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Self-publishing

Douglas Preston decries Amazon tactics against Hachette authors (Updated)
July 3, 2014 | 4:25 am

Well, he’s at it again. Long-time TeleRead readers might remember Douglas Preston as the author who complained about readers’ “sense of entitlement” for wanting cheap e-books, only to backpedal rather hastily when the complaint sparked a reader backlash. Yesterday, Jeffrey Trachtenberg reported in the Wall Street Journal that Preston has been circulating an open letter among various authors complaining that Amazon has been unfairly targeting Hachette authors in its recent contract negotiations with their publisher. He has reportedly received support from a number of big names (including, predictably, James Patterson) and will be posting the letter to his...

Lisa Genova on Self-Publishing
June 25, 2014 | 8:14 pm

lisa genova still aliceI was a bit late to the party on Lisa Genova's 2009 best-seller [easyazon-link asin="B001NLKXK2" locale="us"]Still Alice[/easyazon-link]. But I finished it yesterday---devoured it over the course of a single day---and thoroughly enjoyed my experience. This was, for the most part, a polished and engrossing novel. Imagine my delight when I skimmed through the reading group guide and learned that it started out as a self-published book! As Genova explains it, she had begun work on her marketing plan even before the book came out. Since it deals with the subject of Alzheimer's Disease, she contacted the Alzheimer's Association with a link...

‘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...