ends. This is a strongly-worded take on the subject, but it would seem that the time for strongly-worded takes has come. What happens next depends on us, and our elected representatives. Is Facebook really a self-publishing platform? Should that figure into the debate? We’d love to hear your thoughts, here or on Twitter at @SelfPubAdvisor.
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 every Monday to find out the hottest news. If you have other big news to share, please comment below.