How to sell more outside Amazon, another round in the endless print-versus-digital “debate” plus is giving your book away for free reputation-harming or a savvy sales move? Valerie Shanley is watching the news this week with ALLi partners and friends
Go Direct To Sell Best on Kobo, iBooks, Nook
Interesting finding from the wonderful Data Guy and Hugh Howey over on Author Earnings today as they take a look at the indie market outside of Amazon: Kobo, iBooks, Nook and Google. By far, the ebooks performing the best are the ones published directly by indie authors themselves — selling on average 3.5 times as many copies as those published through Draft2Digital, and 6 times as many copies as those published through Smashwords. See more (lots more) here. Great job again, guys! Thank you for the great service you do authors and the publishing industry with these reports.
Waterstones to give Kindle the big E
The announcement this week by UK chain Waterstones that it will no longer stock Kindles due to a slump in sales focuses debate again on the future of eBooks. The store’s managing director James Daunt told The Bookseller, “Sales of Kindles continue to be pitiful so we are taking the display space back in more and more shops.”
But obituaries on the demise of digital are a tad premature in a rapidly evolving publishing market. As many indie authors and commentators are quick to point out, a drop in sales of eReaders does not mean a fall in sales of eBooks. It’s also worth considering that Waterstones may not be the obvious choice as a tech centre for anyone buying an actual device; Amazon reports that Kindles are available in over 2,500 retail outlets across the UK, while sales of eBooks are steadily on the rise. Add to that the growth in downloading eBooks to smartphones with increasingly larger screens – indication that the digital options for reading are far from pitiful.
Fee-based review service BlueInk Review now features in a monthly column devoted exclusively to self-published titles in Booklist magazine. This regular feature by the Denver-based company will service librarians planning to incorporate indie authors’ work in their collections.
“Our partnership with the experts at BlueInk Review offers us the perfect opportunity to bring a selection of the best self-published books to librarians across the country,” said Bill Ott, editor and publisher of Booklist. According to their press release, this the first time in its 110-year history that the magazine, which reaches over 60,000 libraries across the US, has included self-published titles on a routine basis.
Online Store with an Independent Spirit
A new international online bookseller with a difference is planned to launch late spring 2016 with the aspiration to replicate the experience of an independent store. Bookman & Black is the creation of London-based Goldsboro Books owner and literary agent David Headley, and his business partner and web developer Lee Wilson, managing director of Project X Development. The new store will sell only print books in hardback, paperback or print on demand.
“At Bookman & Black we believe it’s time for a change in the field of online bookselling,” says Headley. “ We will be looking to work with publishers and authors to provide readers with an alternative online shopping experience, with all the joy and magic of browsing a physical bookshop, offering the knowledge and expertise of the professional bookseller.” (Read the full report here)
Indies have the Competition Covered
ALLi is mentioned in favourable dispatches (pats on the back all round) in a report on the quality of book covers by independent authors. Sarah Juckes of POD self-published platform CompletelyNovel.com highlights a cover competition by the company involving an international pool of authors.
“Out of the hundreds of books submitted, we found that 15% of the authors who ended up on the shortlist were referred by The Alliance of Independent Authors. There’s a high emphasis on quality at ALLi that is nurtured through information and content sharing.”
The competition also demonstrated that as well as “plenty of self-published authors knowing exactly what the industry, and their readers, want from book covers”, says Juckes, a potential advantage indie-publishers have over traditionally-published authors is direct engagement with their audience.
Is Your Book Worth Giving Away For Nothing?
Is a Pay What You Feel (PWYF) deal harmful for an indie author’s reputation, or a viable marketing tool? Entrepreneur Michal Kicinski throws the question out there in this Publishing Perspectives feature. As founder of OpenBooks.com – which lets customers download an eBook and then pay what they feel it’s worth – he argues on the positive benefit of this business model for indie authors. Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he, you might think. But Kicinski points to the fact that indie authors are outside the publishing industry because they want freedom, and PWYF ultimately connects them with more readers.
ALLi Director Orna Ross debates this very issue: Should Authors Give Their Book Away For Free? in our next Twitter Chat on 13th October: Members can join in the conversation using the hashtag #AuthorALLiChat, OR join in via Twubs. Check here local times for this and other ALLi events.
Self-published authors are now welcome to submit entries for the Text and Academic Authors Association’s 2016 Textbook Excellence Award (“Texty”). This recognizes excellence in current textbooks and learning materials with works judged by textbook authors and subject matter experts for their merits in four areas: Pedagogy, Content/Scholarship, Writing and Appearance & Design.
Nominations can be submitted now through to December 1, 2015. the winners will be announced on March 15, 2016 and presented during an Awards Ceremony at TAA's annual conference in San Antonio, TX, June 25, 2016. Visit for more information. Entry deadline is Dec. 1.
She Moves to the Fair
Quick reminder here that ALLi’s globe-trotting Director Orna Ross, fresh from her trip to the indie-friendly Novelists Inc Conference (NINC) in Florida last week, will have barely unpacked before heading to the Frankfurt Book Fair next week. As part of the free, day-long International Self-publishing & Authors Programme in Hall 6 on Saturday 17th October, Orna will host Bringing the World to Your Work: International Rights. “I’ll be talking about how indie authors sell rights and gathering information for, and presenting ALLi’s latest guidebook called, (well, what else?): How Authors Sell Publishing Rights. (Going on pre-order this October). And meeting some of the people who are revolutionising the rights market for authors.” (Bring us back lots of news, tips and tools for ALLi members, Orna).
Handy round-up of this week's #selfpub news by @vshanley Click To Tweet