Australian Self-Publisher
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28 October 2019

Full program announced for SPN conference 2019

The Small Press Network (SPN) has announced the full program for its 2019 Independent Publishing Conference, which will run at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne from 21–23 November. It will feature 80 speakers in 36 different sessions, as well as two book launches and the presentation of the Most Underrated Book Award.

This year’s trade day on 22 November will feature sessions on diverse children’s books, reviewing, funding, copyright, legal deposit and lending rights, festivals, publishing business models, as well as an ‘ask me anything’ session with Wheeler Centre staff and a session on the career pathways of recent graduates from publishing postgraduate courses. The trade day will also include a Nielsen BookScan update, a session on the current research by Macquarie University examining the international rights sales and export of Australian books over the last 10 years, and a ‘state of the industry’ panel, featuring guests from industry trade bodies the Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Booksellers Association, the Australian Society of Authors, and the Australian Library and Information Association.

Author Toni Jordan will deliver the trade day keynote on her experiences of being edited and published, dealing with publicity and promotions, and having her work adapted and translated. The keynote will be followed by a Q&A with former bookseller Mary Dalmau.

The fundamentals day on 23 November will feature a keynote by publishing consultant Malcolm Neil on the changing markets in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia, alongside sessions on publishing timelines, how to write a marketing plan, rights and royalties, bookshops and events, metadata and marketing, cover design, audiobooks, website and social media, publishing platforms, publishing Indigenous stories, and getting books into libraries and schools.

The industry research day will feature a keynote by Claire Squires from Scotland’s Stirling Centre for International Publishing, as well as sessions on digital and virtual sites of publishing, popular fiction and physical and material sites of book culture.

SPN general manager Tim Coronel noted that SPN received ‘extra sponsorship late in the day from the City of Melbourne and Aboriginal Studies Press’, in addition to the support of the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund and industry sponsors Thorpe-Bowker, IngramSpark, Ligare, the ABA and Readings. ‘This ensures we have sufficient revenue to offer our speakers proper payment and to put on Australia’s biggest professional development event for the book trade,’ said Coronel.

‘Organising an event of this scale is a massive undertaking, and I have to thank my conference co-ordinator Jessica Harvie and her associate producers Bridget Black and Vidisha Srinivasan for all their hard work to date: there’s plenty more to come! The support and advice of SPN’s board is also very much appreciated.’

To view the program for each day and book tickets, visit the SPN website.

This news story first appeared in Books+PublishingBooks+Publishing is Australia’s leading source of print and digital news about the book industry, keeping subscribers up to date with the latest industry news, announcements, job advertisements, events, trends and more.
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‘Dinner Detectives’ books to be developed for TV

Melbourne-based production studio BES Animation has acquired world broadcast and digital content rights to self-published picture book series ‘Dinner Detectives’, with plans to develop the books into a multi-platform TV and digital offering.

BES Animation, best known for the children’s animated television series Kitty Is Not A Cat, will develop the ‘Dinner Detective’ books into a 2D animated television series aimed at 4–7 year olds, alongside a new interactive app and digital content. Production is set to commence in 2020.

First published in 2017, ‘Dinner Detectives’ attracted global interest when creators Yves Stening and Nigel Buchanan won Best IP Pitch at MIP Junior in 2018. The series follows siblings Clementine and Aksel, who travel back in time and explore the world learning about the history of the food we eat today.

Stening said BES Animation is ‘the perfect partner to take ‘Dinner Detectives’ to its next stage of creative development’.

BES Animation founder and director Bruce Kane said: ‘We are delighted to add “Dinner Detectives” to BES’ global development and production slate and look forward to transforming these much loved stories and characters to the screen for a global audience.’

This news story first appeared in Books+PublishingBooks+Publishing is Australia’s leading source of print and digital news about the book industry, keeping subscribers up to date with the latest industry news, announcements, job advertisements, events, trends and more.

Self-published books in the US grew by 40% in 2018

Self-publishing in the US grew by 40% in 2018, according to a report published by Bowker.

