Articles tagged "indie"

iBookstore showcases indie books in new Breakout Books section

You might notice something new on your next trip to Apple’s iBookstore: You! Independently-published books will be prominently featured as part of Apple’s new “Breakout Books” section. Featuring titles from independent authors, the section will work to highlight books that have been highly rated, regardless of how they have been promoted or who published them. In short, taste will rule. And for independent authors, that is incredibly good news.

The books that will be featured will be broken down into four categories: Romance, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Mysteries & Thrillers, and More to Explore (we’re guessing that encompasses everything that can’t be easily put into a genre). This kind of attention, putting a book front-and-center in front of millions of prospective readers is a huge opportunity for independent authors. In the past, publishers would fight over this “front-of-the-store” space, usually reserved for books with huge initial print orders and authors with highly established reputations. Now, just by writing a quality book, authors can find their book with the type of promotion that usually comes with a high sticker price.

According to the New York Times (Apple to Highlight Self-Published Books), one of the main motives for getting behind independent publishers was their pricing: independent authors sell their books at significantly lower costs than major titles (those produced by major publishers). This pricing model encourages readers to buy more independently published books than they would more expensive ones, further democratizing the marketplace.

While “Breakout Books” will not always be the center of attention on the iBookstore, it marks a major change in how digital booksellers are respecting independent authors and how quickly the marketplace is changing. In what was once a field dominated by six major publishers, there are now thousands of people each acting on their own, letting the quality of their work act as their best publicity.

As readers, would you buy a book that has been highly rated by other readers? As writers, how do you think this will change independent publishing? Do you know of any other digital bookstores that have this type of promotion? Let us know!

What to Read?

Finding recommendations for independently published books can be difficult. Over at The Guardian, Dan Holloway explains:

“As a reader, I believe life is too short: if I want a great thriller, there’s enough Mark Billingham and Tami Hoag to work through. If I choose to read self-published books it’s because I want something different.”

Holloway also outlines resources for finding well-reviewed self-published books. There’s the Indie eBook Review, which reviews recent self-published books, as well as IndieReader, which does an incredible job writing thoughtful reviews of some really interesting self-published books. All in all, Holloway paints a portrait of a burgeoning literary culture surrounding independently published books, one that’s sure to grow as self-publishing becomes the dominant force in the literary marketplace. As a writer, it’s incredibly important to keep track of who is writing reviews and what kinds of books garner attention, especially if you want your title to find a large audience.

Another great resource is Booklamp.org, the “home of the Book Genome Project. Similar to how Pandora.com matches music lovers to new music, BookLamp helps you find books through a computer-based analysis of written DNA.”

A great way to make sure your own book gets reviewed is to look into some of Lulu’s reviewing services, including options to have your book reviewed by Kirkus or Clarion reviews.

So, where do you find help selecting books to read? What websites or book reviews are helpful? Do you think self-published books are getting the right amount of respect from reviewers? Have you ever reviewed someone else’s book online? Let us know!

Additional Reading:

Top Awards for Independently Published Authors

As the end of the year nears, it seems like every few weeks another round of traditionally published books and authors win the Pulitzer, Man Booker, National Book Critics Circle, and Hugo awards — to name a few. It feels endless — and sometimes deflating. What about the independently published authors who’ve put their heart, soul and countless hours into their books?

Let’s face it: the desire to win an award is two-fold. Not only does it give you, as the author, validation, but it also gives you more credibility among readers looking for their next good read. There are plenty of awards out there specifically for independent authors. Here we list just a few worth submitting to:

Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards: Yes, you read correctly. This is sponsored by the same Writer’s Digest many of us read for advice, so you know it’s legit. Although submissions are closed for this year, future authors take note. Entering a book into one or more of their nine open genres means you have a chance to win $3,000 (or $1,000 for nine runner-up winners), a paid trip to the annual Writer’s Digest conference in New York City, access into a number of new distribution channels, 10 copies of your book for submission to major publishing houses, and much, much more.

Next Generation Indie Book Awards: It’s been five years since the first awards were handed out, and it’s still going strong! Enter your book into one of more than 60 categories and you may be the recipient of a cash prize of up to $1,500, you’ll be attending the gala awards ceremony in New York City, and you’ll be listed in the awards catalog, which goes to “thousands of book buyers, media, and others” according to the website.

Independent eBookstores

Malaprops Independent Bookstore in Asheville, North Carolina

Malaprops Independent Bookstore in Asheville, North Carolina

It was only a matter of time: eBooks have gone indie. New, smaller websites are capitalizing on the success of eBooks by offering a boutique, curated experience which allows independent booksellers to promote less mainstream eBooks, including ones that have been self-published. By creating a culture around selected titles, indie eBookstores are acting like independent bookstores used to back in their heyday. With “staff picks,” events, and author interviews, these indie eBookstores are the future of a mediated and targeted book-buying experience.

One eBookstore, Emily Books, which bills itself as “An Indi(e) Bookstore,” has a subscription plan. It mails out recommended eBooks as well as entitles the subscriber “to exclusive events and priceless feelings of satisfaction, sophistication, and intellectual superiority.”

In an interview with The Billfold, co-founder Emily Gould  tells readers why they should look for eBooks from these emerging websites:

“If you buy a book from Emily Books, two genius ladies with great taste have not only okayed it, they’ve worked really hard to share it with you.”

Another indie ebookshop, OnlyIndie, allows independent authors to competitively price their works, as well as increase their returns as the book gains popularity.

So the personal touch has begun to be given to eBooks. As a writer, this is an incredibly good thing. It means the book culture that fawns over smaller books, ones without a large publisher behind them, can now begin to do the same with eBooks.

Booksellers don’t only play a role in making sure you get a book into your hands, they make sure you get the right book. That’s why independent bookstores have long fostered a community that prizes great books over ones with mass appeal.

As a Lulu author, it makes sense to reach out to these emerging indie ebookshops to see if they’re interested in offering your eBook. By not only having a bookseller, but a champion of your work, selling your book, you instantly expand your appeal and visibility. It’s apparent that in the coming years, more and more of these indie ebookstores will enter the market, and the author that knows how to tap into their energy will be one who not only finds a broader audience, but also an energized bookseller.

Infographic: 10 Remarkable Years

Thank you to our authors and readers for making this 10 remarkable years in self-publishing. Check out this awesome info graph to see how we’ve grown.