Self-Publishing News: 7.23.2018 – Publishing Trends Roundup

July

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!

This article from Publishers Weekly comes at the perfect time to remind us how much we love audiobooks (and how perfectly suited audiobooks are for the summer holiday season, with all of its road trips and its changes of pace). The article, an interview between PW contributor Benjamin South and “audio veteran” Scott Brick, is revealing on many levels–first, peeling back the layers (and the myths) of what audiobooks are or are not to authors, including self-published and indie authors. Brick is known primarily for using his voice as a narrator of these books, but he’s also now using his voice to advocate for them. Says Brick:

My choices are driven by wanting to work with really good authors and it’s thrilling when people get in touch with me to say they’ve discovered a new author because of me. I am also a fan first and foremost. Most of the new authors coming out these days are indie authors, and if that’s where they are, that’s where I am going to follow.

Brick goes on to describe what draws him to a book, how he goes about collaborating with indie authors to bring their books to an audio format, and the ways in which working with indie authors and self-published books is different from working with a traditional publisher. If you’ve ever asked yourself whether or not you should pursue creating an audiobook edition of your self-published book, this revealing interview is an absolute must!

Last month in this news space, we discussed a different, earlier article on one of of the new ways that indie and self-publishing authors are breaking out into mainstream awareness: through Wattpad, and collaborations between streaming services like Netflix and Hulu and that unique story-publishing platform. This month, pop culture titan Vulture tackled the subject with this article by Chris Lee, wherein Lee breaks down what it is, exactly, about the platform that has led to it having such a moment. And it’s not just Netflix and Hulu getting in on the action: broadcast television network The CW is also putting out feelers, as well as NBCUniversal. And while Wattpad’s star is rising quite high these days, the question remains: can its success translate or “trickle down” to other indie and self-publishing outlets, platforms, and authors? According to Wattpad Studios’ chief Aron Levitz, (“as well as entertainment executives from companies in partnership with Wattpad,” writes Lee), there’s one specific reason why Wattpad is leading the pack:

[…] the Toronto-based publishing platform’s devoted community of readers provides a secret weapon in developing content with road-tested mass appeal: data. By actively commenting — often paragraph by paragraph over the course of, say, a 300-page online book — Wattpad readers function as a highly motivated focus group, helping dictate plotlines, vetting characters, and even the deletion of scenes.

It doesn’t hurt that while Wattpad is finding ways to its stories, the vast majority of content on the website is free, and the platform is brokering deals with these film companies without necessarily forwarding those profits to its authors. It remains to be seen whether the authors whose stories are being adapted will receive the same treatment as, say, a traditionally-published author or a self-published author in the usual mode. Watch this space as developments continue!

“How would you choose to build a general book publisher today, if starting from scratch? That was the question I found myself asking two years ago,” writes Pete Duncan, author of this recent blog post for The Bookseller. Duncan, who compares the average 10 to 20-year lifespan of a modern tech company to the longevity of many large publishing houses, set out to discover exactly what it would take to succeed in modern terms at “that delicate balancing act which the publishing industry has so often been adept at, of combining riskier publishing with safer bets, to keep shareholders’ hair on, and publishing across unrelated categories, to cushion against unforeseeable changes in readers’ taste.” It’s not an easy act, he concluded, after a year working in consultation with “a variety of book publishers small and large, self-publishing authors, website publishers, and companies from other sectors running some type of publishing activity.” One thing these all had in common? Things may not be so stable when it comes to publishing at all, with fragmentation of services and the multiplication and innovation of online services in many ways replicating and suborning traditional publishing models. Having now launched Prelude Books, a hybrid company seeking to occupy many niches all at once, Duncan is entirely honest about the challenges ahead. But the rewards are equally as great: “In this new type of publishing the relationship with the reader is fantastically direct and instantaneous – no more having to persuade intermediaries to stock a book then rely on yet more intermediaries to build the basic level of buzz.” This whole blog is a gem, and we highly recommend you take a look.


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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.

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Self-Publishing News: 6.25.2018 – Publishing Trends Roundup

june

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!

We’ve written occasionally about the happy synchronicity between self-publishing and genre fiction, but this article more or less proves it: while traditional sales in some of these genres, here specifically science fiction and fantasy, actual sales may have actually doubled when those crunching the numbers include information from indie and self-publishing sources. The difficulty, of course, is that many of these companies (here’s looking at your KDX service, Amazon!) refuse to give up information, or at least to do so reliably. Still, from the information available Adam Rowe of Forbes is able to speculate, drawing upon Nielson reports among others, that while “Indie-published authors may be just 48% of the SF&F market (and their unit prices average just $3.20 compared to traditional publishers’ ebook average of $8.04), but these authors are likely still earning the majority of the profits.” This is good news for self-publishing authors, Rowe writes, but may not be the kind of boost or reminder that traditional publishers need to invest in these genres in which authors are jumping ship. The authors are, in part, jumping ship because they weren’t being invested in; they have good reasons to leave the traditional route, just as much as they have good reasons to choose an indie route. At some point, are the Big Five going to reach a tipping point where they simply discontinue their science fiction and fantasy (as well as other genre fiction) imprints? Because that would be a loss to us all.

