This Week in Indie Publishing

Independent writers are choosing their own paths to success

Until recently, if you were a writer who had a novel or other work, there was essentially a single path to follow: you tried to find an agent who liked your writing, and who would be able to sell it to a publisher. The process could take months or years — assuming you were able to get on that merry-go-round at all.

David Gaughran, author of Let’s Get Digital and other books about self-publishing, tried that route when he wrote his first novel about 11 years ago. It was an exasperating experience.

“I spent about 18 months querying every agent that I could find in the English-language world and didn’t really get anywhere,” Gaughran says. He was frustrated enough that he thought about giving up. “But then I started looking at self-publishing.”

Read the rest of this story HERE.


Indie publishers hold hidden literary gems

Independent and self-publishing is all the rage these days. As someone interested in creative writing myself, I think it’s important to give time to other aspiring authors who’ve chosen to take their creative destinies into their own hands and publish their work themselves.

One particularly fascinating work that falls under this category is Treyvon Meursault’s “L’Appel Du Vide.” From the opening scenes of “L’Appel Du Vide,” readers might think this is a book that’s one of many in a series by Meursault. In fact, one would probably never imagine that this 250+ page epic ripe with expertly-set scenes, a distinguished cast of characters and a plot that challenges readers’ thinking much more so than your typical fantasy fic is actually Meursault’s debut novel.
The novel is immersive, and is based on the premise that following humanity’s emergence, those who’ve claimed themselves as gods after slaughtering their world’s former inhabitants find their authority threatened. Without relinquishing their dominion to the growing population of “pygmies” who now inhabit their land, life will cease to exist, unless these “gods” are able to find another life form to bear their burden. As a book that puts the reader in the center of the action, this is where you come in.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


How to promote your self-published novel

When self-publishing a novel, promotion is everything!

On the traditional publishing path, literary agents will provide numerous opportunities to raise awareness and your publisher will likely have well-traveled paths for advertising in place.

When you’re on your own, it’s up to you! Everything about promotion, the factor that will partly determine the success of your novel, is in your hands. That should sound both scary and exciting!

To make sure you can rest easier and enjoy the process as much as possible, we’re glad to provide help, insight, tips, and tricks on the topic of…

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Big Changes at BookBaby

n the world of self-publishing companies, there are more than a few scam outlets that steal not just authors’ hard-earned money, but also their hopes, aspirations, and even their reputations. Many of these companies have thankfully been thrown on the trash heap due to shady business practices, while some have even spent a good deal of time in court desperately trying to defend themselves (and failing) from fraud allegations.

So when a solid company with a good reputation and excellent customer service comes along, people tend to sit up and take notice. BookBaby is one such company, built from a 74-year-old business that has met the needs of independent creators all that time. But as first reported by The Digital Reader, big changes have been taking place at the outlet’s parent company, with new mergers, deals, splits, and more.

BookBaby is just one company within a much broader range of platforms. Several of the branches of this artistic family tree have been bought, namely, those that handle the music side of things.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


The Hefty Price of Predatory Publishing

The US Federal Trade Commission has won a $50.1 million court judgment against an India-based scientific publishing group and associated conference organizer for “unfair and deceptive practices.”

The judgment was filed late last week in the US District Court for the District of Nevada against OMICS Group, iMedPub, and Srinubabu Gedela, who runs the companies. The FTC brought its case against Omics Group and its affiliate in 2016, alleging violations of the FTC Act, which covers deceptive and unfair business practices. The judgment includes not only the hefty fine, but permanent injunctions against activities carried out by the firms from which they profited.

The 40-page ruling from the court lays out the many violations cited by the FTC in its filing, including OMICS Group making “numerous misrepresentations regarding the nature and reputation of their journals.” According to the FTC, its evidence suggests OMICS’s peer-review practices are a sham; the publisher used the names of scientists and researchers on its website as editorial board members, even though many of those people never agreed to be affiliated with OMICS Group; and the publisher self-calculated impact factors for its journals, among other deceptive practices.

Read the rest of this story HERE.

This Week in Indie Publishing

Plagiarism, ‘book-stuffing’, clickfarms … the rotten side of self-publishing

‘More, more, more, fast, fast, fast’ … there is an insatiable appetite for romance fiction by authors such as Nora Roberts.

