Self-Publishing: Write in Public, Presales, Podcasts

NFT #0092 from the Meta Trends collection.

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“The good news about self-publishing is you get to do everything yourself. The bad news about self-publishing is you get to do everything yourself.” — Lori Lesko

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❓ What You’ll Learn

  • ✍️ How to write in public?
  • ⚖️ How to validate demand?
  • 🤓 How to build a community of readers?
  • 📚 How will AI streamline book creation?
  • 🎙️ How to market books on podcasts?
  • 🚅 How to write about rapidly-changing topics?
  • 📤 How to use print-on-demand?

💎 Why It Matters

Gatekeepers have historically decided what gets published.

🔍 Problem

Traditional publishers act as gatekeepers. They pick what you read.

💡 Solution

Self-publishing makes it easier for you to publish “long-tail” books. With more control and upside. See:

🏁 Players

Self-Published Authors

Self-Publishing Tools

  • Gumroad • Publish and sell ebooks
  • Hemingway • Check the complexity of your writing
  • Grammarly • Check your grammar and spelling
  • Scrivener • Create, manage and publish your writing
  • Ulysses • Writing app with built-in proofreader and editing assistance
  • Magic Author • Write, translate and format your books
  • Typora • Minimalist markdown editor

Self-Publishing Services

  • Foster • Get help from writers, editors, and experts.
  • Scribe Media • Write, edit, publish and market your books with premium guidance
  • StreetLib • Distribute your ebooks, audiobooks comics and more
  • Reedsy • Find editors, designers, marketers, ghostwriters and more
  • Ebook Launch • Edit, design and format ebooks
  • PrintNinja • Print hardcover and paperback books

🔮 Predictions

☁️ Opportunities

🏔️ Risks

  • Launching to Crickets • You’ll launch into the void if you don’t market the book before publishing.
  • Competitor Risk It’s hard to stand out among ~1,700,000 self-published books per year.
  • Platform Risk • You’re subject to platforms’ terms and fees.

🔑 Key Lessons

  • Small books can be successful too. Sacha Greif wrote Step by Step UI Design. A 40-page book that generated $6,663 in 48 hours and $25,000 in a month.
  • Self-publishing leads to higher royalty rates. Traditional publishers pay 10% royalties on average. While self-publishers can get up to 70% when selling on marketplaces and up to 97% when selling directly.
  • Self-publishing helps authors take full control over their books. This unlocks creative control, higher revenue and rights licensing.Self-publishing unlocks long-tail ideas. Without gatekeepers, we experiment more, fail more and succeed more.

🔥 Hot Takes

  • Writing books is largely a charitable act. Don’t write to make money. Write to get a message out. Seth Godin says “Publishing a book is really nothing but a socially acceptable opportunity to promote yourself and your ideas far and wide and often”.
  • We’ll see entire comics or graphic novels generated with DALL·E 2. Julian Glander used DALL·E 2 to generate art and GPT-3 Playground to generate text for Frog Comic.

😠 Haters

“Self-publishing transfers the responsibilities of traditional publishers to authors. Which I don’t want.”
You can control the production process as a self-published author. It can be wise to take the traditional route if you prioritize writing over publishing. If you get permission to.

“Traditional publishers invest their own money, not mine.”
With great risk comes great reward. Traditional publishers do risk their money. Be it non-refundable book advances or publishing costs. That’s why they keep up to ~90% of yours.

“Self-publishing has led to more noise. These days everyone’s an author.”
We can’t blame people for following their dreams. With 1% acceptance rates, traditional publishing is a tough field to stand out. Rob Hope says “all you need to do to be an author is to just put in the work”.

“Traditional publishers signal quality.”
Traditional publishers are experts at picking and publishing quality books. Yet their judgment is not error-free. Amanda Hocking received rejections for 9 years. She went the self-publishing route. Sold 1,500,000 books. Then signed a $2,000,000 deal with St. Martin’s Press.

🔗 Links

  1. Looking for self-published authors • The tweet behind this report. 
  2. Print On Demand 101Steven Spatz talks about how to self-publish books with print-on-demand
  3. Amazon International Markets ExplainedDave Chesson talks about selling Kindle books internationally

📁 Related Reports

🙏 Thanks

Thanks to Rob Hope, Eric Chou, Soma Mandal, Maciej Cupial, Stewart Townsend, Tyler Priest, Krish and Shashank. We had a great time jamming on this report.
✏️ Emin researched and wrote this report. Dru researched and edited this report.

📈 What else?

Trends PRO #0092 — Self-Publishing has more insights.

What you’ll get:

  • 31 Self-Published Authors (244% More)
  • 37 Self-Publishing Tools (428% More)
  • 16 Self-Publishing Services (166% More)
  • 10 Predictions (233% More)
  • 18 Opportunities (260% More)
  • 7 Risks (133% More)
  • 10 Key Lessons (150% More)
  • 5 Key Lessons (150% More)
  • 10 Links (233% More)

With Trends Pro you’ll learn:

  • (📈 Pro) How to boost the perceived value of your book?
  • (📈 Pro) How to keep up to 97% of royalties?
  • (📈 Pro) How to upsell?
  • (📈 Pro) How to combine books with NFTs?
  • (📈 Pro) How to find grants for authors?
  • (📈 Pro) How to turn books into lead magnets?
  • (📈 Pro) How to use value-based pricing?
  • (📈 Pro) What are hybrid authors?
  • (📈 Pro) How to fund your book?
  • (📈 Pro) How to find professional services?
  • (📈 Pro) How to turn your experience into a book?
  • (📈 Pro) How to break through noise?
  • (📈 Pro) How to reduce friction?
  • (📈 Pro) How to build appealing book visuals?
  • (📈 Pro) How to boost your book’s visibility?
  • (📈 Pro) What to do before writing a book?

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