by Orna Ross CEO of ALLI
There are three kinds of self-publishing author, distinguished by their reasons for self-publishing and their attitude to readers and the business of author-publishing. At ALLi, we give them different names, so we know who we are talking about, and how to best serve them. ALLi Director Orna Ross is here to tell us about the three different types of self-publishing author.
Three Kinds of Self-publishing Author
1) The Self-Publishers
Those we think of as “the self-publishers” are primarily interested in writing, and the content of the book. Though they may also enjoy the tasks associated with publishing, they have relatively little interest in the business side of things. They “publish” their work in the sense of making it public but they don’t give much time or thought to other aspects of publishing, like marketing, rights licensing or running an author-publishing business.
For these writers, the publication is primarily self-expression of self, hence the moniker. They may, or may not, produce well-crafted writing and may or may not produce well-crafted books — but they are less interested in reaching readers than in expressing something and putting it out there. Often, they are publishing a book for family, friends or their own community.
Many self-publishing writers go to great trouble to create a great book but even if the craft is not perfectly executed, this does not mean that the effort itself is not valid, or in some cases even noble. We all know that writing is magic, a powerful agent of healing and transformation. What is not so often acknowledged is that so too is the act of publication. For a writer, and a self-publisher, a less-than-perfect book is often the way to a better one and the snobbery that has traditionally been meted out to these writers’ efforts is ill-judged, as snobbery always is.
Self-publishing is giving voice to many previously unheard writers and themes and democratizing access to book publication. This should delight anyone who claims to care about writing and writers.
2) The Indie Authors
These are the writers who are working to become fulltime author-publishers. Some arrive at this stage from having produced a book and now wanting to take it further: find readers, earn money, set up in author business. Others know before they’ve formatted a word that this is their ambition.
Becoming an indie author is not just about learning and doing the day-to-day labor of editorial and design and social media and author business or finding the tools and techniques and platforms that allow them to publish their book(s) well. Success in this challenging field usually calls for personal growth and a change of mindset. Indie authors are the core of ALLi’s membership, “indie”, not because it allows writers to borrow some secondhand cool from the worlds of film and music but because an independent growth mindset is core to what we do: our most defining feature, our most essential tool.
At ALLi, we spot when a self-publisher goes indie. The defining difference is that they think beyond the first book. They start setting and meeting creative goals and intentions. Soon they are finishing more books and reaching more readers, learning from their mistakes, experiments and explorations, and taking the lessons into the next book.
It takes the writer on the creative ride of their life and most need a good deal of help and support at the start to understand what it is to be an indie author and meet the new ideas and challenges. If they come to self-publishing thinking it’s second-best to trade-publishing, they can go through a tough time at first, and are more likely to fall away, defeated not so much by the work needed, as the attitude they’ve brought to the work.
Those who stay the course begin to engage with, not resist, the work inherent in good publishing: working with suitable beta readers and editors; understanding where their books fit in the wider publishing ecosystem; learning what genres and format and categories fit their projects; discovering what they have to say; finding their voice.
If they come to self-publishing thinking it second-best to trade-publishing, they can go through a tough time at first, and are more likely to fall away, defeated not so much by the work needed, as the attitude they bring to the work. Those who stay the course begin to engage with, not resist, the work inherent in good publishing.
3. The Authorpreneurs
Authorpreneurs are succeeding in author business. They have adopted an independent, creative growth mindset and embrace the idea that marketing and business, as well as writing, can be creative. They have mastered three different sets of skills: writing good books, publishing them well, and running an author business, a significant creative and commercial achievement.
And they are consciously applying entrepreneurial skills and mindset and digital tools to making a sustainable and ongoing living as an author.
They know how to promote, market, sell and profit from their writing, not as a once-off, but through the dedicated application of one of ten possible business models.