Scams are rife, particularly when some authors can rake in thousands each month – but high-profile victims of plagiarism warn ‘day of reckoning is coming’

Nora Roberts is one of the world’s most popular authors. She’s written more than 200 novels, tackled topics from romance to murder and sold more than 500m books around the world. And now she’s really, really angry.

Roberts is one of dozens of authors who discovered last month that their work had been allegedly plagiarised by a Brazilian romance novelist called Cristiane Serruya. “Leisurely, he began to loosen her hair, working his fingers through it until it pooled over her shoulders. ‘I’ve wanted to do that since the first time I saw you. It’s hair to get lost in,’” runs Roberts’ novel Untamed. Serruya’s Forevermore has it that: “Leisurely, he began to loosen her hair, working his fingers through it until it pooled over her shoulders and cascaded down over her back. ‘I’ve wanted to do that since the first time I saw you.’”

Read the rest of this story HERE.


The book industry isn’t dead. That’s just an excuse to keep salaries low

A woman holding a stack of books

Poor working conditions for book editors are ingrained. It’s time for that to change – no matter how much we love our jobs.

Book editors love their jobs, perhaps more than the average worker. We work diligently with motivated and inspiring peers on projects we are proud of. You may not realise that every great book you’ve read has been through a rigorous editing process. If an editor’s job is done well, you won’t notice their hand in the final product – this is the invisible work behind each brilliant author, even (or perhaps especially) your favourites.

However, book lovers might be surprised to learn that the working conditions for many of those behind the scenes of book publishing are lagging behind other industries.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


Augmented Reality in Publishing: Makes Learning Interactive

AR Publication

Augmented Reality Technology is being superimposed on the physical world that adds creativity and learning. This is the foremost way to connect with users around the globe. AR solutions offer visualization of real-life scenarios.

It offered many methods to explore the diverse dimensions in a specific domain. Likewise, this is considered as the more relevant approach for publishers to connect to the readers. AR is also being used in corporate training as well as education. AR is considered as one of the engaging and entertaining technologies of all the time.

AR in the publication has become a suitable replacement to enhance the learning experience and offer more interactive. There are many publishers experimenting to integrate AR features solutions to enhance visual experiences.

Publishers are working for kid’s book to introduce AR-driven app that allows children to view the creature into their creative world. AR completely changes the way kids interact with the immersive content and real-world objects.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


Amazon Bans More Books by Respected Scholars

Amazon book banning

One suggestion for dealing with Amazon’s book-burning spree is to nationalize the company, which has a “monopoly in the digital public sphere,” and put Jeff Bezos on trial for treason.

By Dr. Kevin Barrett

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America—and American tradition—enshrines freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Nowhere is this more evident than in the book publishing industry. Historically, few books have been banned or restricted in America for any reason other than obscenity or indecency, and even those restrictions have largely collapsed. Since the mid-1960s, a book can only be banned if a reasonable person would consider it prurient, in violation of contemporary community standards, and completely devoid of literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

But since 2017 our tradition of freedom from book censorship has been annihilated. We are living through the worst-ever assault on the Bill of Rights. This crime is being committed by a monopoly in service to an organized crime syndicate. Amazon, under pressure from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and allied groups, has “kindled” the biggest book-burning bonfire ever. And the books Amazon is burning are not those brimming with obscenity. You can still buy the Marquis de Sade’s pornographic incitements to rape, torture, and murder, alongside thousands of similar abominations, on Amazon. What you can’t buy are scholarly books that carefully and dispassionately document facts that pose a threat to the continued reign of what certain hotheads have (not entirely inaccurately) called ZOG, the Zionist Occupation Government.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


How digital is the future of publishing books?

Some industries have feared the rise of digitalisation more than others. The book sector was particularly shocked when Amazon introduced the first Kindle in 2007 and started into a new era of digital books. Publishers felt the need to protect printed sales and would often hold back on digital publishing for a few weeks to give their paper editions a “fighting chance.”

12 years on, and the world of publishing has not changed as much as many might have thought. E-book sales have settled at a solid 20 percent of the market, a share that has remained roughly constant since 2015. Far from competing with one another, the printed and digital markets seem to happily coexist side by side.

Publishing has become digital

But not only have books become digital, book production has also moved with the times. The digital age has made publishing easier, particularly for individual manufacturers who have special needs when it comes to material planning. From 2009 to 2015 the number of independent booksellers in the US increased by 35 percent, according to the American Booksellers Association. But how were they able to survive whilst big players like Amazon pushed the Kindle?