In total 1.68 million print and ebooks were self-published in 2018, up from 1.19 million in 2017.

According to the report, self-published print books were up by 45% for 2018, while Bowker data shows that self-published ebooks decreased by 0.82%, continuing a downward trend for the fourth consecutive year. Ebooks accounted for nearly 8% of all self-published titles in 2018.

Bowker ebook data is based on the number of ISBNs issued using its Identifier Services, and therefore does not include ebooks self-published on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform, which issues its own Amazon ASIP identifiers. As Publishers Weekly notes: ‘Amazon is considered to be largest publisher of self-published ebooks, even if no number is available.’

In light of the exclusion of Amazon’s ebook data, Bowker’s report shows that three platforms accounted for 92% of all self-published print and ebooks in 2018: CreateSpace, with 1.4 million self-published print titles last year; Smashwords, which published 71,969 titles in 2018; and Lulu, which published 67,477 titles.

Bowker vice president of publishing and data services Beat Barblan said, ‘As more authors take advantage of the abundant tools now available to publish, distribute and market their own books, we expect that self-publishing will continue to grow at a steady pace.’

This news story first appeared in Books+PublishingBooks+Publishing is Australia’s leading source of print and digital news about the book industry, keeping subscribers up to date with the latest industry news, announcements, job advertisements, events, trends and more.
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Finding what works (and doesn't work) in your marketing plan

Cultivating an active, long-term fan base for your work is key to becoming a successful independent publisher. However, building a substantial body of work is also critical, so you need to develop a balance between time spent growing and managing your fan base and writing time. The challenge is not identifying the things that waste our time (e.g. surfing the net) when we should be writing. We can all identify those—even if we sometimes lack the willpower to stop.

The challenge is identifying which, among a range of things you can do, benefit your career the most. Lucky for us, we can make this challenge easier if we apply a simple principle humans have understood for around 200 years—the Pareto principle. The Pareto principle, or 80/20 rule, states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. This is not some trendy business-speak—we have had a solid understanding of the 80/20 rule since the 19th century. It applies to human endeavours and many natural phenomena.

Applied to indie publishing, the 80/20 rule says that 80% of an author’s success comes from 20% of their efforts. The corollary to this is you waste 80% of your efforts for little gain. It’s quite likely you don’t know right now what marketing activities do benefit you, so over the next two months, I’m going to lead you through a couple of exercises that will first help you eliminate activities that are wasting your time, and then help you identify that 20% of efforts that will maximise your success.

This month, we’re going to start by conducting a marketing reset.

Conduct a marketing reset

I want you to stop for a while and complete an exercise for me. Don’t skip this because I bet once you have completed the exercise, you’ll feel a million bucks. We’re going to conduct a marketing reset.

Chances are, you have tried several things to spread the word about your books and increase sales. Chances are also that most of them didn’t work, or you aren’t sure if they worked. This exercise eliminates everything that doesn’t work for you, so you can concentrate on the things that do.

Step 1

  • Write out everything you have done in the last 12 months to promote your books and increase sales. It doesn’t matter what order, we’ll get to that next.

Step 2

  • Cross out everything on the list that didn’t increase sales. It doesn’t matter if you’re not sure at the moment—go with your gut feeling on what worked and what didn’t. With some of these activities, you will question yourself: you will wonder whether something you did caused them to fail. Don’t do this—go with your experience, not on what some guru says should or shouldn’t have worked.  If you don’t think it worked for you, cross it off.

Step 3

  • Look at the items you haven’t crossed out yet. Your list should only include items you are confident increased sales. For each remaining item, ask yourself, ‘Was it worth the effort?’ This is an important step, so take your time. Consider the time and money you spent on the activity. Looking at the results, would you do it again? Anything you don’t think was worth the effort, cross it off the list.

Step 4

  • Reorder the remaining activities (assuming you didn’t cross everything off the list), so the most beneficial is at the top of the list, and the least beneficial is at the bottom of the list. You can go with your gut feeling again if you’re not sure. If you crossed everything out, that’s OK.

Step 5

  • Stop doing everything you crossed out. Right now. Never do them again unless you learn something new and want to try them again.