Speaking of science fiction, did you know that the history of zines is inextricably tied up with this genre? As Claire Williamson of the Japan Times Culture column writes,

“The Comet” is widely acknowledged to be the first zine — first published in 1930 by the Science Correspondence Club in Chicago — and its release heralded the beginning of a decades-long trend of fan-produced science fiction zines. By the 1970s and ’80s, zine culture was decidedly punk; in the 1990s it centered on the feminist “riot grrrl” movement. Nowadays zines often combine elements of both text and design, running the gamut from in-depth, research-based publications to pocket-sized collections of personal doodles, and encompassing myriad topics.

Zines are also, of course, tied up with self-publishing. Writes Williamson, “From the modern ukiyo-e prints of the Edo Period (1603-1868) to contemporary dōjinshi (self-published) fan comics, there has always been an outlet in Japan for artistic self-publishing.” It may have begun in the Edo period, but “The mid-2000s, for instance, heralded the rise of keitai shōsetsu (cell phone novels), which were written in sparse, colloquial Japanese — ideal for drafting or reading on cramped cell phone screens — and appealed to the masses. Meanwhile, nijisōsaku (derivative works) that draw on copyrighted characters have historically been protected from lawsuits to allow the growth of the parent work’s fanbase and encourage budding artistic talent.” As Williamson points out, in such a historical context, self-publishing as we know it today makes for a natural fit. Williamson unpacks the rich story of zines and self-publishing in modern Japan, as well as several of its current players, making this a must-read article. The article may be of local interest, but its implications are global.

Not familiar with The Kissing Booth? That’s alright; until two weeks ago, no one else had either. This made-for-and-by-Netflix teenage drama has risen to through the ranks of most-watched films online in its brief time in the world, and is forcing entertainment companies to re-evaluate where they find their source material. Because The Kissing Booth? Yeah, that was self-published. We’ve written about Wattpad, the blogging and self-publishing site so popular with teens, before on this blog–but it’s worth point out again that self-publishing doesn’t ever look like any one thing. It’s microbloggers like Rupi Kaur who use Instagram to find an audience. It’s fanfiction and lengthier bloggers like those who use Wattpad, LinkedIn, and Tumblr to find their audiences. It’s authors writing full-length novels and publishing them through companies like Amazon and Outskirts Press. It’s zine makers making and distributing their work by hand or through the Internet. It’s indie comic creators and game designers pushing the envelope of what’s considered self-publishable material, as well as musicians and artists and so, so many more. Now that companies like Netflix are literally banking on self-publishing authors and other creators, it’s only a matter of time before we see an explosion and diversification of the base definition of self-publishing, and before that list is multiplied by a factor of ten. If you’re a self-publishing author or creator reading this blog, you’re in the right place at the right time. We can’t wait to see what happens next.


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

selfpubicon1

Self-Publishing News: 2.26.2018 – Publishing Trends Roundup

February concept. stationery and notebook, business background

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!

Our first stop on this week’s tour through the week’s news when it comes to publishing trends is the UK, where The Bookseller‘s distinguished contributor, Gordon Wise, offers up a salient and timely defense of … well … the country’s success! Or rather, the successes of the Association of Authors’ Agents (or AAA, not to be confused with roadside assistance). This organization, which is now more than 100 member institutions strong, provides vital services to these members, not least its ability to raise the profile of publishing at large. Writes Wise, the AAA has become “a named body that the Intellectual Property Office has consulted on various publishing-related matters,” including matters as lofty as Brexit and the goings-on at 10 Downing Street, where the Prime Minister makes his home while in office. But this isn’t just a celebration of hard-won successes already in hand; it’s a rallying cry for industry professionals in a country riven and likely to continue being riven by deep political and cultural conflicts–many of which have the potential to impact all creative industries. A worthy read!

Next we move to Australia, where the BooksAndPublishing.com.au website has recently posted a report on the findings of a Macquarie University study into innovation within the Australian publishing industry. The full article is restricted to subscribers, which many of you may already be. If not, you’ll have to be content with the highly suggestive hints delivered in the first paragraph, or you can sift through the research summary published on the Macquarie University website (go to: https://www.mq.edu.au/newsroom/2018/02/08/australian-book-publishers-lift-their-game-to-be-more-competitive-but-some-are-faring-better-than-others-new-study/ for more)! The general consensus seems to be: yes, everything’s not perfectly peachy, but Australian authors and publishers are finding a way, and one of the contributing factors to their adaptability is the rise of self-publishing!

Last but not least, we go to Gillian Tett of the Financial Times, who recently published an article digging into that very same rise of self-publishing, only from the perspective of a mother to young writers–writers who are taking full advantage of the many self-publishing options open to them, including Wattpad and others. This article, which reads more like a journey of self-discovery than it does an exposé or a crunching of the numbers, provides a valuable insight not often to be found in reflections on self-publishing: what it’s like to come at the industry from the outside, and from a place of personal connection to very young writers, writers who are completely untethered from traditional publishing’s stifling expectations and even the first wave of self-publishing companies’ insistence on following the form as closely as possible. A fascinating aspect of this transition to the brave new world of second- or third- or fourth-wave self-publishing is that it’s firmly rooted in the social–not just social media, but the social motivation, a desire to write for others and place one’s work within the larger ongoing conversations of one’s peers. It’s an insightful look, and well worth reading the full article!


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

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