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This Week in Indie Publishing

After years of writing, woman publishes 1st novel at 95


Delana Jensen Close was recently honored for a book that she finished last year at age 95.

In 1955, Delana Jensen Close began to write a book.

It’s finished now; it just took 63 years.

Close, who turned 96 in February, published her debut novel, “The Rock House,” last year, complete with a book signing at Senior Star at Dublin Retirement Village, where she is a resident. And recently, the book won an award for best historical fiction from the 2019 Independent Book Awards.

While Close hopes this isn’t her last book – two other novels are underway – she is relieved that her decades-long project is finished.

“It had to come out,” Close said, comparing the excitement of holding the first author’s copy to having a child. In the days after it was published, she literally treated it that way – carrying the book around in a basket with a baby blanket.

The 806-page book, a romance novel, was inspired by Close’s hometown of Emery, Utah, a mountain town of less than 700 people with no library and no bookstore. As Close grew up, her love of reading, which fueled her love of writing, was powered by the Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalogue.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


Trump era proves a boom time for political publishing

Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury was an early pacesetter of the trend for books on US politics, selling 5 million copies to date.

After two years in office Donald Trump has finally taught book publishers what cable news and the newsprint industry already knew: political journalism is great business and such a huge moneymaker that it may be eating into other publishing genres.

More than a dozen booksabout Trump’s Washington are due, many from well-known writers paid advances in the region of a million dollars. Subsets include five about or involving the supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh and, last week in the US, Kushner, Inc., a study of Jared and Ivanka Kushner by the Anglo-US writer Vicky Ward.

Others on the way include The Enemy of the People, coming on 11 June from CNN’s correspondent and Trump bete noire Jim Acosta; American Carnage, about the recent evolution of the Republican party; and Border Wars, about Trump’s ability to manipulate fear of outsiders to promote his agenda. They will stand alongside Matriarch, about Barbara Bush and Insurgency, about how Steve Bannon and other rightwing media figures paved the way for Trump.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


Does the publishing world discriminate? Colorado Springs women worry

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Jean Alfieri took a break from her HR job to attend a writer’s workshop along California’s beautiful central coast, where she and others were asked to imagine the life they wanted. Alfieri knew, but she felt embarrassed to say.

“I want to be sitting in my pajamas at my kitchen table with a hot cup of coffee and old dogs around me,” she says now, nine years after that retreat. She smiles. “And look what I’ve got.”

She spent 2018 living the life she always wanted before rent and bills and other forms of reality forced her into the corporate world. Now she has swapped the office for her Colorado Springs home, where she’s writing children’s stories alongside her canine companions. She has self-published illustrated books of poems about Zuggy the pug, based on a real-life friend, cute and quirky and mischievous.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


After Activist Pressure, Amazon Purges Dozens of Far-Right Books

The Amazon logo displayed on the side of a glass building

The overwhelming size of Amazon’s distribution sphere is known for its ability to suppress the prices of the media it sells and to crush a diversity of sellers, but the advantage for small publishers is that it sells just about everything.

As a central purchasing hub, it is relatively easy to get books sold on Amazon, allowing tiny publishing operations to have essentially the same distribution platform as Random House, not to mention self-publishing options like CreateSpace. This has also given Amazon enormous power to determine what is available: If a book isn’t sold at Amazon, does it really even exist?

Greg Johnson, editor-in-chief of the white nationalist publishing house Counter-Currents, was forced to ponder this on February 24, when Amazon removed his publishing house’s most-sold book, The White Nationalist Manifesto. Counter-Currents had been founded by Johnson to give legitimacy to Johnson’s white nationalist movement, as well as to give him a job when he quit as web editor for the white nationalist journal The Occidental Observer. Counter-Currents would try to mimic the success that Verso Books had on the left, and he aspired to be the fascist equivalent by publishing extreme books on philosophic, spiritual and literary subjects.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


What You Should Do With Your Worthless, Used Books

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“Please forgive the morbidity, but if you’re lucky enough to still have one or more parents or stepparents alive, it would be wise to start figuring out what you’ll do with their furniture, china, crystal, flatware, jewelry, artwork and tchotchkes when the mournful time comes,” wrote Richard Eisenberg in a helpful post addressed to Americans in their 50s and 60s.