How do you feel?

Like a huge load has been lifted?

Like you might find time to write now?

When I sat down and worked out what was working and what wasn’t, my business changed forever. I was doing less work and making more money. In fact, for six months in 2017, I was so busy at the day job, I did nothing at all—not a single social post or update or email—and my monthly income didn’t drop in any noticeable way.

So, now you have completed the exercise, you should have a shortlist of things you know to help your writing career. Your list may be empty, but that’s OK too because next month I will show you how to implement some book marketing techniques that work.

If you want a sample of what a complete marketing reset exercise looks like you can download one here.

Nigel George is an author and educator. He is the author of five books on technology and self-publishing. Originally traditionally published, he believes that authors have a far greater chance of success if they independently publish their books. When not writing and publishing more books, Nigel spends his time teaching other authors how to succeed at self-publishing. You can learn more about his work on his website.


Know your metadata, and other tips on modern marketing

When asked to nominate the biggest challenge facing marketers today, publishing consultant Rachael McDiarmid says her answer often surprises: ‘My tip for all marketers is to know your metadata—it’s all about bibliographic data, search and discoverability, and ensuring the supply chain has accurate information about your books. Only then can you market successfully.’ Andrea Hanke chats to McDiarmid about her best book marketing tips.

Your book’s metadata is the data that describes your book. It includes things like the book’s title and description, ISBN number, author info, price, publication date and format. Ensuring your metadata is accurate and consistent helps readers, booksellers and librarians know they’re making the right choice when they’re considering your book for purchase.

‘Ask any bookseller, library or library supplier what poor (“dirty”) metadata means for them—i.e. incorrect covers, old author bios, wrong book titles, no description—and they will tell you how many times they skip to the next book,’ says McDiarmid. ‘They don’t want to waste time investigating something you should have provided them with in the first place. If you want people to buy your books, give them as much information as possible to help them with their purchasing decisions.’

McDiarmid says that even in traditional publishing houses confusion over who is responsible for metadata is one of the biggest problems. ‘If you talk to marketing they think it’s the publishing team, if you talk to operations they think it’s marketing, if you talk to sales they think it’s IT—just mention ONIX and see where the discussion takes you! Metadata is the responsibility of everyone in the organisation and each person has a core role to play.’

So how should marketers (and self-published authors) get involved? By checking the metadata that is sent to the book trade, says McDiarmid. ‘Marketing staff should understand that what goes out in the ONIX and Excel spreadsheets to the book trade is essentially their book catalogue.’ They should ensure the metadata matches their promotional material and pay particular attention to the descriptions and subject classifications, ‘questioning whether the book is in the right product category and how they could add to the data to make it more meaningful for customers’.

In general, McDiarmid believes marketers today need to be much more savvy about the supply chain. ‘Product/inventory management is key,’ she says. ‘Managing customer requirements, supply and service expectations impacts the marketing and communications message. There’s no use having the best marketing campaign in the world if you can’t supply the books!’

McDiarmid says that despite the growth in digital marketing, there are still opportunities across various sales channels, including booksellers, specialist resellers, libraries, library suppliers and the author. However, it’s important to remember that not all books will have a market in bricks-and-mortar shops, as buyers are often focused on seeing the bigger publishers and distributors, and have little space on their shelves for titles from smaller presses.

Publishers also need to be aware of the changes to their customer base over the years,  including the closure of many specialist re-sellers and library and educational suppliers, as well as the move to online ordering. According to McDiarmid, ‘Online booksellers have become key accounts across publishers, which of course circles back to [the importance of] product/inventory management and metadata workflows.’

Rachael McDiarmid has worked in the Australian book trade for nearly 30 years, including roles in marketing, sales, senior management and library supply and book distribution. For the past five years she has been providing consulting and outsourcing solutions to large and small publishers through her business RM Marketing Services.

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IngramSpark launches brand new website

For the past few months, IngramSpark has been hard at work laying out an entirely new online experience for indie authors. Now, they’re sharing it with the world.

Check it out here.




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