Love writing – detest editing? Among this week's good news reports is that an innovative self-publishing tool is at hand for formatting and conversion – and it's free. As for conflicting data on digital book sales, a new indie author-inclusive survey aims to give a fuller picture on the under-reported self-publishing sector. Elsewhere, no surprises that Amazon has big plans for its expansion in India, while children's titles are top of the class in lending library lists. Valerie Shanley gets the lowdown on these stories, and more, from ALLi partners and friends…
Breezy new Book Editor cuts down on the drafts
The newly launched Book Editor from Reedsy works on your manuscript in real-time, tracking changes, and making pertinent comments (a short video demonstrates how these comments can help improve the narrative flow.) The exported files are then ready for instant distribution to ebookstores and POD services with IngramSpark, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Apple iBooks and Kobo Writing Life.
A professional ALLi partner, Reedsy was co-founded in 2014 by Ricardo Fayet and Emmanuel Nataf as a curated network of publishing services for independent authors.
The company just recently won the FutureBook BookTech Company of the Year (2015) Award. Book Editor is their latest innovation and sounds like a no-brainer for indies seeking a straight-forward formatting and conversion service.
“It will basically allow any author to create a flawless ePub, and a professionally-typeset, print-ready PDF in a matter of seconds,” says Fayet, while adding that other important indie factor. “Ah, and it's free.” (Click here for more details)
Tracking the digital sales landscape – with indie authors on board
Following publication of the indie-inclusive Author Earnings February 2016 data report on digital sales in the US, (as reported in last week's self-publishing news post), The Bookseller has announced the launch of an independent author e-book sales tracker to address the equally under-reported UK indie sector. Indie authors are invited to complete an online form, capturing their 2015 e-book sales information.
“We hope indie authors, or small digital-only publishers, will complete the simple survey, so that we can begin to understand what is happening in this market, and better reflect it in our overall coverage. Of course, there is much the survey won’t tell us, but there are some usual things it will reveal, and hopefully the results will allow us to build out a more comprehensive solution for indie writers.”
If enough authors participate, the aim is to repeat the survey each month alongside the magazine’s monthly e-book ranking of traditional publisher sales. Although reliant on voluntary submissions and so cannot be viewed as fully scientific and definitive, the survey is a welcome development in giving a more accurate picture of overall e-book sales.
(The online form can be completed here.)
Amazon’s passage to India: Day One
Since Flipkart exited the Indian e-book sector last year, it was only a matter of time until Amazon muscled into a market ranked seventh in overall global publishing and third after the US and the UK in English language publishing.
The Times of India reports Amazon has acquired a 26% stake in leading publishing house Westland from Tata Group company Trent, thereby upping its presence in Asia's third largest economy and in a deal potentially allowing a buy-out of the remaining 74% stake in future.
The report claims the current deal will lead to a bigger selection of “Indian writing books” and a sure footing in the e-books market.
“Amazon's roots are in books and it remains a major part of their business. This investment from a company with such deep experience in books, global reach and digital platforms will help us take our Indian authors and their works global,” said Gautam Padmanabhan, CEO, Westland. The 26% stake gives Amazon one seat on Westland's board.
Sarah Jane Gunter, director, Amazon Publishing, indicating further expansion, said, “Our investment in Westland continues Amazon's commitment to innovating and investing heavily on behalf of customers in India – it's still very much Day 1.”
(Read the full report here.)
Best-sellers lists? Take with a pinch of salt
Are best-seller book lists obsolete? Maybe not, but the Trades Description Act could be invoked over that ‘best-selling’ claim in certain instances. Tim Grahl, who has worked in a variety of roles in publishing, including helping launch “several top-five bestsellers and two number one New York Times bestsellers”, hones in on the credibility, or otherwise, of the Wall Street Journal as well as the NYT listings in his opinion piece on the Observer.com site.
“The WSJ builds its list based on the sales figures it gets from Nielson’s BookScan,” writes Grahl. “In general, if you sell the most books in a category as reported by BookScan, you will hit No. 1 in that category on the WSJ bestseller list. Makes sense, right? Except that BookScan doesn’t track all purchases …. it doesn’t include sales from CreateSpace and other self-publishing platforms, which affects thousands of authors.”
The NYT keeps a tight lid on its process for selecting best-sellers, adds Grahl, writing that a small group of people look at highly selective data to decide whom they deem important enough to be called a “New York Times bestseller.” (For the full report, click here)
Little ones the biggest borrowers
Children’s authors dominate among the four authors who clocked-up over 1,000,000 loans from UK public libraries during 2014-15, according to the latest data by Public Lending Right (PLR). The three authors are former Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson; Daisy Meadows, the brand behind the Rainbow Magic series and Francesca Simon, author of the Horrid Henry series. The fourth is thriller writer James Patterson, who also topped the chart for the ninth year running.