The title: “Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff.”  Eisenberg, a fellow Forbes contributor, told the nightmare of unloading the “prized possessions” of his recently deceased 94-year-old father.

Another category that will exhaust your time and patience is books. In a previous post, Are Your Used Books Worth Anything?, I reported from an appraisal event at the recent Antiquarian Book Fair in Manhattan. One expert put the odds of finding a treasure in your home at one in a thousand.

Read the rest of this story HERE.

This Week in Indie Publishing

Want to Turn Your Comic Book Idea Into a Million-Dollar Business? Here’s the First Step

Comic books are kind of a big deal these days. Total revenue for the comic book publishing industry in 2018 was estimated to be $865 million, and that’s not counting peripheral sources of income from merchandise, or high-profile movie deals. I probably don’t even need to tell you that half of the top 10 grossing films of 2018 were based on comic books, and 2019 is already on the same track for comic-related film popularity (with no real end in sight).

That said, the average comic book fan or aspiring artist may not have much faith that their nerdy pastime could be worth millions of dollars. After all, it’s challenging breaking into an already-saturated industry, especially if you don’t have much experience. But if you think about your hobby as a business, and you’re willing to invest in your personal success, you could transform your passion for comic books into an institution capable of earning you a slice of that $865-million pie.

During the week of SXSW, my attention is particularly drawn to the sheer number of amazing comic book media companies out there, and just how possible it is for someone with a great idea and an entrepreneurial spirit to become successful in that space.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


Our love affair with ebooks is over

Digital books were once heralded as being a replacement for print and everyone in the bookselling and publishing industry were scared. It looks like our love affair with ebooks is over, primarily due to stagnant sales and a resurgence of print.

Independent bookstores are the places where you drop in for the latest paperback, listen to a reading from a favorite author or find a unique gift for a unique friend. And they’re thriving. According to the American Booksellers Association, its membership grew for the ninth year in a row in 2018, with stores operating in more than 2,400 locations. Not only that, sales at independent bookstores are up 5% over 2017.

Meanwhile, sales for ebooks are completely stagnant. Ebook sales have slipped by 3.6% in 2018 and generated over $1 billion dollars. This is a far cry from 2015 when the format made over $2.84 billion dollars. Meanwhile hardback and paperback book sales grew by 6.2 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. Revenue for trade book publishers was $7.49 billion in 2018, an increase of $341.5 million (4.6%) compared to 2017, according to the StatShot Monthly report from the Association of American Publishers. Each of the trade book categories – Adult Books, Children’s/Young Adult and Religious Presses – saw revenue growth. Revenue for trade books includes sales to bookstores, wholesalers, direct to consumer and online retailers

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The top 10 books on Apple’s iBooks-US

iBook charts for week ending March 10, 2019: (Rank, Book Title by Author Name, ISBN, Publisher :

iBooks US Bestseller List – Paid Books

1. Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis – 9781400209613 – (HarperCollins Leadership)

2. Cemetery Road by Greg Iles – 9780062824639 – (William Morrow)

3. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – 9780735219113 – (Penguin Publishing Group)

4. The Malta Exchange by Steve Berry – 9781250140272 – (St. Martin’s Press)

5. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – 9781250301710 – (Celadon Books)

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10 Tips for Entrepreneurs Preparing to Publish Their First Book

Preparing to Publish Your First Book

With the continuing development of online publishing platforms, it’s never been easier to get your book out to the wider world. However, the actual publication is only one part of a much-longer process: You still need to write, edit and promote your book, each part of which can present a significant number of challenges. To find out more, we asked a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members the following question:

“What is the most important thing for entrepreneurs to remember when they are preparing to publish their first book?”

Read the rest of this story HERE.


The rise of young adult books with LGBTQ characters — and what’s next

Erica Cameron is the author of the "Assassins" and "The Dream War Saga" series.

Erica Cameron is the author of the “Assassins” and “The Dream War Saga” series.Lani WoodlandMarch 10, 2019, 3:05 PM EDTBy Gwen Aviles

When Amy Rose Capetta started writing her young adult novel “Echo After Echo,” she wasn’t sure if it would be embraced by the publishing industry.