1. Book Sales Only, One Outlet
2. Book Sales Only, Multiple Outlets & Formats
3. Book Sales Plus Speaking or Performance and Other Content
4. Book Sales Plus Teaching
5. Book Sales Plus Reader Membership
6. Book Sales Plus Influencer Income
7. Book Sales Plus Patronage
8. Book Sales Plus Affiliate Income
9. Book Sales Plus Rights Licensing
10. Combination Model
Authorpreneur is a made-up word (author + entrepreneur), a new word for a new kind of job. Some dislike it, thinking it faddy or forced, but it is gaining traction in the self-publishing sector because there is no other word that so well describes this kind of author. Authorpreneurs have always been there. Charles Dickens, for example, ran business model number three, incorporating lucrative performances of his books into a regular writing routine that generated millions of words. Dickens understood the value of his copyright, running lengthy legal battles over infringement of his work in the US. Today digital tools and tech are seeing entrepreneurial authors emerging in far greater number.
This has led us to transform what was previously our Professional Membership to Authorpreneur Membership. More on that next week.
OVER TO YOU
Which of the three kinds of self-publishing author are you? Do you think there are other types of self-publishing authors?
By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief for Perspective Publishing
First Wave’ Deadline is July 15
A deadline has been issued by the Audio Publishers Association (APA) for the “first wave” of submissions to its high-profile Audie Awards.
Submissions are due July 15 for titles published between November 1 of last year and August 31. A second wave of submissions, covering titles published in September and October of this year will be due October 2.
Guidance from the APA assures publishers of the organization’s leniency and understanding of production and distribution challenges.
“We know that not every title will be ready for distribution by the first submission deadline,” the APA staff writes. “This is okay. Please do your best to submit titles by each deadline, but know that we will be lenient in imposing the late fee for titles published after the submission deadline No. 1 but before the beginning of the second entry period.”
There are no rule changes from the 2018 Audie Awards guidelines, and those entering will find full information here. Once more, for example, titles can be submitted in only one category with the exception of narrator categories and for the Audiobook of the Year award. An Audiobook of the Year award requires submission of a supplemental form (provided on the site) for use by jurors. That form is due October 31.
As with the change in timing that occurred this year, the 2020 Audies will again not be awarded during BookExpo but instead will be presented at a gala on March 2 in New York City.
Finalists are to be notified in January so that there’s time for extensive visibility to the news media and industry prior to the awards announcements through an extensive display on the APA site
Categories of Entry
- The Audie Awards are a large competition, with 24 categories, which is one reason that the program is considered by many to be the leading competition in the field. The descriptive notes on these categories are written by the APA.
- Fiction: For excellence in narration, production, and content of a fiction audiobook. This category is for titles that do not fit into specific fiction categories.
- Literary Fiction and Classics: For excellence in narration, production, and content of an audiobook of literary fiction or a classic.
- Mystery: For excellence in narration, production, and content of a mystery audiobook, usually featuring a protagonist trying to solve a crime, such as murder, committed early in the story.
- Thriller and Suspense: For excellence in narration, production, and content of a thriller/suspense audiobook, usually featuring a hero racing to stop a catastrophe.
- Science Fiction: For excellence in narration, production, and content of a science fiction audiobook, involving an alternate reality based on possible science (however far-fetched).
- Fantasy: For excellence in narration, production, and content of a fantasy or paranormal audiobook, involving a world of magic and fantastical creatures brought to life. For example, the story may contain fairies, wizards, vampires, zombies, ghosts, werewolves, etc.
- Romance: For excellence in narration, production, and content of an audiobook of romance, including romantic suspense, historical romance, erotica, etc.
- Nonfiction: For excellence in narration, production, and content of a non-fiction audiobook. This category is for those titles that do not fit into the specific non-fiction categories 9-11 below.
- History and Biography: For excellence in narration, production, and content of a historical or biographical audiobook (these two categories are combined since a biography is an account or history of a person’s life).
