Self-Publishing Movement Continues Strong Growth in the U.S.

self publishingThe independent publishing market is growing rapidly according to a report recently released by Bowker, a provider of bibliographic information management solutions designed to help publishers, booksellers, and libraries better serve their customers. The report says that the number of self-published titles in 2012 jumped to more than 391,000, up 59% over 2011 and 422% over 2007. Additionally, ebooks are growing quickly in popularity; 40% of books that were self-published in 2012 were ebooks, up from just 11% in 2007. The report is based on an analysis of U.S. ISBN data.

One of the most interesting trends that can be gleaned from this report is the shift going on in the publishing market. “The most successful self-publishers don’t view themselves as writers only, but as business owners,” said Beat Barblan, Bowker Director of Identifier Services. “They invest in their businesses, hiring experts to fill skill gaps and that’s building a thriving new service infrastructure in publishing.” The analysis shows the growing prominence of a handful of companies that offer publishing services to individual authors.

Bowker’s research on self-publishing includes surveys of authors that provide insight into where the market is going and services required by these writers. Those who intend to self-publish most often plan to bring fiction to market, followed by inspirational or spiritual works, books for children and biographies. The majority cite finding a traditional publisher as an obstacle. They also feel challenged by marketing – a hurdle that becomes bigger with increasing numbers of books in the market.

Click here to download your free copy of the “Top 10 Questions You Should Ask Your Publisher”! In this guide, we provide tips to help you make the right decision in regard to the publisher with which you choose to work. Please fill in the form on our website and your download will be immediately available!

We’re also currently offering a great promotion to authors who are thinking about self-publishing. To receive your free 45-minute consultation, send us a one-paragraph book synopsis, a brief author bio, a list of comparable titles, and the first three chapters of your manuscript. SDP Publishing Solutions will review and set up a time to talk with you to provide direction and recommendations on what you need to do to publish your book and get it on the market!

SDP Publishing Solutions, LLC (formerly Sweet Dreams Publishing of Massachusetts) offers optimal self-publishing solutions for authors worldwide. From literary agency representation to worldwide marketing – including international rights – and independent publishing, we provide the best solutions for authors. Our services include developmental editing and copy editing, custom cover design and layout, book marketing, query letter and book proposals, literary agency representation, print and e-book development. We provide the best exposure for your book!

Guy Kawasaki’s Artisanal Publishing and How It’s Changing Publishing

You’ve probably all heard of Guy Kawasaki, the Silicon Valley author, speaker, investor, and business advisor. If you haven’t – especially if you’re interested in self-publishing – you need to know who he is. After some bad experiences working with traditional publishers on a few books, Kawasaki self-published his book, What the Plus, which is when the term “artisanal publishing” was born. Artisanal Publishing refers to “writers who love their craft, and who control every aspect of the process from beginning to end. In this new approach, writers are no longer at the mercy of large, traditional publishers, and readers will have more books to read.”

The self-publishing process proved more challenging than he expected, and he learned a number of lessons throughout the process, which led him to self-publish APE: How to Publish a Book—all about the positives and the “pain and trauma” of being an indie author. APE stands for Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur.

According to Kawasaki, when a self-publisher successfully fills three roles—author, publisher, and entrepreneur—the potential benefits are greater than with traditional publishing. And while Kawasaki may now be a self-publishing convert, he has talked about both the pros and cons of going the route of self-publishing.

On the pro side, he cites editorial, sales, and marketing control; quicker time to market; and increased royalties. “APE sells for $9.99 as a Kindle e-book and we make $7,” he said. “And that is remarkable. That is like four times traditionally published…These are good numbers.” The drawbacks, Kawasaki said, include no advance, increased responsibility for all aspects of the publishing process, and loneliness.

In offering up his top 10 tips for self-published authors, Kawasaki urges writers to:

  1. Write for the Right Reasons: He cited writing to enrich people’s lives, furthering a cause, or meeting an intellectual challenge.
  2. Use the Right Tools: He suggests a number of different pieces of software, such as Word and InDesign, but the bottom line is that you need to make sure they are the right tools for your work and process.
  3. Write Every Day
  4. Build Your Marketing Platform
  5. Start with a Kindle E-Book: “When all the dust settles, for us, Amazon is about 85% to 90% of the action,” Kawasaki said. “There’s all these other platforms, but if you can make it with Kindle you’ve got it made….If you make it on Kindle the rest is cream.”
  6. Tap the Crowd: With APE, Kawasaki asked his social media followers to critique his book outline, finished manuscript, and the final PDF of the book. “It really improved the book,” he said. “The crowd really helped me…It probably doubled the quality of APE. It was truly a great experience.”
  7. Hire a Copy Editor
  8. Hire a Cover Designer
  9. Test Your E-Book: Kawasaki urged writers to test the readability of their e-book on all platforms, devices, and operating systems.
  10. Never Give Up

These are all great pieces of advice! As overwhelming as it was for Guy just starting out as a self-published author, you can see from his list that it helps to have a professional team behind you every step of the way.  We will be discussing some of them at more length in future blog posts.

