There is no such thing as overnight success. It takes a lot of time, dedication, and hard work, and yes, some days can feel harder than others. But the result can be worth it. To help stay inspired and motivated, here are some recent success stories and ideas for monetization. I also recommend reading Michael La Ronn’s “Reinventing the Path to Success” post, which talks about adapting, allowing yourself to fail, and taking risks.
Publishing Success Stories
Forbes: The Drops of God, a phenomenally popular series that has extended to 44 volumes since 2011, is now getting a deluxe presentation in America thanks to a partnership between Japanese publisher Kodansha and Amazon’s digital comics unit, comiXology.”
Forbes: “The independent book publishing industry has grown significantly over the years as the barriers to entry have lessened. A report by Statista highlights that growth year-over-year. With major technology companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, and others claiming a stake in the publishing industry – they have created unparalleled access for people looking to create content and publish books at a low or at no cost. In some of the same ways, independent authors and publishers alike have been able to create unique opportunities for themselves as well. Thomishia Booker, CEO of Hey Carter! Incorporated, is one of those business-savvy individuals.”
Publisher’s Weekly: “Every assistant with literary dreams, sifting through the slush pile, can now focus on the tale of Zakiya Dalila Harris, a former Knopf assistant editor who just sold her debut novel in a seven-figure deal. The Other Black Girl—a cheeky blend of horror, suspense, and cultural commentary that sends up the industry the 27-year-old used to work in—has been acquired by Atria’s Lindsay Sagnette after a 14-bidder auction.”
Publisher’s Weekly: “Netflix will produce a new series titled Zero, an Italian-language show based on the work of 27-year-old Antonio Dikele Distefano, a formerly self-published Italian author whose books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies since he signed with Mondadori.”
Publisher’s Weekly: “There are various bruising anecdotes about William Kent Krueger’s career arc as a novelist that will ring true to many a struggling writer: the early rejections by literary agents (there were 36); the paucity of crowds on those first bookstore appearances (where, he recounted, it wasn’t unusual for the audience to consist of “the bookseller and the bookseller’s cat”); the dreaded label as a midlist author. Though not necessarily a household name, Krueger is very much a success in the eyes of his longtime publisher, Atria. He’s just released his 20th novel with the Simon & Schuster imprint, This Tender Land (which debuted at #6 on PW’s hardcover frontlist fiction bestseller list), and, according to the publisher, more than two million copies of his books are in print. His story is an example of what publishers claim they want to do but find it increasingly hard to accomplish: grow an author.”
Monetization Tips and Ideas
ALLi’s Self-Publishing Advice Center: Mark Leslie Lefebvre advocates making money from short fiction, but make sure the rights revert back to you.
The Book Designer: “Have you ever tried searching on Google for a summary of a nonfiction book? If not, then you are about to find an enormous market where companies summarize books and share them with millions of readers around the world. Many of these readers also end up buying the full book in the end, which is why publishing a summary of your book may be an overlooked marketing strategy.”
Nonfiction Authors Association: “The academic market is an opportune segment for publishers because it uses books as a foundation for its existence. It includes, but is not limited to schools, foundations, research organizations, professional associations, libraries, students, and individual educators. This marketplace impacts people of all ages, from preschoolers to professionals. Regardless of grade, age, major, and choice of home, public, or private education, people’s need for books is ubiquitous.”
BookBaby Blog: “Selling books to non-bookstore buyers — for employee perks, sales incentives, or add-on value — requires you adopt the seven “Cs” to find success.”
IndieReader: 3 ways to sell more novels, including getting to know your readers individually and using non-fiction book tactics.
Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris: “I want you to keep the idea of “Superfans” in your mind as we talk about today’s topic. To create these Superfans, we need to make sure that we don’t do anything to frustrate our readers. In fact, our job is to make purchasing/following/subscribing as easy as possible.”
Oprah Mag: “Melinda Gates announced she is donating $250,000 to help underwrite the recently established Carol Shields Prize for Fiction, the first English language literary award to celebrate excellence in fiction by women writers in the United States and Canada, through her investment and incubation company, Pivotal Ventures.”
Interesting News To Keep An Eye On
Publisher’s Weekly: “Digital publishing platform Medium has acquired Glose, a digital reading platform and e-book and audiobook retailer based in Paris. Glose incorporates social media elements and allows readers to create book lists, comment on books, share a variety of information from passages highlighted in books to their personal reading goals. According to the company, what differentiates Glose from similar reading apps is that the sharing elements are more tightly integrated with the reading experience itself, allowing readers to comment from within the book, rather than opening a separate page.”
Forbes: “Five major digital publishers – Bustle Digital Group, Buzzfeed, Group Nine, Vice Media and Vox Media – reportedly are in talks to merge, possibly with each other, and possibly use SPACs to finally go public.”