Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Self-Publishing Craze Expands

Image result for self publishing images

There has been an explosion in self-publishing.  Traditional publishing puts out about 350,000 new books a year, but self-published authors released nearly five times that amount – 1.677 million such books were released in 2018, according to Bowker, which tracks these things.

Just from 2017 to 2018 there was a jump of almost a half-million self-published books, with 1.192 million released in 2017.

The vast majority of self-published print books comes from Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon).  In 2018, of the 1.547 million self-published print books released, 1.416 million came out of KDP.

The other leading publishers in 2018 of printed, self-published books are:

·         Lulu – 37,456
·         Blurb – 17,682
·         Author Solutions – 16,019

Interestingly, there were only 130,440 self-published e-books in 2018.  It seems over 90% of all self-published books have a print edition.  So much for print being dead.  The three leading e-book publishers, according to Bowker, are Smashwords (71,696), Lulu (30,021) and Author Solutions (10,585).

So if you are an author, should you self-publish?

Well, that depends on a number of factors? Ask yourself:

·         Do I want the associated prestige/benefits that a publisher potentially offers more than my potential to have editorial control of my manuscript, retain all of my rights, and publish the book faster?
·         Am I good enough to be published by a leading publisher – and can I get a literary agent to represent me?
·         Will I be a good entrepreneur and turn my book into a small business if I self-publish?
·         Do I know what needs to be done to get a book edited, published, distributed and promoted?
·         Am I okay with making a small royalty via a publisher that may sell more books than if I self-publish, even though I make more money per a sale of a book when I self-publish?

Self-publishing is easy but it takes work. For some, it is exactly what they desire and need to do; for others, it’s get published by the establishment or sit on the sidelines.

Self-publishing continues to balloon in terms of number of titles released but the sales per title are decreasing, meaning the market is overwhelmed with competing titles and the quality control on some of these books is not very good.  To self-publish is to believe in yourself and to take ownership – literally – of your writing career. Are you ready for it?

Having promoted many self-published authors, I can say that some are quite good -- well written and edited, nicely packaged, good cover design, smart title, and a fair cover price. Sometimes you cannot tell a self-published book from a book put out by the Big 5.

In the end, no matter who publishes one’s work, it falls upon the shoulders of authors to get out there and market their brands and promote their books.

Writer’s Digest recently posted this useful link to find book conferences and festivals, by state, for 2020.

Book Piracy in the Hundreds of Millions of Dollars
“A 2017 Nielsen consumer survey found that e-book piracy reduces U.S. book sales by $315 million annually, taking a huge bite out of authors earnings, regardless of whether the authors are traditionally or independently published,” said Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the Authors Guild in Publishers Weekly recently.  She adds: “Explosive growth in the sale of counterfeit books, among other deceitful schemes has been enabled by third-party seller platforms such as Amazon and eBay.”

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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