Though she had already published two books, “Echo After Echo” was different: The mystery, set on Broadway in New York, features a romance between two teenage girls. As she searched for a publisher, Capetta, 34, said she was never explicitly told to tone down her characters’ sexuality, but she did wonder if editors who said they were “not able to connect” with the characters were really saying that the same-sex relationship might not appeal to straight readers.

“I wrote ‘Echo After Echo’ in breathless fear that I was tanking the career I’d been dreaming of and working toward,” she said. “That story took three years, which is a long time to be breathless.”

Read the rest of this story HERE.

This Week in Indie Publishing

New Platform Connects Self-Published Authors With Readers

Elaine Pofeldt
Elaine Pofeldt Contributor

It’s not easy to promote a book, and for self-published authors on a tight budget, it can be especially challenging.

Reedsy —a U.K.-based publishing startup that connects authors with editors, designers and marketers who can help them with their projects—has announced a new service to help them called Reedsy Discovery. Reedsy Discovery, which launched today, will let readers know about books its expert reviewers have recommended every week. Those who join are able to look through curated “bookshelves,” preview chapters and connect with other readers. Reedsy Discovery will also issue a weekly newsletter of top books in popular genres and books curated by trusted reviewers. It will also offer a leaderboard where readers can vote on their favorite titles.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


Is Book Database TaleFlicks Authors’ Best Path To A Film Or TV Deal?

In the era of Peak TV, a mind-boggling number of TV shows and films are being produced across a huge variety of platforms. Netflix alone released over 700 original TV shows and movies last year at a cost of $12.04 billion, and they’re still going strong, aiming to grow their content budget to $17.8 billion in 2020. Books are a great source of the IP producers need to create their new shows, so it stands to reason that everyone from Wattpad to traditional publishing companies are looking for ways to get in on the profitable book-to-film-slash-TV pipeline.

The book database startup Taleflick aims to fill that need: Launched in August 2018, the service provides a searchable library of fiction, novels and short stories alike, for the purpose of connecting authors with film or TV producers. TaleFlick charges authors $88 per title per year for the service, however, raising the question of what makes this database appealing to producers. What makes it go beyond a pay-to-play collection of the authors most desperate to see their work on screen rather than more deserving authors? Extra curation is the answer, according to CEO Uri Singer, who explains more about what makes TaleFlick more than just a database: “Original content is evaluated for best on-screen potential. The best content is curated for studios and producers. The content providers will have access to service providers to increase their on-screen potential.”

Read the rest of this story HERE.


How you can write, monetize & publish your first novel

No matter what your background or cultural backstory is, it’s highly likely you have some kind of tradition of storytelling. Part of the human experience is the desire to communicate it through stories — so it’s highly likely you’ve got some kind of tale brewing inside your mind. Learn how you can become a professional writer, self-publish your own eBook and monetize your story with this eBook Self-Publishing Bundle. It includes twelve courses and acts as a comprehensive guide to getting you practicing your craft, executing it and finally, monetizing it enough to let it act as a form of passive income or even a full-fledged career transition.

First, you’ll learn the mechanics of writing, including how to get your story idea off the ground. Discover exercises and writing prompts to help you get the practice you need and how to be a more productive writer strategically by tapping into new content ideas. These courses cover everything you need to get you to start putting a pen to paper (or help you start typing away) by helping you understand where to harvest ideas, how to explore plot points, how to develop a consistent writing schedule and even learn grammar and style tips to develop your own unique voice.

Check out the rest of this story HERE.


Indie Sci-Fi Authors Are Upending Traditional Publishing, And It’s Turned Into A War

It was only a matter of time before extreme leftist science fiction professionals aimed their fire at the independent author group 20BooksTo50K, a community dedicated to helping authors with the business of writing. The Facebook group boasts more than 28,500 members, and their annual conference is the largest independent writing conference in the world.

The book industry establishment is identity politics-obsessed, an angry brigade who seized control of the traditional publishing industry years ago. Publishers and editors berate independent authors regularly via blogs and social media, such as Tor Books’ Teresa Nielsen Hayden rambling on Twitter about how an independent No. 1 bestseller on Amazon is “not a bestselling author by any definition of the term used by readers and booksellers,” or the president of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), Cat Rambo, calling a sci-fi blog post cheering on independent self-publishing “egregiously stupid” in the comments of sci-fi gossip site File 770.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


535 viewsMar 4, 2019, 09:01am

3 Big Trends In 2019 Indie Books, According To Publishing Startup Reedsy’s CEO

Publishing startup Reedsy wants to surface the next hit indie book. It’s launching a new service today, Reedsy Discovery, aimed at promoting only independently published books. Users who join it will be able to connect with a similar-minded reading community, previewing chapters and browsing recommendations.

