In this week's Self-Publishing News Special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway looks at the sale of high quality self-publishing print platform Blurb and $63m investment for serial fiction site Radish.
ALLi’s new guidebook, 150 Self-Publishing Questions Answered: ALLi’s Writing, Publishing, and Book Marketing Tips for Authors and Poets, written by ALLi’s Outreach Manager M.L. Ronn (Michael La Ronn), is available now. You can read an excerpt in this blog post and you can purchase the book here. As with all our guides, ALLi members can access their complimentary e-book copy in the member zone. Members: just log in and navigate to “Guidebooks”.
The Bookseller and Blurb: Big Book Sales
I report on sales a lot. But this week the two big news items about sales aren’t about how many books are being shifted. That said, Harper Collins has reported cracking digital sales. Rather, these are sales of companies. The highest profile of these on social media has been the sale of industry backbone in the UK, The Bookseller magazine. This is the publication that launched Futurebook and has been a constant presence in all our lives. The magazine has been sold to the owners of another legend of the creative arts, The Stage. We hope it will be part of our lives for many years to come.
The other sale will possibly have a higher impact on us as indies. Blurb has for many years been the go-to for anyone wanting to publish high quality books with a lot of graphics. Blurb has been acquired by Reichling, who did their printing. We’ll see if that has an impact on the service (which was excellent) or the price (which was steep) we traditionally associate with Blurb.
Donald Trump Jr Self-Publishes!
One of this week’s main self-publishing news items concerns news about who is self-publishing. We are used to publishers steering away from the works of certain authors in recent years. And in some cases those authors have self-published. The most high profile of these was Milo Yiannopoulos. Until now, that is. The latest high profile self-publisher is Donald Trump Jnr. The question I was most interested to know the answer to, of course, was “Ingram Spark or KDP Print?” That’s been a hard one to track down. On the other hand it looks as though he has taken on board some Self-publishing 3.0 advice, and will be selling direct from his website.
Help for Those Hit by Covid
Covid has hit many independents hard — be that publishers, bookshops, or authors. Over the last few months we have seen stories of help for those worst affected. But we have also seen stories of hardship. And this week we have seen that in microcosm.
In the UK, the Society of Authors has paid out over £1m to authors struggling financially as a result of Covid. Their hardship fund, however, is fast running out of money. So far, more than 700 writers have benefitted from the scheme. A campaign to increase the funds available to help more is underway. Meanwhile, Italy has launched a €10m fund for small publishers.
Many of the grants for “indies” in the past few months have, regrettably, not included those of us who do everything ourselves. But it's great to see that there is nothing in the terms and conditions for Society of Authors grants that excludes us, and they have confirmed both that indies are eligible, and have already received help.
Technology for Indie Authors
I love talking about new tech stories that are relevant for writers, and this week I can round up three that caught my eye. First up is news from Radish. This is the company that provides a platform for serial fiction. It started as an entirely user-led platform but has since launched a commissioned “Originals” element. There are obvious comparisons with Wattpad, but also with platforms like Spotify. What really catches the eye is the size of the investment round they have just secured $63.2m. People are really starting to take subscription seriously.
A similar amount ($66m) was raised by Skillshare. This is a platform that lets people upload their courses, which it then provides on a subscription basis. And the site has reported a growing interest in courses relating to the creative arts.
Finally, the launch of Circle. This is a company that wants to provide creators like us with a better way to connect with our readers. It hopes its platform will provide us with the best and most engaging bits of social media, email lists, and marketing funnels. But without the clunky bits. And all in one place.
A fascinating addition to this is the forthcoming podcasting facility from Amazon. Podcasts will be available through Audible, and if you're a podcaster you can get started creating content now.High quality self-publishing print platform Blurb is sold while serial fiction platform Radish raises $63m, and top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes… Click To Tweet
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Help us fill this with great online events in the coming weeks and months.
Dublin International Writers' Festival, 10-13 Sep
Frankfurter Buchmesse, 14-18 Oct [Frankfurt/online]
Over to You
Let us know about online events of interest to indies in the comments below.