In this week's Self-Publishing News Special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway looks at TikTok's new bookshop and a remarkable milestone for Danielle Steel.
Do listen to November's Self-publishing News podcast here. Howard and I are talking about the question everyone's asking: should we leave Twitter and if we do, where do we go? For those of us who haven't left twitter, this week's #indieauthorchat is in its usual Wednesday slot, at 8pm UK time, 3pm Eastern Time. Tim will be guiding us through a discussion of what authors should stop doing (including, presumably at least until the end of the chat, being on Twitter).
Bookshop.org Announces Indie Champions Shortlist
It feels like a while since I’ve written about Bookshop.org. Who dominated the news at the start of the pandemic. It’s good to see they are still here. This is the company that allows you to order print books through a simple website and for a cut of the sales to go to local indie bookstores. And although it’s slightly complicated, indie writers can get our books listed on the platform.
They feature in two pieces of news this week. The first is the announcement of the shortlist for their own Indie Champions awards. They feature some great titles and people. But unlike the RNA’s recent Indie Champion award, the “indie” in the title seems not to include us. I’m not sure, in fact, who it does include, given that a scroll through represented publishers reveals a list heavy on the likes of Bloomsbury, Harper Collins, and Pan MacMillan. The publishers shortlist consists of Ebury, Hodder & Stoughton, Thames & Hudson; and Vintage. Maybe next year?
TikTok Launches Book Shop
They also feature as the latest TikTok news. TikTok has launched its own bookshop within the TikTok Shop. Companies can sign up to be part of the store and sell their books direct through it. That means being able to sell in-app to readers captivated by the latest BookTok content. They will no longer have to navigate away or go somewhere else later if they want to be part of what the BookTok community is talking about. In theory, that offers a fantastic way to avoid the inevitable loss of custom that occurs when the journey to buy is anything other than friction free. So far, companies who've signed up to be part of the store include HarperCollins UK, WH Smith, Bloomsbury and, as mentioned, bookshop.org,
Danielle Steel Closes in on a Billion Book Sales
Thank you to the ever-fabulous Sam Missingham of The Empowered Author, whose tweet pointed me to this story. Danielle Steel is one of the best-known figures in the book world. And we know she sells a lot of books. But this week we learned just how many. Her publisher, Pan MacMillan, announced they expect her to pass the billion sale mark sometime next year. Steel has written an extraordinary 100 books. But that's still 10 million copies a book. Those figures are mind-boggling. They even put the “anticipated top sellers” discussion that dominated the Penguin Random House-Simon and Schuster trial to shame. Steel's net worth has been upgraded as a result to $600m.
These figures are remarkable with no further comment. But they merit further comment. First, to congratulate a remarkable author on a lifetime achievement. But also to take note of what it says about readers and the genres where money is to be made. Romance readers are avid fans. They devour books. Sometimes this causes raised eyebrows, such as when the speed of reading means people can get around returns loopholes. But it's a very simple message for writers. If you want to make vast sums, go where the readers are, and then give them what they want.
Creative Platform Fanfix Launches a Tool to Make It Easier to Connect Your Fans to Your Products Across Social Media
I’ve always tried to cover platforms that might provide new or previously unexplored opportunities for authors. Since the upheaval at Twitter, I’ve been even more on the lookout. One of the sites I covered recently is Patreon. Patreon recently added native video content to its offering, reducing the number of distribution platforms you have to use to build a direct relationship with your readers and fans. That direct relationship is a key part of Self–publishing 3.0. One of the key aims is to reduce reliance not just on the intermediaries of the publishing world but of the tech world too. To commission the services we need. But not to be beholden to intermediaries in our relationships with either customers or suppliers.
This week saw a new tool from Patreon-like platform Fanfix to make it easier for creators to share the things they sell with fans. Superlink is a lino-in-bio tool that creators can use across social media to share their best creations on Fanfix. To begin at the beginning, Fanfix is a subscription platform for creators, just like Patreon. Unlike Patreon, it is selective, requiring creators to have 10,000 or more followers across social media to join. And it offers a variety of different ways for creators to make money by connecting with fans. This includes creating content. But it also includes livestreaming, or paying to message or speak to people you really want to shoot the breeze with.
All of that means lots of things you might want to share. Which is where Superlink comes in. “Link-in-bio” tools are things we're all familiar with but might not know by the name. They're the, er, links that appear in your social media bios. Specifically, they are links to a single page that then sends people out to the places you most want them to go. The most commonly used of these is Linktree, with 30 million users. Following the principles already mentioned in this column, they make the process of discovering what you have for sale much more frcitionless for fans.Self-publishing News: TikTok Bookshop Click To Tweet