At SDP Publishing, like Guy Kawasaki, we treat each book as its own independent business. Authors retain 100% of their rights, enjoying generous royalties while going through the process step-by-step with our team. Independent publishing means your name is the brand and your book is the product. As we’ve talked about in the past, publishing a book on your own can be a long, lonely road, which is why it can be helpful to for writers build a team to help them succeed in self-publishing.

To receive your free 45-minute consultation, send us a one-paragraph book synopsis, a brief author bio, a list of comparable titles, and the first three chapters of your manuscript. SDP Publishing Solutions will review and set up time to talk with you to provide direction and recommendations on what you need to do to publish your book and get it on the market!

SDP Publishing Solutions, LLC (formerly Sweet Dreams Publishing of Massachusetts) offers optimal self-publishing solutions for authors worldwide. From literary agency representation to worldwide marketing – including international rights – and independent publishing, we provide the best solutions for authors. Our services include developmental editing and copy editing, custom cover design and layout, book marketing, query letter and book proposals, literary agency representation, print and e-book development. We provide the best exposure for your book!

Indie Publishing Success Stories and How You Can Achieve Success

Hello Fellow Authors!

I recently came back from a wonderful conference in Hyannis, MA. The Cape Cod Writer’s Center organized a fabulous conference all about indie publishing and how easy it can be to get your name out there and get recognized. As a speaker at the conference, I reminded the participants about some now famous authors who started out self-publishing their own e-books. They created a brand for themselves by using social media marketing and focusing on their local and regional areas.

Take a look at some of these indie publishing success stories:

Vince Flynn, best-selling author of political thriller novels, such as Term Limits, Transfer of Power, and Separation of Power. His manuscript was rejected 60 times, so he self-published Term Limits. He had a great story, skilled writing, and an effective marketing plan. Next thing you know, Pocket Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) offered him a very sweet publishing deal. But they never would have picked him up if he hadn’t already demonstrated success by publishing on his own.

Darcy Chan was an unknown writer, and after keeping her manuscript on her hard drive for years, discovered the possibilities of e-books. She called it her “e-book experiment.” She uploaded The Mill River Recluse to Amazon’s Kindle Store, set up a website and a Facebook author page, and opened up a Twitter account. She kept the price of the e-book very low, and started looking around for places to advertise that were affordable but highly targeted toward readers of e-books, such as websites and blogs of people who review e-books. She sold 100 books, saved the profits, and rolled it into getting a paid review by Kirkus Reviews. The review was extremely positive. She used it to its fullest extent and the review went viral. Next thing you know, Ballantine Books was very interested in her. She signed a deal with them to write two more books in a series.

There’s more to her story and others, so I encourage you all to Google them to see their personal success stories.

Amanda Hocking is the author of the Trylle Trilogy. This young girl has been writing literary fiction since she was 17. At age 26, she was unable to find a publisher, so she self-published an e-book. With the right marketing mix and a really good story that targeted young adults so precisely, she sold 1.5 million copies on her own. St. Martin’s Press noticed and signed her to a deal reportedly worth over $2 million in 2011, and it is now optioned for two films.

The infamous EL James and the 50 Shades Trilogy. It was first released as an e-book and print-on-demand paperback in May 2011 through a virtual publisher in Australia. Mother’s reading groups were formed all over the world, but one particular group was based out of NY. A friend of this group happened to be an editor for one of the big publishing houses. The book became the subject of a bidding war and Vintage books, the imprint of Random House, won the bid.

Fifteen e-books with self-publishing origins are in Amazon’s Kindle top 100 overall for 2012. Check out these articles for information about best selling self-published e-books:

Smashwords Top-10 Best Selling Self-Published E-books

The Bestselling Self-Published Kindle Books of 2012

Self-Published Title Hits No. 1 on Ebook Best-Seller List for First Time

Self-Published Bestsellers

Self-Publishing Success Stories: The Anatomy of a Kindle Bestseller

If you think literary agencies and traditional publishers do not take a serious look at these, think again! I encourage all of my authors to get as much exposure for their book as they can. One of the biggest boosts to help brand an author and his/her book is to obtain as many professional reviews and book awards as possible. Then try and post it to every social media site you can, all with direct links to the book on Amazon or BN.com. If sales increase as a result, and the book gets higher up on Amazon’s list, traditional publishers and literary agents will take notice.