Loans of audio-books were surveyed for the first time, and again, on the most-loaned items list, children’s titles were strongly represented, with two separate editions of David Walliams’ Demon Dentist making the top 10 most borrowed audio-book titles (in 4th and 6th position, with his Ratburger also at 10th most loaned title) and two J K Rowling’s Harry Potter titles occupying the 2nd and 3rd most loaned slots.
(Read the full survey here.)
Meet the new service – same as the old one
Writer Beware has posted a solicitation alert re a ‘new' company trading under the name RPI Publications. It’s better known as Raider Publishing International and has been the focus of numerous author complaints over the past five years, writes Victoria Strauss.
“Raider has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau, and has previously disguised itself with other pseudonyms such as Purehaven Press, Parmenides Publishing, and, most recently, the UK-based Green Shore Publishing, which was censured by the Advertising Standards Authority for false advertising.”
Forewarned is forearmed for innocent indies – and thanks to Writer Beware for the alert. (For more on this click here)
Like a free pass to the London Book Fair?
ALLi members are invited to apply for a free pass to the London Book Fair 2016, running from 12 – 14th April – a great opportunity to catch literary events while also meeting up with other ALLies. (Click here to submit details for your free pass)
Can’t make it? You can also tune into our free, online ALLi Indie Author Fringe Event 2016 on 15th April focussing this year on Writing, Editorial, Design & Formatting, and Production & Distribution.
We'll fill you in more on the Fringe closer to the date.
Upcoming Author Conferences & Events
Feria Internacional del Libro de la Habana: Feb 11 – 21 [Havana, Cuba] Taipei International Book Exhibition: Feb 16 – 21 [Taipei, Taiwan] Amelia Island Book Festival: Feb 18 – 20 [Florida, USA] Bruxelles Book Fair: Feb 18 – 22 [Bruxelles, Belgium] Alabama Writing Workshop, Feb 19 [Birmingham, Alabama, USA] Perth Writers Festival (as part of PIAF): 19 – 21 Feb [Perth, Australia] Perth Writers Festival in the Great Southern: Feb 21 – 23 [Albany & Denmark, Western Australia] Sleuthfest: 25 – 28 Feb [Florida, USA] Vilnius Book Fair: Feb 25 – 28 [Vilnius, Lithuania] Adelaide Writers Week 2016: 27 Feb – 3 Mar [Adelaide, Australia]
Emirate Airlines Festival of Literature: Mar 1 – 12 [Dubai] Readers & Writers Down Under: Mar 4 – 5 [Queensland, Australia] New Zealand Writers Week: 8 – 13 Mar [Wellington, New Zealand] Mountains to Sea – dlr Book Festival: Mar 9 – 13 [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] Noted Festival: Mar 16 – 20 [Canberra, Australia] Paris Book Fair: Mar 17 – 20 [Paris, France] 2020: A Publishing Odyssey (SYP): Mar 18 [Edinburgh, Scotland] Alexandrina International Book Fair: Mar 24 – Apr 5 [Alexandria, Egypt] Tampa Writers Conference, Mar 25 [ Tampa, FL ] Fort Lauderdale Conference for Writers: Mar 26 [Ft. Lauderdale, FL]
Newcastle Writers Festival: Apr 1 – 3 [New South Wales, Australia]
Bologna Childrens Book Fair: Apr 4 – 7 [Bologna, Italy]
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] Jane Austen Festival Australia: Apr 15 – 17 [Canberra, Australia] 23rd Annual Budapest International Book Festival: Apr 21 – 24 [Budapest, Hungary] Buenos Aires Book Fair: Apr 21 – May 9 [Buenos Aires, Argentina] Abu Dhabi International Book Fair: Apr 27 – May 1 [Abu Dhabi, UAE] Geneva Book & Press Fair: Apr 27 – May 1 [Geneva, Switzerland] Las Vegas Writers Conference; Apr 28 – 30 [ Las Vegas, Nevada]
Teheran International Book Fair: May 5 – 15 [Teheran, Iran]
The Self-publishing Conference: May 7 [Leicester, UK]
Auckland Writers Festival: May 10 – 15 [New Zealand]
Book Expo America: May 11 – 13 [Chicago, Illinois, USA]
Franschhoek Literary Festival: May 13 – 15 [South Africa]
Varena-Sydney Writers Festival: May 14 – 22 [New South Wales, Australia]
Sydney Writers Festival: May 16 – 22 [New South Wales, Australia]
Indie Author Fringe: May 14 [Online, Global] – brought to you by ALLi
Warsaw Book Fair: May 19 – 22 [Warsaw, Poland] Kingsmead College Book Fair: May 21 [Johannesburg, SA] Australian Booksellers Association Conference & Trade Exhibition: May 29 – 30 [Melbourne, Australia]
(The above list may not include all the major events; please feel free to email us with any important ones we’ve missed out, or include in comments below.)Handy #indieauthor #selfpub news round-up @vshanley Click To Tweet