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Weekly Write-Up: 19th December 2019

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. This is the last Weekly Write-Up of 2018, so in case I don’t speak to you beforehand: Happy New Year!

This week: the perils of signing a series over to a traditional publisher, video games get the self-publishing treatment, and the Cover Design Awards shortlist is announced.

When Trad Publishers Go Under

I saw an interesting article this week (read the original piece here) on What Authors Should Do When Their Publisher Closes. It highlights, perhaps not intentionally, one of the potential pitfalls of traditional publishing… as well as the unfortunate lack of awareness some authors still have about their self-publishing options.

Many of the authors mentioned have series of books with the publisher, Midnight Ink, which are now in jeopardy – if Midnight Ink shuts down, what happens to the other books they write? Will another publisher want to pick up a series if they can’t have the rights to the first book? How much of a fight will these authors have to go through to get those rights back?

Admittedly, Mollie Cox Bryan is mentioned as considering “both submitting subsequent titles to other publishers as well as self-publishing.” But Kellye Garrett clearly doesn’t know of the creative freedoms (not to mention freedoms regarding one’s intellectual properties) of self-publishing, as this is her response: “unfortunately this is how the publishing business works sometimes and I just need to keep writing because that’s the only thing I can control.”

Come over to the dark side, Garrett. We control the content, the marketing, the platforms… you name it.

Self-Published… Games?

Books aren’t the only product that people can self-publish. Music’s an obvious one; anyone can upload their EP to iTunes or Spotify. Film is a little trickier to make a success of, but it’s certainly possible to garner some attention by promoting your video on Vimeo or YouTube.

Now video games are getting in on the action.

Discord is, for the most part, a chat app focused on video games, but they’re also becoming a platform for buying video games as well. And they’re not just open to big, AAA studios – anyone can release their game through Discord.

Why is this important? Self-published studios (or individuals) get 90% of the royalties. That’s more than the 70% revenue share that most game platforms offer… and more than Amazon offers for those selling eBooks, too.

Perhaps we’d see more competition for royalty rates in the book market… if Amazon didn’t hold such a huge share of it.

Cover Design Awards 2018: Shortlist

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that Stuart Bache, from over at Books Covered, was running the Cover Design Awards (no prize for guessing what they’re judging). The shortlist is in, and ready for your vote!

You can take a look at the shortlisted cover designs here.

There are some beautiful covers on display (and a couple I recognise from the SPF groups!). My favourites are those for Ghosted and The Raven Gang. Which ones do you like?

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.