Independent publishing has changed the way authors look at the industry, with many questioning whether it’s worthwhile to play the waiting game and pray for the payoff from a traditional publisher, or instead take their fate into their own hands.
There are clearly benefits and pitfalls to either choice. What authors need to seriously consider when they make this decision, though, is whether or not they are willing to put in the time and effort to make it work.
Indie publishing is a tough job. Authors aren’t just the ones who write the book. They also have to be savvy enough to hit the right target readers online. They have to build a strong online presence. They have to be able to commit a significant amount of time to finding creative ways to make the sale. And they also have to be willing to invest money in a good editor, ebook conversion service, and cover design, all of which combined can run in the area of $1,500. The reality of all the legwork and cost can be disenchanting.
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Amazon Leans on Government in Quest to Be a Delivery Powerhouse (NY Times)
Ever since Jeff Bezos started the website Amazon to sell books, he has wrestled with how to deliver its products as quickly and cheaply as possible. Today, Amazon, now a retail giant, remains obsessed with this issue, building its own fleet of drones, buying trailers for trucks and signing up drivers for on-demand deliveries.
What It’s Like to Score a Kindle Scout Book Deal (Jane Friedman)
I didn’t so much “get the call” as I got a text. It was almost a week after my Kindle Scout campaign had ended and I was waiting nervously for a final decision from the Kindle Press editors. For the past month, my new sci-fi book, The Proving, had been lingering on and off the Kindle Scout homepage, its eventual fate—publication by Kindle Press or not—squarely in the hands of visitors and interested readers.
Startup Snapshot: iAuthor (BookMachine)
Adam Kolczynski is best known for iAuthor, the London-based startup. In tackling the perennial problem of book discoverability, Kolczynski has straddled both ends of the publishing spectrum: first as an author, then as a publisher with Polybius Books. Here we interviewed him to catch-up with iAuthor developments.
Tell Me I’m Pretty (Gene Doucette)
Sometimes we just want someone to tell us we’re pretty. That’s the conclusion I’ve drawn after many conversations with different authors over the years regarding whether or not to self-publish. I’m talking about authors writing genre fiction, either with existing fan-bases (from fanfic or their indie books) or just starting from scratch. These are the writers who should be doing this themselves.
James Patterson Has a Big Plan for Small Books (NY Times)
But Mr. Patterson is after an even bigger audience. He wants to sell books to people who have abandoned reading for television, video games, movies and social media. So how do you sell books to somebody who doesn’t normally read? Mr. Patterson’s plan: make them shorter, cheaper, more plot-driven and more widely available.
Lingogo App Encourages Language Learning with Stories (DBW)
To learn the vocabulary and grammar of another language, many people try Duolingo. And to learn a new language with stories, many people are heading straight to Lingogo. Released in November 2015, Lingogo is a free app that contains stories written in multiple languages, allowing language learners to review vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation in context.
O’Reilly Media Introduces Tutorials Blending Text, Video, Code (DBW)
O’Reilly Media has debuted interactive online tutorials to bring more hands-on learning to consumers of its instructional technology books and online services. Called Oriole Online Tutorials, these lessons blend text and video with a platform to write and run computer code together to create “a narrated learning experience,” as described on O’Reilly’s website.
A Reconsideration of Children and Screen Time (NY Times)
The digital world is changing around us at a dizzying pace; parents want guidance, and pediatricians want to answer their questions with helpful and scientifically valid advice. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy on children and media is probably best known for two recommendations: to discourage any screen time for children under 2, and to limit screen time to two hours a day for older children.
Scholastic’s Summer Reading Challenge Includes Free Online Program (DBW)
Scholastic has launched its Summer Reading Challenge for this year, which encourages kids to read in the summertime. Themed “Be a Reading Superhero,” the campaign includes a free online summer reading program that “has generated more than one billion reading minutes for kids around the world since 2009,” according to a press release.
The University Press in the 21st Century (Pub Perspectives)
When delegates from nine US university presses joined their UK counterparts in Liverpool, new publishing models and strategic relationships came into focus.
Cuba and the Havana Book Fair: Forging New Bonds (Sourcebooks)
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of joining a group of American book professionals (booksellers, publishers, distributors) visiting the Havana Book Fair in Cuba as part of the first US Publishing Mission (created by Publishers Weekly, the Combined Book Exhibit and PubMatch). The Havana Book Fair is a giant open-air book festival that takes place annually in the Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana. There is music everywhere! Publishers exhibit in old prison cells (now turned into booths); authors launch new books and give talks to crowds of readers. It is a once-a-year opportunity to see the entire publishing market of Cuba in one place.