We all know about the main distribution channels for indie authors: Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google. But there are alternative, and potentially lucrative ways, to sell your work. One such alternative is Gumroad, which allows writers, artists, and others to sell their work.
It doesn’t have to be limited to ebooks either. If you’re a non-fiction author, you can bundle products and sell resources/checklists/PDFs, online courses, additional research, and even services to go with your books. And if you’re a fiction author, you can sell subscriptions to your work. You can sell anything on Gumroad, even templates for professional resumes. Continue reading
Audiobooks are gaining popularity, but sounds are making their way into ebooks as well.
Back in 2013, Google submitted a patent to trigger sounds in ebooks. According to GoodeReader, “The sounds would be triggered by events within the book, such as lapping waves, an ominous crescendo, or maybe an outdoor market. The new application would have the sounds stored on a server and would be pushed out to the eBook users are reading at the time.”
Now, the startup Booktrack, which synchronizes movie-style soundtracks with ebooks, has been busy expanding its reach. This year alone, Booktrack has partnered with Microsoft and Hachette’s Little, Brown. According to DBW, Booktrack Classroom, which is used in over 15,000 classrooms, is integrating with Microsoft 365. Continue reading
In literature, what used to be taboo is now trending. According to Broadly, gay characters are gaining popularity in teen fiction. According to Broadly, it started in 2003 with David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy novel, though in the beginning it was still considered controversial. Now, according to author Simon Curtis:
“[Teenagers] expect [that] the book better be fucking [diverse]. It shouldn’t be just straight white kids like how it has been for the past hundreds of years. They are hungry for other stuff.”
Another new development is how self-published books are getting more mainstream (not too surprising, since there were 727,000 ISBNs were registered for self-published works, according to Publishing Perspectives). Bustle wrote a list of 10 indie YA novels people should read, which includes Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner, a book about a woman warrior fighting mermaids (whose childhood friend is a mermaid), Awoken by Sarah Noffke, a book about time traveling in your sleep, and The Magic Shop by Justin Swapp, a book about a shop that’s a front for a magical community.
There’s also the “girl” trend. FiveThirtyEight explored how the word “girl” keeps appearing in bestseller titles, and about 1 percent of fiction titles will have the word “girl” in the title this year. It’s unclear why, though part of it may be due to the success of a few books with the word “girl” in the title, such as The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl, and The Girl on the Train.
Fan fiction is also growing. According to Slate, “Harry Potter launched a phenomenon that’s seldom acknowledged and barely understood, but that’s as powerful and lasting as the books themselves: the first massive internet-born fandom.” People were able to connect internationally, and form large communities that in some cases have become associates of studios, such as Warner Bros.
Dystopian novels are considered evergreen, according to Publishing Perspectives. This could be because the real world seems bleak (though some good/interesting things have come out of bad news, such as a pop-up print newspaper finding success in Britain after Brexit, according to the New York Times).
The Internet is helping out print books, according to the New York Times. In Michigan, the independent bookstore Brilliant Books uses social media to deliver great customer service, and attracts a lot of book buyers.
On the flip side, ebooks are being tailored to people’s commutes. In New York, a platform called Subway Reads delivers shorts and excerpts to commuters for free and lets them choose what to read based on the length of their time on the subway, according to the New York Times.
Last, the publishing industry is getting more transparent. According to DBW, Inkitt has posted its author contract online to create a greater level of transparency in the publishing process for aspiring authors.”
What trends have you noticed? Please share in the comments!
This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Udemy LIVE conference, held at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. For those who may not know, I’ve had a course up on Udemy for three years, teaching DIY authors who to format ebooks and learn enough HTML and CSS to make their ebooks look professional. With so many options for making ebooks these days (like hiring someone, using Smashword’s meatgrinder, or leaving it up to Word or InDesign’s export functions and hoping everything still looks perfect), the course is geared toward a pretty specific audience. Still, it’s done pretty well and I’ve really enjoyed being part of the Udemy platform.
After a weekend of connecting with fellow instructors and meeting the Udemy folks, I’ve got an idea and an outline for a new course, about a completely different topic (dinosaurs). As a side note, if you’re interested in learning about what dinosaurs really looked like, and how we keep learning awesome new things about them (one dinosaur, Deinocheirus, was known for 50 by its giant arms, and then last year scientists discovered it actually looked like Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars, with a strange hump back, a big gut, a duck-bill, and horse-like hoofs), then please let me know and I’ll give you a discount when the course is published!
I learned a lot this weekend, and it’s interesting just how similar online courses are to ebooks. Not all of these are new concepts, but it was interesting to learn specific data about Udemy and to draw comparisons with indie publishing. Now, on to some more specific takeaways from the conference (in no particular order). Continue reading
With that in mind, there have been some interesting stories going around the interwebs lately that talk about the past. Continue reading