Self-Publishing News & Links 1/30/2012

Can’t you just feel it in the air? I can. Wow. 2012 is the year that self-publishing is EXPLODING! Not a day goes by now that you don’t see more and more arguments for it from people who are catching the fire. Here’s a few posts that you don’t want to miss.

  • James writes on Techcrunch why every entrepreneur must self-publish a book.

    “If you, the entrepreneur, self-publish a book you will stand out, you will make more money, you will kick your competitors right in the XX, and you will look amazingly cool at cocktail parties. I know this because I am seldom cool but at cocktail parties, with my very own comic book, I can basically have sex with anyone in the room. But don’t believe me, it costs you nothing and almost no time to try it yourself.”

  • The Guardian compares self-publishing to a bubble.

Oh, and here’s some stats for you that will blog you mind.

The New York Times reported that “According to a recent survey, 81 percent of people feel that they have a book in them…and should write it.” If you do the math, that represents over 200 million people in the U.S. who want to write a book in their lifetime! No wonder self-publishing is thriving as never before!

29% of U.S. Adults Own a Tablet or Ereader

From Mashable, who got it from a Pew study. No comments needed really, right? The shift continues.

The share of adults in the United States who own tablet computers nearly doubled from 10% to 19% between mid-December and early January and the same surge in growth also applied to e-book readers, which also jumped from 10% to 19% over the same time period.

The number of Americans owning at least one of these digital reading devices jumped from 18% in December to 29% in January.

These findings are striking because they come after a period from mid-2011 into the autumn in which there was not much change in the ownership of tablets and e-book readers. However, as the holiday gift-giving season approached, the marketplace for both devices dramatically shifted. In the tablet world, Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble’s Nook Tablet were introduced at considerably cheaper prices than other tablets. In the e-book reader world, some versions of the Kindle and Nook and other readers fell well below $100.

Learn How To Be A Marketer

An insider in the traditional publishing world speaks out over at Pandodaily.com. From the piece, “Confessions of a Publisher: “We’re in Amazon’s Sights and They’re Going to Kill Us””

When you see Snooki’s book on the New York Times Best Seller List, you know publishing is in trouble.

You can blame readers and say publishing is just giving the public what they want. But that’s only half the problem.

The rest is a lazy publishing industry that does far too little of the work that got them here: Discovering new authors and giving them a shot. Instead, they go for the lazy lay-up: Overpaying on celebrity memoirs and pop culture phenomenons with a built in audience.

I’ve written about the Snooki problem before. And it IS a problem. The future at the moment is to go with Amazon for many different reasons. A big one being that you actually have a chance at making money from your work, and a lot of it.

But the real future that most overlook is that the future is in going direct. As I wrote here.

JK Rowlings gets it. She’s going direct to her readers with Pottermore. She’s cutting out the publishers and Amazon. Because of that, she’ll make another billion. I’m not JK Rowling, but I did go direct to my audience to raise over $35k to pre-fund my new books.

Even a comedian can do it. No, it’s not a book, but the point is still the same. Louis CK just made a video of his comedy and released it direct to his fans, and made over $200k from it. No middleman.

Arguing about the death of traditional publishing is a waste of time in my opinion. There really isn’t any question that old model is on its last leg. What authors need to be doing now is focusing on how to go direct and figure out ways to cut out the Amazons of the world. When you can do that, you’re truly a self-publisher.

Of course, that means you need to learn how to be a marketer. There’s just no way around that. In the future, everyone will have to be.

Quit wasting time worrying about the old ways of doing things and instead start writing and building your own platform. Those of us that do that will be in the driver’s seat for the next 20-years. That’s what I’m doing.

The Self-Publisher Who Changed The Industry

The Guardian ran a nice piece on Amanda Hocking, the woman who has become the face of the new self-publishing movement by selling millions of books on the Kindle. I highly recommend you read about this and how Amanda did it.

While I find her story inspirational, I also realize it’s not going to be typical. Not many authors are going to find her success. She wrote great books (I think) and got them in the right place, at the right time when an audience wanted them. Luck, is a huge part of publishing success.

The writer who made millions by self-publishing online

A couple of years ago, Amanda Hocking needed to raise a few hundred dollars so, in desperation, made her unpublished novel available on the Kindle. She has since sold over 1.5m books and, in the process, changed publishing forever.

Kindle Select Pays $1.70 Per Borrow

According to this news release from Amazon, the first authors who opted into the KDP Select feature will earn about $1.70 per book borrow for the first month.

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jan. 12, 2012– (NASDAQ: AMZN)—The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is off to a strong start: customers borrowed 295,000 KDP Select titles in December alone, and KDP Select has helped grow total library selection to over 75,000 books. With the $500,000 December fund, KDP authors have earned $1.70 per borrow. In response to strong customer adoption of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (as well as seasonal, post-holiday use of new Kindles), Amazon.com, Inc. has added a $200,000 bonus to the January KDP Select fund, raising the total pool from $500,000 to $700,000.

This is amazing news for this author, as I anticipated it to be closer to abotu $.10 per borrow. $1.70 sounds a lot nicer. :) Thanks Amazon. To put that into perspective, if you had 100 borrows you would earn $170 total.

In other related news that is not surprising, select authors are also seeing their sales numbers increase. Also, Amazon is increasing their monthly profit pool from $500k to $700k in a move to entice more authors.

“KDP Select appears to be earning authors more money in two ways. We knew customers would love having KDP Select titles in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. But we’ve been surprised by how much paid sales of those same titles increased, even relative to the rest of KDP,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content. “Due to this early success and a seasonally strong January, we’re adding a $200,000 bonus to January’s KDP Select fund, growing this month’s total pool to $700,000.”

The top ten KDP Select authors earned over $70,000 in the month of December from their participation in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, a 30% increase on top of the royalties they earned from their paid sales on the same titles in the same period. In total (paid sales plus their share of the loan fund), these authors saw their royalties grow an astonishing 449% month-over-month from November to December. The list of top 10 KDP Select authors includes Carolyn McCray, Rachel Yu, the Grabarchuk family and Amber Scott.

What does this all mean? It means that Amazon is further trying to corner the market and own it. These aggressive moves pretty much ensure that every author will want to participate. I expect many new entrants to the select system in the next month to get a piece of the pie.