This is how all of the self-published authors who went on to sign big book deals with traditional publishers made it. Of course, you have to have great content that sells to a particular niche reader. Once an author can hone in on his or her readership, that is the first key to success. To learn more about how to achieve success with indie publishing, contact SDP Publishing.

SDP Publishing Solutions, LLC (formerly Sweet Dreams Publishing of Massachusetts) offers optimal publishing solutions for authors worldwide. From literary agency representation to worldwide marketing – including international rights – and independent publishing, we provide the best solutions for authors. Our services include developmental editing and copyediting, custom cover design and layout, book marketing, query letter and book proposals, literary agency representation, print and e-book development. We provide the best exposure for your book!

Calling Independent Authors! The 21st Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards

We’ve talked a lot about how important it is to garner professional reviews to maximize exposure for your book, so we’d like to let you know about this great opportunity to do just that –The 21st Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards!

Whether you’re a professional writer, a part-time freelancer or a self-starting student, here’s your chance to enter the premier self-published competition exclusively for self-published books. Writer’s Digest hosts the 21st annual self-published competition – the Annual Self-Published Book Awards. This self-published competition spotlights today’s self-published works and honors self-published authors.

Early Bird Deadline: April 1, 2013

Some of the benefits include:

  • A chance to win $3,000 in cash
  • Get national exposure for your work
  • Catch the attention of prospective editors and publishers
  • A paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City!

You can enter your book into one or more of these categories:

  • Mainstream/Literary Fiction
  • Genre Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Inspirational (Spiritual, New Age)
  • Life Stories (Biographies, Autobiographies, Family Histories, Memoirs)
  • Children’s/Picture Books
  • Middle-Grade/Young Adult Books
  • Reference Books (Directories, Encyclopedias, Guide Books)
  • Poetry

One Grand Prize Winner will receive:

  • $3,000 cash and a trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City
  • A priceless endorsement for their book from the Writer’s Digest Editors-10 copies of their book for submission to major publishing review houses
  • A one-year membership for Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), the largest not-for-profit trade association representing more than 3,000 independent book publishers, courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC
  • Guaranteed acceptance in a special sales catalog and national representation through 1,800 salespeople who sell to non-bookstore markets, courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC
  • A one-year membership to Author-U, courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC
  • A copy of Show Me About Book Publishing and consultation with Book Shepherd Judith Briles (valued at $500), courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC
  • A guaranteed review in Midwest Book Review, courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC

Nine First-Place Winners will receive:

  • $1,000 cash and promotion in Writer’s Digest
  • A one-year membership to Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN), courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC
  • A guaranteed review in Midwest Book Review, courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC
  • A one-year membership to Book Central Station where you can find lists of suppliers rated by previous clients, provided by Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC
  • An ebook titled Beyond the Bookstore by Brian Jud (with CD)

All Grand Prize and First Place winners will:

  • Be featured on the Writer’s Digest website
  • Receive a copy of The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 4th Edition by Tom and Marilyn Ross
  • $100 worth of Writer’s Digest Books

Honorable Mention Winners will receive $50 worth of Writer’s Digest Books and be promoted on writersdigest.com.

All other entrants will receive a brief commentary from the judges along with a link to the entrant’s website (only if the URL is accurate) on writersdigest.com.

You can visit the  Writer’s Digest website for more information about the Self-Published Book Awards and the official rules. If you’re interested in learning more about how to maximize your book’s exposure and gain credibility through third-party reviews or by entering contests, contact SDP Publishing. We have extensive experience working with authors to submit their work to third-party reviewers and expanding their marketing potential.

How to enter: register and pay online or download a printable entry form. (Early Bird Entry fees are $100 for the first entry, and $75 for each additional entry.)

SDP Publishing Solutions, LLC (formerly Sweet Dreams Publishing of Massachusetts) offers optimal publishing solutions for authors worldwide. From literary agency representation to worldwide marketing – including international rights – and independent publishing, we provide the best solutions for authors. Our services include developmental editing and copyediting, custom cover design and layout, book marketing, query letter and book proposals, literary agency representation, print and e-book development. We provide the best exposure for your book!