This Week in Indie Publishing


The Authors Who Love Amazon

TSERING TOPGYAL / AP
For most of Prime Day, Amazon’s annual sales bonanza, an unfamiliar face topped the site’s Author Rank page: Mike Omer, a 39-year-old Israeli computer engineer and self-published author whose profile picture is a candid shot of a young, blond man in sunglasses sitting on grass. He was—and at the time of this writing, still is—ranked above J.K. Rowling (No.8), James Patterson (No. 9), and Stephen King (No. 10) in sales of all his books on Amazon.com. His most recent book is ranked tenth on Amazon Charts, which Amazon launched after The New York Times stopped issuing e-book rankings, and which measures sales of individual books on Amazon. (The company does not disclose the metrics behind Author Rank, which is still in beta.)

Read the rest of this story HERE.


Amazon’s New ‘Buy For Others’ Kindle Feature Lets Authors Buy Giftable Ebooks

Amazon introduced a new Kindle feature on Wednesday: Termed “buy for others,” the feature lets users buy multiple copies of an ebook, allowing authors to purchase review copies for their fans.

The update, announced in a Wednesday email to Kindle Direct Publishing users and detailed in a page on KDP’s Help Topics, is explicitly aimed at authors who need to gift their books to others. Authors might need to throw social media giveaways, offer freebies at in-person events, or give newsletter subscribers a review copy. It’s a useful feature, given that marketing is an essential element for indie self-publishers.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


How to write your first novel, according to experts

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Everyone’s got a novel inside them, right? According to Richard Skinner, director of the fiction programme at the highly-esteemed Faber Academy, and author of one of several new books offering advice to aspiring novelists, while this may be true, “very few manage to arrange themselves and their lives well enough to get it out”.

Thank goodness for that, judging from the mountains of novels that do get written, mostly rather badly, which daily arrive at literary editors’ offices by the sackload. If ever there was a good reason to keep it inside you forever, a week spent watching how ruthlessly we dispatch books like so much waste paper should do the trick.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


The general publisher of tomorrow

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.

By general publisher I mean 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. Single-focus innovation is a beautiful thing, but doesn’t necessarily lend itself to longevity. The life span of an all-conquering tech giant is, what, 10-20 years these days. Compare that with the longevity of some general book publishers.

The question occupied me after spending a year consulting 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. I learned in the process about some truly brilliant specialist operations. But the impressions I came away with were really of fragmentation – a previously joined-up world of reading consumption fragmenting into different types of reading each best served by a different business model. Did it even make sense any more to yoke different areas together?

Large parts of what was reference book publishing, for example, are now quite simply better served to users in website form, with players from other sectors already having stolen that show. Genre fiction publishing, with its natural proclivity for series, is a hundred times better served by continuous reader-based marketing of the kind at which clued-up self-publishing authors are now able to excel, rather than the, let’s face it, one-time marketing push that traditional print routes to market encourage.

Read the rest of this story HERE.



Google launches a DRM-free audiobook store

A decade ago, when Amazon acquired Audible, the two companies promised that they’d phase out their DRM, which locked listeners into using their proprietary software and devices to enjoy the books they purchased. Audible never made good on that promise, and stonewalled press queries and industry requests about when, exactly, this fairtrade version of their industry-dominating audiobook store would finally emerge.

Read the rest of this story HERE.

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