Can you make yourself more discoverable in 2016? It's all about that meta data thing. Also in this week's self-publishing related news, one agent says it emphatically again – e-book sales are not stagnating. Plus used-book stores, ghostwriting, and more as Valerie Shanley catches up with ALLi partners and friends across the newswires and blogosphere.
Discovered yet? Time to go with those algorithms
With thousands of books published every week, how do you make yours visible to readers? Optimising discoverability is the big challenge for authors, says Neil Balthaser in Publishing Perspectives.
Formerly the leader of the software design team with the Barnes & Noble self-publishing platform Nook press, he became aware of “the deluge of content coming in daily with little process for being able to check that information. It would be impossible to have humans analyze everything — manuscript text and provided metadata — that was uploaded.”
Balthaser went on to address how content could be better managed and opportunities for author discoverability enhanced by founding his own company, Intellogo. This “smart content platform” uses algorithms to read a block of text from any number of sources including e-books, the internet, Wikipedia, or a selected catalogue of outlets. “It then connects, predicts, and recommends content based on user criteria,” he says. To discover more on how enhancing metadata leads back to your own discovery, read the full report here.
Will we get the full story on e-book sales figures this year?
Literary agent Laurie McClean of Fuse Lit Agency is not overly concerned with predictions on publishing for 2016 – she’s combating misleading headlines instead. First up, and the one most self-published authors have been exercised over since last autumn (and which ALLi Director Orna Ross smartly addressed in November) – yes, those reports elsewhere on “declining” e-book sales.
“Ebook sales are NOT stagnating” says McClean, in a guest post on author Anne R Allen’s blog. “I’ve always been a firm believer that you can make numbers and statistics dance to any beat you play and I believe the Big Five are skewing these numbers with their newly won agency pricing models,.
“Once you add Amazon ebook sales into the calculation, however, it all falls apart. Unfortunately that is not what most reports have done. They only concentrated on traditional retail sales numbers from their usual cast of publishers. So you’re getting fed false numbers. Ebooks are healthy and should continue to be healthy throughout 2016 and beyond. They are here to stay.”
McClean accentuates the positive in the rest of the post, (read it in full here) including her assertion that indie authors will continue to take market share from trade published authors.
Used books, nice coffee – but no brownie points on paying authors
Author and Tech Crunch East Coast editor John Biggs homes in on the debate about used bookstores being bad news for authors in his editorial. Used and secondhand bookstores are springing up as cultural hubs in small towns and cities, and are seen as great for readers, but not great for writers who don’t get any income from those books. Biggs puts a positive spin on this:
“Don’t apologize to this author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend’s copy. What’s important to me is that people read the books and enjoy them, and that, at some point in there, the book was bought by someone. And that people who like things, tell other people. The most important thing is that people read.”
The hard truth, he goes on, is that the opportunity to have a book resold in a used bookstore is fading quickly. “I will publish books in ebook form and sell them in paperback as an afterthought. There is no benefit to going with traditional publishing when I can do so much myself and save my sanity in the process.”
Cue indie author heads nodding in agreement. (Catch the full Tech Crunch post here.)
Making a healthy income – there’s a ghost of a chance
Author and ghostwriter Andrew Croft asks hard questions in The Guardian: do you want to write for your own pleasure and fulfillment, or to use writing to support yourself financially? If your answer is the latter, then you should provide a service that others need to buy, he advises. In Croft's case, that is through ghost-writing.
“The odds that your passion projects alone will ever make enough money to support you in any decent style are about the same as when you buy a lottery ticket, so you are inevitably going to have to do something else to earn money in the coming years.” But all of the experience gained writing for others, whether journalism, ghost-writing, etc., can feed into your own writing. “The more time you spend honing your writing skills through these crafts, the sharper those skills will be when the time comes for you to try to sell your passion projects to an uninterested world.”
The piece reports that over a 40-year career, Croft has published more than 80 books and earned over £4m – you might say that does proves his point. (Read the full feature here.)
