Self-Publishing Round-Up #1

Indie Talk
Indie Talk

I’m trying to keep up with what’s going on in indie publishing, and I realized there are a lot of folks, both readers and writers, who would be interested in taking a look at the same issues I’ve come across.

The first thing I’ve come across is an issue of terminology. You may laugh at this, but I didn’t. When I was searching for “self-publishing,” I got a boatload of services dedicated to separating me from my money—websites offering to help me promote my work, with no evidence that they had anything real to offer, or anything better than what I could do on my own. It was depressing as hell.

When I switched to searching for “indie publishing,” however, the world got a bit brighter.  I actually found some useful information.

So let’s get on to that.

Because I know number of my students write erotica, and because this is going to affect indie publishers who have their own sites where they sell their work via PayPal, or sell their work through distributors who use PayPal, this is big news.

PayPal Strong-Arms Indie Ebook Publishers Over Erotic Content

PayPal’s new aggressive campaign wants to stop independent e-book publishers that use its service from including certain kinds of erotic content in their catalogs. On Saturday February 18, PayPal began threatening indie book publishers and distributors with immediate deactivation of the businesses’ accounts if they did not remove books containing certain sexual themes – namely, specific sexual fantasies that PayPal does not approve of. Read more

This is a big deal. While businesses have the absolute right to decide on the material they choose to support, there aren’t any other payment processors as popular as PayPal. What PayPal is doing is creating an opportunity for a rival company (or companies) to come in with favorable terms for the folk PayPal is deciding it doesn’t want. PayPal is creating the hole into which an aggressive competitor can slide. I’ll be interested to see who jumps first.

Day 8 of Amazon boycott of indie presses: Still no comment from New York, but …by Dennis Johnson

As we enter the second week of’s boycott of ebooks from over 400 American, Canadian, and British independent presses distributed by the Independent Publishers Group (IPG) (see our earlier MobyLives report), …

This is also a HUGE deal. I’ve said writers need to keep their options open, and need to deal with as many bookstores as they can. This is why. Amazon, like PayPal, is creating reasons for people not to use its service.  It is giving other sites and other companies the key to making it less relevant.  Watching both Amazon and PayPal making these mistakes is like watching Letterman bring out TWO “Stupid Pet Tricks” acts at the same time. You look from one to the other and you wonder what the hell they’re thinking.

Finally, something that isn’t a Stupid Pet Trick.

IndieReader Helps Connect Authors with Their Readers

I can understand the gatekeeper perception of the traditional publishing process, but the world of publishing is changing. There are self-published authors and traditionally published authors, as well as those indies whose works are being published … Read more

I’m cheering for IndieReader. I like their slogan. Independent Books for People with Independent Minds.  I think that’s a damn good place to start.  I hope they’ll do well by their customers.

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16 responses to “Self-Publishing Round-Up #1”

  1. wendy stackhouse Avatar
    wendy stackhouse

    Hi Holly, I don’t expect you to put this on your site as it would be advertising, but I read your blog about looking into self-publishing and would like to recommend my own book: Visual Guide to Publishing on Amazon. I wrote it to help other authors trying to negotiate the minefield of CreateSpace and eBooks,it is short and to the point, filled with screenshots to make life easier. I have used it for talks at Writer’s Groups,and from feedback I know it has helped many writers. I order paperback copies and sell them (very cheaply) at my talks. So far the book has been picked up by Abe Books in Uk, Booktopia here in Australia, and a computer software site (?) and I only published it a few months ago.
    I hope this helps, Wendy Stackhouse

    1. Holly Avatar

      First, congrats on the book. And second, I’ll be happy to note that you’ve done it. That sounds like a tremendously useful resource for many of the folks who visit my site.

  2. Sally Avatar

    Very interesting post, I’m currently thinking about starting my own self publishing journey, mainly looking into effective marketing techniques for a first time writer so if you find anything relating to this it would be of great interest 🙂

  3. Raymund Eich Avatar

    I emailed indiereader to ask for a review of my latest novel. They replied that they might do one, and by the way, I should consider submitting to their award competition (entry fee=$150). I won’t pay to enter their competition. We’ll see if they review the novel without it.

    1. Walter Spence Avatar

      Over at the web site there’s a saying referred to as ‘Yog’s Law’, which goes like this: “Money flows to the writer”. (In more recent times, writer has been amended to ‘content creator’.)

      1. Holly Avatar

        Holly’s Corollary: Never enter a contest that charges you to enter.

    1. Holly Avatar

      SFWA certainly has the right to redirect links from its own site. Just realize that by doing so, it will be hurting the authors who are members whose books were NOT pulled.

      I left SFWA long time ago, and won’t go back. My reasons for leaving were financial. My reasons for staying away are not.

  4. James W. Lewis Avatar

    I think with all the whirlwind changes going on in publishing, it will still be an advantage for the indie author because more channels for profit will open up for us. I like it!

  5. R.C. Mann Avatar
    R.C. Mann

    What do you think of self-publishing short stories? Either singly or in self-collected anthologies? Of course, after they have been professionally edited and critiqued. In your opinion, what are the odds of actually garnering any readers?

    If stupid question, ignore.

    1. Amy Keeley Avatar

      I’d like to comment on this…so I will. 🙂

      I put out a short story as a tester and as a way to get used to self-publishing. So far, I’ve only gotten a handful of sales and it’s been available for a month or two. But then, I haven’t done a whole lot of promoting. I’m not really sure how I should since I have very little presence on the web and most promotional ideas/venues are geared toward longer works. I think a collection of shorts would work better for someone in my position. We’ll see.

      Anyway, here’s an article I found helpful while looking up ways to promote my short. I think he makes some good points.

      1. Holly Avatar

        Expecting massive sales without promotion, and on a short story at that, is pointless.

        That you have any sales at all should be encouraging to you. But until you have at least ten pieces of work under the same name published, you have no reason to think that anyone will find you in any significant numbers.

        1. Amy Keeley Avatar

          Then thank goodness I didn’t expect massive numbers. 🙂 Glad to know I was being realistic when I put it up.

          Ten? I haven’t heard that number before. I trust you on it, though, and appreciate that you shared it. My niche is (as far as I know) pretty small, so I don’t ever expect to make a lot of money off it. Any promotion I do is on the off-chance there are others out there searching for the same things I am. I don’t even expect enough sales to consider it a second job. But since I’m part of my niche, I like writing stories for it. And if I get a little money from it, eventually enough to help it pay for itself, then I’m happy.

          1. R.C. Mann Avatar
            R.C. Mann

            Well, I have 18 shorts, ranging from concept scribbles to completed and already rejected a couple of times. So once I finish sending all of them out to all of the available markets, I should have plenty of material for my first venture into self-publishing:)

            Thanks for the link AK.

    2. Roger Lawrence Avatar

      I just published an anthology of short stories with Amazon last week. So far I’ve had 6 sales. In the UK, as far as I can see there is very little chance of achieving a publishing deal for short stories unless you are a well known author. I think word of mouth is the only way to get seen. That and all the usual inserts which simply annoy people on writers chat sites.

  6. Kitty Avatar

    It’s only beginning too, which could spell disastrous results for Indie publishers.

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