The service will have a huge pool to draw from: A little over one million titles were independently published in the U.S. in 2017, compared to the traditionally published 300,000 titles. Granted, the number of undiscovered winners in that million is likely pretty low. With Discovery, Reedsy is betting a mix of human curation and machine learning algorithms can pick out the biggest gems while supporting a more welcoming community than that of, say, Amazon’s automatic recommendation emails. 

Read the rest of this story HERE.

This Week in Indie Publishing

Amazon makes it easy to buy the wrong version of your favorite book

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  • Anyone can publish text that’s in the public domain, meaning there are plenty of bizarrely formatted versions of classic novels out there.
  • Amazon conflates the reviews for multiple editions of a title, making it difficult to tell what you’re actually buying.
  • One customer’s story of getting a bizarrely-formatted version of “Pride and Prejudice” led me to track down the copy’s origins — and publish my own edition of a classic book using Amazon’s tools.

Danielle Kurtzleben wanted a copy of “Pride and Prejudice,” so she went on Amazon and clicked on one of the first links that came up in the search results. When the book arrived in her mailbox, there was a surprise.

First of all, it was huge — the size of a children’s coloring book, not like a typical paperback novel. Things only got weirder from there.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


Make Big Money Writing Fiction

Recently my friend Charlie Martin wrote a post about how ebooks are a complete game changer for publishing, a fact that traditional publishers are still bent on denying.

In fact, for the last several years, even as traditional publishers see their business hollowed out and dropping, instead of confronting reality they’ve amused themselves with facile lies, not just about ebooks but also about indie publishing in general.

Recently a well-known publisher insisted that it’s impossible that the fall in publishing income is due to competition from indies since all the reporting services insist all the bestsellers are still traditional. Obviously, this publisher never considered that most indies don’t have ISBNs and that the reporting services don’t track Amazon, two reasons for the supposed discrepancy.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


The Best Books of 2019 (So Far)

Yes, the year has only just begun, but it’s never too early to take stock of the books that have already made an impression on us. In short order, 2019 has presented us with a wide range of people, places, and stories: a small-town New England candlepin bowling alley across multiple generations; the under-covered world of West African espionage, the revelatory daily rounds of an exceptionally wry cleaning lady. We’ll update this list as the year continues, but if you’re looking for something new to read right now, you couldn’t do better than the best books of 2019 so far.

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The 5 Funniest Books Ever

We asked comedy greats to name the five works in their fields that influenced them the most and made them laugh the hardest. Few authors are better suited to thrive in our fast-paced and distractible moment than Samantha Irby, who blogs, hosts live shows, and writes in print (including the bestselling essay collection We Are Never Meeting in Real Life) and for television (the upcoming comedy Shrill, which arrives on Hulu March 15). Across every medium, Irby combines an unflinching honesty about her own physical and psychological struggles with an unfettered joy.

Read the rest of this story HERE.


24 Books That Will Help You Face A New Beginning

Last month, we asked BuzzFeed Book Club members to share their favorite books about second chances or new beginnings, in honor of our February selection, Sugar Run by Mesha Maren. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

A man named Milo has only five chances left (having already lived 9,995 lives) to solve the puzzle that is existence and earn a spot in the “cosmic soul.” But all he really wants is to spend more time with the love of his many lives — Death herself.

“Michael Poore’s Reincarnation Blues is one I recently read and enjoyed which had a ‘new beginnings’ theme — albeit with about 10,000 do-overs instead of just one ‘second chance.'” —Andy Barnes

Read the rest of this story HERE.

This Week in Indie Publishing

Is the Dream of a Traditional Book Deal Dead?

There was a time when self-publishing your book through a vanity press was the kiss of death for any hope of a writing career. It was considered tacky and desperate, and not something any worthwhile author would ever consider. Then, with the self-publishing and digital publishing revolution, the notion of having more control over your work trumped much of the negativity surrounding the air of “desperation.”

Eventually, self-publishing gained even more respect. Going indie for one title was a good way to earn some income while querying your other works; but that notion evolved even further to self-publishing your books only to have their sales figures and reader response prompt a traditional publisher to make an offer.