Travel the literary globe in virtually 8 hours
The London Book Fair’s second virtual conference is set for January 27th, offering the opportunity to meet publishers and authors around the globe. Around the World in 8 Hours 2016 is a free-to-attend event across multiple social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and webcasts – bringing leading publishers together from across five continents. It starts in New Zealand, then on to China, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa and the Americas. Last year’s inaugural event attracted over 900,000 people on Twitter – and this year’s looks set to be even bigger. Find out more here.
Get ‘appy' at the Winter Institute
The Winter Institute – the American Booksellers Association annual post-holiday gathering – becomes a more mobile-friendly event this January with a new app. Available for iOS and Android devices as well as for desktop computers, the app includes a complete schedule of events which are updated frequently, maps and accommodation info. For this year’s event, (running 23-26 January), users can post to Twitter and LinkedIn and complete event evaluations. For more on the event, read the full Publishers Weekly notification here.
Googled yourself recently?
Back on the discoverability theme again, just how easy are you, or your book, to find on Google? We’ve all heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) but what are the basics for authors? One person who has the whole thing sussed is Miral Sattar, CEO of Bibliocrunch.
In a guest post on The Book Designer site, she gives seven basic ways to create a stronger, higher presence in search engines – especially in a techie world where nothing remains static. For example, due to the growth in readership on smartphones, Google changed their algorithm in April 2015 to penalize any sites that are not optimized for mobile devices, says Miral. Check out how mobile-friendly your author page is and read the full post here.
Dates for your Diary
Self-Publishing Summit: Jan 16 2016 [London, UK ] Rock & Read Vegas Author Event: Jan 15 – 17 2016 [Las Vegas, USA] Writers in Paradise: Jan 16 – 23 [Florida, USA] Annual Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway: Jan 15 – 18, 2016 [New Jersey Shore, USA] San Diego State University Writers’ Conference: Jan 22 – 24, 2016 [San Diego, USA]
Clays Self-publishing Indie Insights Evening: Feb 4 [London, UK]
Pub West Conference: Feb 4 – 6, 2016 [Sante Fe, NM, USA] Coastal Magic Convention: Feb 4 – 7, 2016 [Daytona Beach, FL, USA] Karachi Literature Festival: Feb 5 – 7, 2016 [Karachi, Pakistan] Amelia Island Book Festival: Feb 18 – 20, 2016 [Florida, USA] San Francisco Writers Conference, Feb. 11-15, 2016 [San Francisco, USA] Alabama Writing Workshop, Feb 19 [Birmingham, Alabama, USA] Perth Writers Festival (as part of PIAF): 19 – 21 Feb [Perth, Australia] Adelaide Writers Week 2016: 27 Feb – 3 Mar [Adelaide, Australia]
New Zealand Writers Week: 8 – 13 Mar [New Zealand]
Mountains to Sea – dlr Book Festival: Mar 9 – 13, 2016 [Dublin, Ireland] Love is Murder Conference, mainly for mystery and romance writers: Mar 11 – 13 [Chicago, Ill.] The Tucson Festival of Books: Mar 12 – 16 [University of Arizona campus, Tucson, AZ, USA] Tampa Writers Conference, Mar 25 [ Tampa, FL ] Fort Lauderdale Conference for Writers: Mar 26 [Ft. Lauderdale, FL]
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books: 9 – 10 Apr [Los Angeles, USA]
Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival; 8 – 10 Apr [Penticton, BC, Canada]
London Book Fair: 12 – 14 Apr [London, UK]
Indie Author Fringe: Apr 15 [Online, Global] – brought to you by ALLi
Pikes Peak Writers’ Conference; Apr 15 – 17 [ Colorado Springs, Colorado] Story Circle Network Women’s Writing Conference; Apr 15 – 17 [ Austin, TX] Writer’s Institute; Apr 15 – 17 [Madison, Wisconsin] Las Vegas Writers Conference; Apr 28 – 30 [ Las Vegas, Nevada]
(The above list may not include all the major events; please feel free to email us with any important ones we’ve missed out.)#indieauthor news roundup #selfpub news by @vshanley Click To Tweet