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Self-publishing

‘Boom’ goes bust with Byliner
June 20, 2014 | 10:30 am

boomIn the New York Times, Tony Horwitz writes a cautionary tale about his travails with a small e-publisher called Byliner. a Kindle Singles publisher who’s shown up a few times in TeleRead. Horwitz had been asked by a new e-zine called The Global Mail to do a long-form work on the Keystone XL pipeline, to the tune of $15,000, plus $5,000 for expenses. So Horwitz traveled, did his research, and wrote a 40,000-word piece from the experience. As he was writing, the Global Mail informed him they had arranged a deal to co-publish with Byliner, who “thought we might...

Salon’s Laura Miller: Self-published authors should side with Hachette
June 18, 2014 | 8:08 am

And there goes Salon again with another ridiculous Amazon hit piece, this time with Laura Miller (she who’s Sworn Off Amazon And She Really Means It This Time) proclaiming that, if they know what’s good for them, self-published authors really should be cheering for Hachette rather than Amazon—because as long as the big publishers keep their prices high, it means more people are more likely to buy their cheaper, shoddier works. Well, okay, she doesn’t outright call them “shoddier,” but she suggests that editors-for-hire, for those writers who do hire them, aren’t likely to be as tough on a manuscript...

Violinist Lindsey Stirling’s success story is like those of self-publishers
June 11, 2014 | 7:47 am

lindsey-stirling-music-33545711-2560-1440A creative talent is told by the establishment that she’s “unmarketable,” but goes on to leverage social Internet media to become a new rising star. This is the success story of many self-publishing writers, but the phenomenon isn’t unique to writers. I ran across an article about “hip-hop violinist” Lindsey Stirling that put me in mind of just how much her career follows the same formula. Stirling made it to the quarterfinals of “America’s Got Talent,” but washed out, with judges telling her she “wasn’t good enough” for the style of performance she wanted to do. But after that,...

The Guardian names the winner of its first monthly self-published award
June 10, 2014 | 10:25 am

9146LOKgNIL._SL1500_The Guardian announced the first winner of its new monthly self-published book contest. The winner was “Dinosaurs and Prime Numbers,” a debut novel from Tom Moran. On Amazon, the book’s summary reads: “Enter the mind of Walton Cumberfield, an amateur gas and electricity meter-reader who is about to discover a cow that is independent of the space-time continuum. The debut novel by comedian and writer Tom Moran, Dinosaurs and Prime Numbers is like nothing else you'll ever read - beautifully bonkers and bizarrely brilliant. It has to be read to be believed.” But that doesn’t really say a lot about the book....

Editors should play nice with agents and authors, says Agent Orange
June 2, 2014 | 3:17 pm

Here’s a post on the Bookseller by the pseudonymous Agent Orange, a UK literary agent who I’ve cited in these pages before. He or she notes the overall decline in power of the agent—it used to be important for editors to stay on agents’ good sides so as to be sure the agent would show them the good stuff. But over the last few years, the market has changed, and suddenly agents are having a hard time selling even their best stuff. As the balance of power has shifted, so standards of behaviour have shifted. It...

Hachette vs. Amazon: Big publishers messed up, small publishers rejoice, investors beware, and ordinary people don’t care
June 2, 2014 | 1:08 pm

Late-night comedy hosts and political radio pundits love Presidential elections. No matter who wins, they’re guaranteed four more years of great material. I feel kind of the same way about the Amazon/Hachette spat currently going on. There are so many great articles coming out, and I am desperately trying to resist the temptation to blog them all! Let’s see here: the Minneapolis StarTribune has an interesting story about public reactions to the Amazon-Hachette spat at BookExpo. As might be expected, the reaction by the general public was generally positive toward Amazon and “Huh? Who’s that?” toward Hachette. Most attendees...

Publishers, Amazon, and competition: Three points of view
June 1, 2014 | 11:00 am

There’s a theme in the triad of Amazon/Hachette articles I found this morning, and the theme is…competition. First of all, here’s a rare op ed in favor of Amazon that originally appeared in CNN’s “Fortune” section. (Though it seems to have vanished from there; the link no longer works and the author reposted it on his own blog.) Len Sherman rebuts an earlier anti-Amazon piece by Adam Lashinsky and argues that Hachette’s background as an illegal colluder suggests it is more interested in keeping prices high, whereas Amazon wants to keep them lower for consumers. ...

Can publishers win if they dare?
May 31, 2014 | 12:29 pm

primematrixDare - dare to believe you can survive You hold the future in your hand Dare - dare to keep all of your dreams alive It's time to take a stand And you can win, if you dare —Stan Bush, “Dare” That seems to be the chorus that publisher advocates are singing these days: as publishers fight against the evil market-devouring Amazon much as the Transformers fought the evil world-devouring Unicron, the publishers...

ALLi launches Choosing a Self Publishing Service 2014 guide
May 27, 2014 | 7:28 pm

indie authorsThe UK's Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) has announced the launch of its Choosing A Self Publishing Service 2014 - "a comparison of twenty of the key self-publishing service players" - at this year's Book Expo America (BEA). According to the ALLi press materials, the new guide features "case studies, service analysis and the experiences of author-publishers and ALLi members," and "also shows author-publishers how they can make informed and empowered decisions about their publishing future, offering insight and impartial advice on key comparison points and criteria for selecting a service." Orna Ross, director of ALLI, said of the guide: "Many...

Hugh Howey gets behind self-publishing for literature
May 27, 2014 | 2:25 pm

Hugh Howey[caption id="attachment_94689" align="alignright" width="150"] Hugh Howey[/caption] Hugh Howey recently posted a thoughtful piece on the future contribution of self-publishing to literary fiction which seems to have sort of got lost amid all the excitement over his latest AuthorEarnings report and the Hachette/Amazon face-off. It's no surprise to see him come out in favor of self-publishing in no uncertain terms - to whit, "Self-publishing will save literary fiction ." But as alway's it's worth hearing his arguments. Howey takes issue with the alarmist talk of Philip Gwyn Jones, former books publisher of Granta, in The Bookseller that literary publishing is in crisis, and...

Author Earnings: More indie than Big Five debut authors can earn a living self-publishing
May 26, 2014 | 5:49 pm

indie-old-vs-new-pieHugh Howey’s Author Earnings has come out with that report I mentioned yesterday, on the implications of the data they’ve gathered for new and tenured authors, and boy is it a doozy. It’s overloaded with charts and statistics, and I’m sure I missed the full import of what they’re saying, but there were a few interesting facts to come out of the way they massaged the numbers. If the figures can be believed, Big Five publishers are earning most of their money out of established authors, either in long-tail backlist or new books by well-known writers. Only 37% of...

April Author Earnings report remains consistent with February report
May 25, 2014 | 3:20 pm

dailybestsellersLast week, Hugh Howey came out with another Author Earnings report. He’s got some interesting analysis of the figures, but perhaps the most interesting thing is how consistent the numbers are. The market share values only changed by a couple of percentage points from the February sample to the April sample (and generally did so in favor of indie publishers). Indie-published books represent 30% of overall daily unit sales, up from 27% in February. Big Five sales are down to 37% from 39%. In terms of daily revenue to authors from bestsellers, Big Five has held steady at...