- Autobiography and Memoir: For excellence in narration, production, and content of an autobiography or a memoir. Both of these are an author’s account of their own life, whether straightforward (autobiography) or as a literary story drawn from the person’s life (memoir).
- Business and Personal Development: For excellence in narration, production, and content of a personal development or motivational audiobook.
- Faith-Based Fiction and Nonfiction: For excellence in narration, production, and content of a spiritual or faith-based audiobook.
- Humor: For excellence in narration, production, and content of a humorous audiobook.
- Short Stories and Collections: For excellence in narration, production, and content of an audiobook that consists of stories, essays, anecdotes, or other short prose or poetry elements.
- Original Work: For excellence in narration, production, and content of an audiobook that is not based on a print work.
- Young Listeners: For excellence in narration, production, and content of a children’s audiobook for ages up to 8, including audiobook + book sets.
- Middle Grade: For excellence in narration, production, and content of a children’s audiobook intended for middle readers, ages 8-12.
- Young Adult: For excellence in narration, production, and content of a teen audiobook, ages 13-18.
- Best Female Narrator: For excellence in the solo reading of an audiobook by a female, any category.
- Best Male Narrator: For excellence in the solo reading of an audiobook by a male, any category.
- Narration by the Author(s): For excellence in the reading of an audiobook by the author or authors of that audiobook, any category.
- Multi-Voiced Performance: For excellence in a multi-voiced performance of an audiobook, which includes multiple readers with little to no interaction, any category.
- Audio Drama: For excellence in a dramatic audio performance that includes actors portraying one or more fully voiced characters and uses interaction and dialogue as key elements. Audiobook of the Year: This award recognizes a title with high-quality content and production values, standing as a benchmark of excellence for the industry. The Audiobook of the Year should serve as a worthy ambassador to new and current listeners, and be a paragon of audiobook art. Additional items considered by the jury include success of marketing and publicity, visibility, impact, commercial success, and recruitment of new listeners to the format. Submission must include an Audiobook of the Year supplemental form (due no later than October 31), which will aid the judges in determining finalists. The winner will be chosen by a panel of celebrity authors.
The judging process for the Audie Awards goes in stages.
The initial stage is a qualifying round in which at least 30 minutes of each submission is listened to by judges, who then recommend whether the entry should move forward. The recommendations of several judges are compiled and titles are moved forward or not based on those aggregate recommendations.
In the second round, new judges listen to complete audiobooks submitted and then rank the titles they’re hearing.
A third set of judges then score the titles ranked for performance, direction, production, and content.
“Judges,” the program writes, “are selected from a wide variety of listeners, which includes audiobook fans and experienced evaluators, whose common enthusiasm for the format results in selecting the best productions that meet the organization’s four criteria: performance, direction, production, and content.
Audies judges are required to keep their judging assignments confidential. Full information and instructions can be found here.
The 2019 Sheikh Zayed Book Award winner in Children’s Literature Hussain Al Mutawaa counsels the publishing industry to promote issue-based children’s books.
By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief
Toward ‘Gentle Resistance’ in Children’s Literature
In the closing event of this year’s Sheikh Zayed Book Award program, the 2019 winners gathered on Thursday evening (April 25 on the main stage of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair).
Moderated by critic, researcher, and translator Khalil Al Sheikh and the prize’s secretary general, Ali Bin Tamim, the session followed the formal prize ceremony at Louvre Abu Dhabi on Thursday (April 24) and introduced the evening’s audience to this year’s group of winning writers, researchers, and language specialists in this program that awards a total of some US$1.9 million annually in prize money.
The program, created in 2006 and administered by Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, commemorates “the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founding president of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, and his pioneering role in promoting national unity and development.”
A Kuwaiti Poet Turns to Children’s Books
As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the children’s literature category is one for which the Zayed program offers translation funding to publishers, to help promote the program’s goal of widening Arabic literature’s reach.
And the winner this year of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award’s prize in children’s literature is the Kuwaiti writer and photographer Husain Al Mutawaa.
