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Weekly Write-Up: 17th October 2018

by Tom Ashford
Welcome to the SPF Weekly Write-Up, where each Wednesday we’ll be collecting together the self-publishing news of the week so you don’t have to.

Just two news stories this week. The winner of the Man Booker Prize is announced, and it’s official: self-publishing is growing at a faster rate than ever.

The Man Booker Prize

Yes, yes. We’re self-published authors and the Man Booker Prize still discriminates against us, like some confused old aunty at family gatherings who gives us pitying looks when we say we’re not traditionally published. But it’s part of the literary industry as a whole, and the books are always very good, and as writers we should also be readers, so I’m including it.

The shortlist (which cut down a lot of the more outlandish entrants, such as Nick Drnaso’s Sabrina, the first graphic novel to ever be longlisted for the award), includes the following books:

Milkman, by Anna Burns
Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan
Everything Under, by Daisy Johnson
The Mars Room, by Rachel Kushner
The Overstory, by Richard Powers
The Long Take, by Robin Robertson

And the winner is…

Milkman, by Anna Burns! Here’s the blurb:

In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous.

No idea what it’s supposed to be about (and apparently none of the characters have names), but I’m sure it’s very good.

Self Publishing is More Alive Than Ever

The reports are in: self-publishing grew at a rate of over twenty-eight percent in 2017 (for comparison: in 2016, self-publishing witnessed only an eight percent increase). That means that the total number of self-published titles grew from 786,935 to 1,009,188. That’s right – between all of us, we’ve published over a million books!

Having said that, self-published eBooks actually decreased by thirteen percent – the third consecutive year of downward figures. However, the self-publishing of print books actually increased by thirty-eight percent – the fifth consecutive year of print growth.

It would take a smarter man than me to work out what this means for the industry, but overall it definitely seems positive. Does the increase in print equal a rising demand from readers? Or are self-published authors simply more encouraged to produce print editions of their existing eBooks, rather than writing new eBooks?

What does it all mean?

Have a read of the Bowker report for yourself, here.

Tom Ashford

Tom Ashford

Tom Ashford is a professional copywriter, author of numerous dark fantasy and sci-fi novels, and the Head of Content at the Self Publishing Formula Blog. His books include the Blackwater trilogy and the Checking Out series.

He lives in London with his wife, in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets. Find out more about Tom here.