Hugh Howey is a New York Times best-selling science fiction author and one of the most vocal proponents of self-publishing. His biggest hit, Wool, was published through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program and ballooned into a best-selling series that went on to win Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Book of 2012 Award. Wool has also been optioned by director Ridley Scott and appeared in print under Random House UK.
Howey, along with Data Guy, is also part of the team behind the Author Earnings reports, which present data on self-published titles through Amazon’s KDP program and inform the industry on how big of a role self-publishing plays in today’s book publishing landscape.
I spoke with Howey about a number of issues, including the role of traditional publishers today, what self-publishing can do better, and what he wants the industry to look like 10 years down the line.
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What’s the Missing Ingredient for Unlimited Reading Services? (Joe Wikert)
I’ve been a fan of unlimited e-reading services for at least a couple years now. When Oyster Books went under I shifted to Kindle Unlimited. For short-form magazine content I use Texture, the offering formerly known as Next Issue.
There’s No One Way to Sell an Ebook (PW)
As ebooks sales soften at the large trade houses, some independent digital (or mostly digital) publishers continue to see their e-book sales grow. Interviews with five independent publishers show a range of publishing practices with the ebooks they publish and highlight the ways in which they promote and market their lists. The publishers PW contacted include startup ventures Brown Girls Books and Polis Books, more mature ventures such as Open Road Integrated Media and Diversion Books, as well as Start Media, the acquisitions-driven media content firm, and its Start Publishing division.
The Case for Very Short Novels (PW)
I’ve never met a reader who doesn’t like short novels. Most people don’t buy books by weight. If you do, you’re reading the wrong article. For me, the opportunity to sit somewhere for two hours and read a book from start to finish–to submerge myself in it–is a thrilling experience. A short novel makes a straightforward demand: give me this time. There’s no room for phone calls, feeding the cat, helping kids with homework. You, the reader, are expected to do some work.
Related: How Are Books Changing?
Survey Finds Digital Content Used in 80% of Schools (DBW)
Digital content use in schools is no longer a new frontier, with more than 80 percent of schools and districts now using some form of digital content in the classroom. The use of digital content – including ebooks, audiobooks and digital textbooks – is a growing part of the curriculum in the classroom.
What I Love About Amazon Marketing Services for KDP Select (Chris McMullen)
My post will include both the benefits and challenges of using Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) to advertise KDP Select ebooks. I don’t intend for my title to imply that it will give instant success to all books. It won’t. I will begin with what I like about AMS—for which there is much—and then I will address some of the challenges and offer tips for attempting to use it effectively.
Startup Snapshot: Write Track (BookMachine)
Write Track is a creative activity tracker for anyone who aspires to write. People have said we’re a little like ‘Fitbit for writers’ because we take the same kind of goal-setting and tracking tech found in fitness trackers – and apply them to creative practice. Our ambition is to help anyone who wants to write improve their creative output and achieve their writing dreams.
How to Plan a Book Series for Indie Authors (BookWorks)
You may have been planning a book, and you may also know that the best route to increasing your book sales is by producing a number of books. So why not buckle down right at the beginning and outline your book series? That might sound a little ahead of the game, but if you have in mind a large enough overarching story – or in the case of nonfiction, enough material – then you’re better off figuring out up front how to organize it. Plenty of writers do.
Carlsen and Tolino Team Up to Scout for New Writers (Pub Perspectives)
Spanning the traditional vs. self-publishing divide, German publisher Carlsen and self-publishing platform Tolino Media will jointly host a writing content to recognize emerging talent.
Manga Is Back Thanks to New Generation of Bestsellers (PW)
When sales of manga began to slump back in the late 2000s, manga publishers and booksellers blamed the lack of new bestsellers. Where were the hits that would energize fans the way Naruto and Fruits Basket had earlier in the decade? It looks like those new books have finally arrived. Today there are three chart-topping manga series racking up sales around the world. Sales of backlist manga are also growing, and there’s another wave of potentially big-selling titles just a little bit further down the road.
Hachette Reaches New Deal with Perseus Books (NY Times)
The Hachette Book Group has reached an agreement to buy the Perseus Books Group’s publishing business, 18 months after its previous attempt to acquire the company fell through. The new agreement, which was announced on Tuesday, comes six months after Perseus, a large independent publisher, began looking for a buyer again after the first deal with Hachette collapsed. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Is It Time for India’s Book Market to Gain ‘Industry’ Status? (Pub Perspectives)
A potential 90-percent literacy rate meets 22 languages — 1,600 dialects and regional languages — in India. Where is its book market’s tipping point?