Mutawaa’s bachelor’s degree in literature and criticism is from the College of Arabic Language at the University of Kuwait. And while he began work in literature as a poet in 2009, he turned to stories in 2015 and then to novels.
His first book, Turab, was published in late 2017. And the children’s book for which he’s been honored with the Zayed Award is Ahlam An Akoun Khalat Asmant (I Dream of Being a Concrete Mixer), published in 2018 by Al Hadaek Group.
In the book, Al Mutawaa carefully explores parent-child relationships, the issue of family expectations, and factors that go into making a young person into a self-directed responsible personality. This, as readers learn, may involve the dichotomy of what in life is destructive, what is constructive, and when one may be preferable to the other.
In Praise of ‘100 Different Monsters’
Publishing Perspectives had a chance to speak with Al Mutawaa after the session in Abu Dhabi and—with the expert assistance of one of the book fair’s simultaneous interpreters, Tariq Chelmeran—we were able to ask him how he sees the generally accepted problem of a waning interest in reading among children.
First of all, Mutawaa says, the problem of a weakening “habit of reading” in many parts of the world, the Middle East included, “‘is an extension of a problem with many of our adult readers.”
In too much work for adults, he says, “They enjoy reading, but we remove the knowledge aspect of reading,” in favor of entertainment. “And this transfers to the children.”
It’s one reason, he says, that the approach of gamey, playful fun experiences at public-facing book-fair events may not, actually lead children to want to read, but instead to look for other diversions.
A child’s choice, he says, in exercising what she or he wants to read, becomes all the more important when marketing approaches are seen to be “introducing toys into this sector by force”—by the populist peer-pressure of much of modern advertising, for example—can remove the elements of exploration and discovery, let alone imagination.
Al Mutawaa, in looking at children’s books themselves, he says, sees that “The more you add pictures, the more you lessen the impact of text.
“If 100 people are asked to read the word beast or monster,” he says, “the result should be 100 different monsters.” A literature that truly lives in its words should trigger in each imagination something different and personal.
But today, he says, there’s such a major overhang of visual content that each child sees the same monster, “the ‘typical’ monster,” so the imaginations of young minds are never set free to devise beasts of their own making, with personally impactful elements of meaning.
“Our ability to imagine weakens,” he says.
And the key—while it’s hard so far to see the best mechanism for us to use amid so much new and expertly made visual entertainment—is to “Think of a wave. And now think of standing up on it,” surfing. “This is what we’re doing. We’re riding the waves” of popular culture at this period in publishing’s development.
The remedy is? “To face the wave,” he says to take a stand, to resist the impulse to join in on visual and lightweight fun and to write content “that’s very close to the world children know, something that speaks to their reality” rather than simply offering “fun” and light-hearted distraction as so many entertainments do. “We have to find a way around this problem. Children read my material because they find details of their own lives here.” There’s a difference here, Mutawaa says, from his writerly point of view, between communication and entertainment. And the far more important thing to do is to communicate values. He talks of how he’s being told by young readers that they’re inspired when reading his work, prompted by it to read others.
“This isn’t me thanking myself,” he says, “but it’s about a kind of realism, our daily issues, from real lif
And one of his favorite responses from his readership so far, Al Mutawaa says, came from a 6-year-old girl who read I Dream of Being a Concrete Mixer and asked her mother, ‘Why are you trying to force me to be a doctor.'” The girl had found a sense of independence in considering what she might like to do.
And Hussain Al Mutawaa is ready with a phrase to help his colleagues in publishing think of new ways to approach literature, particularly for youngsters in an era of powerful, distracting, imagination-weakening imagery and bombardment: “gentle resistance.”
Resist the temptation to ride the waves of entertainment, he says. Think of resisting, with gentle, supportive treatment of real-world issues and information.
“Start with literature,” he says. “And create ‘gentle resistance’ to what’s all around the popular industry today.