That idea has been received two different ways. Amanda Hocking, one of the first authors to sell a million self-published copies of her ebooks, took a traditional publishing deal and had a very plausible reason: let someone else be the businessman so she could focus on the writing. On the other hand, bestselling author Hugh Howey is famous for his attitude towards traditional publishing. When he was offered contracts for the print-only rights to his bestselling Wool series, his reply was akin to, “How much are you going to pay me to tell people that you published my book?”

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DON’T ASK: 10 QUESTIONS AUTHORS HATE TO ANSWER

Next time you hit up an author event, here are 10 questions not to ask the author. author events | questions for author events | author event etiquette

Between writing workshops, interviews, bookstore events, school visits, social media, and other talks, authors often find themselves answering a lot of questions. Some of those questions, they hate to hear come out of someone’s mouth. Like, hate.

Since authors are constantly promoting themselves and need all the goodwill they can get, they’ll almost never say it and try very hard not to show it. They’ll just gripe about it with their writer friends later. And they’ll definitely tell me when I ask for an article and offer anonymity.

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Why We Write: An Interview With Best-Selling Author Steven James

I was twelve when I discovered I loved to read. It was night, and I was at a Books-A-Million with my mom, who was willing to buy me a book. I went to the Christian fiction section and searched the shelves, hoping I would find something interesting. What I stumbled upon was a book titled The Pawn by Steven James. It was a crime novel about an FBI agent named Patrick Bowers. I took it home and had fifty pages read before it was time for bed. That book was what made me fall in love with reading, that and the books that followed it in the series.

Throughout high school I played sports—mainly basketball—but when I wasn’t playing for my school, I was reading books. I read whatever I could get my hands on, whatever I thought was good—which meant I read a lot of Steven James and Stephen King books, along with some various other authors. It wasn’t until tenth grade that I wrote my first short story. In my English class, the teacher told us we could write a short story and turn it in for a grade. I loved to read, and so I thought I’d give writing a try. I ended up turning in a ten-page short story about time travel. I thought it was pretty good, but looking back at it now, I know that it might have been the worst short story ever written. That’s fine, however, because sitting down to write that short story somehow got me where I am now: a creative writing student at Union University.

There is a quote from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger that I love: “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” No, that doesn’t happen much. But I feel like Steven James is the type of author you can contact once you finish reading one of his books. His books are what made me fall in love with reading, and so I reached out to him and asked him if he would be willing for me to interview him. What follows is all because of the willingness of James to connect with his fan base.

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5 Books That Will Change The Way You Think About Self-Promotion

As I’ve been researching all the propaganda artists, cult leaders, promoters, mischief makers, and boundaries breakers I write about in Forbes.com, I’ve become increasingly convinced it’s possible for anyone to master the tactics they use in a way that helps people rather than harming them. I continually see that the same overarching strategies deployed by people like Mussolini and the founder of the Moonies have more in common than not with those used by Steve Jobs, Oprah, and Mother Teresa. The difference is in the details of their messages…not in the means by which they spread them.

With all this in mind, let me start you out with a few books that will get you well on your way to becoming an infinitely more effective missionary for your own message (or product or business or cause). Just promise me you’ll use what you learn for good, not evil.

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How to Read 80ish Books a Year (And Actually Remember Them)

A man holding books and balancing a stack of books on his head

Reading is a skill that once you’ve learned, you probably don’t spend much time trying to get better at. (Not all that different from, say, breathing.) And yet, many of us don’t have to look far to see signs that there’s plenty of room for improvement. We only read at the end of the day—and only for the three minutes between cracking open a book and falling asleep. We’re halfway through about nine books. And our bookshelves are littered with titles that we remember reading but don’t exactly remember anything about.

Shane Parrish is not one of us. He cannot afford to read at a lackluster level. His site Farnam Street has become immensely popular largely because of his ability to mine a deep library for ideas that will help “you develop an understanding of how the world really works, make better decisions, and live a better life.” What does that mean? It means plumbing the roughly 4000 books in his office to aggregate ideas into posts like 109 mental modelsThe Feynman Technique: The Best Way to Learn Anything, and The Munger Operating System: How to Live a Life That Really Works. (His list of annual recommended reads usually lands somewhere around 80 books.)

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