Archive for the ‘Self-publishing’ Category

Self-Pubbed Book Tops NYT Best Seller List

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

The BetSelf-publishing reaches a new milestone this week. The number one title on the 4/28 NYT Combined Print & E-Book Fiction Best Seller list is a self-published novel, The Bet, by Rachel Van Dyken (read excerpts on the author’s blog).

This is the first time since the NYT began publishing separate ebook best seller lists in February of 2011 that a self-pubbed title has topped the combined list (Wait For You by J. Lynn and Hopeless by Colleen Hoover both hit #1 on the ebook only list, but didn’t break through on the combined list, where they appeared at #2. Both authors subsequently signed with traditional publishers. Fifty Shades of Grey did not appear on the NYT lists until after it was picked up by Random House).

A total of three self-published titles are on the current combined list of fifteen, two of them in the top ten, an evolving shift from the first lists, which had none.

Idaho author Van Dyken has published several historical romances with Astraea Press. She tells Forbes in an interview that Astraea was uncomfortable with The Bet because it falls into the “New Adult/Contemp” category and it “only does sweet romance,” so she decided to self-publish through Amazon’s CreateSpace.

While many of the author’s previous e-books are available via OverDrive, this one is not. It is also published in mass market paperback (ISBN: 978-1483918778), but it is not currently listed on wholesaler databases.

Daily NYT Book Critics Picks of 2012

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

How often do the NYT daily book reviewers agree with their colleagues on the Sunday NYT Book Review?

Only about a third of the time, judging by the overlap between best books selections by the two publications.

Download our Excel files compiling the various Best Books lists here:

The daily reviewers go their own way. Of the total 30 picks, 8 have not appeared on other Best Books lists we’ve been tracking (we don’t track all of them, focusing on the most influential consumer lists and those from library publications).

Critic Michiko Kakutani breaks ground by being the first to choose a self-published title as a best book, The Revolution Was Televised by’s TV critic Alan Sepinwall.

Michiko Kakutani’s 10 Favorite Books of 2012 — Unique picks:

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs And The Great Age Of American Innovation, by Jon Gertner (Penguin Press).

The Twelve Tribes Of Hattie, Ayana Mathis, (Alfred A. Knopf) — this is also the current Oprah pick.

The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers And Slayers Who Changed Tv Drama Forever, Alan Sepinwall, (self-pubbed under the nameWhat’s Alan Watching?)

Janet Maslin’s 10 Favorite Books of 2012 — Unique picks:

Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle To Save The World, Evan Thomas (Little, Brown)

Dwight Garner’s 10 Favorite Books of 2012 — Unique picks:

Poems 1962-2012, Louise Glück (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Fire In The Belly: The Life And Times Of David Wojnarowicz, Cynthia Carr (Bloomsbury).

In Praise Of Messy Lives: Essays, Katie Roiphe (Dial)

The Richard Burton Diaries , Edited By Chris Williams (Yale University Press)

Alien Vs. Predator: Poems, Michael Robbins


S&S Gathering WOOL

Monday, December 17th, 2012

WoolA book that’s been called the “Sci-fi Fifty Shades of Grey” (as in, a self-published book that became such a hit that Hollywood came knocking — NOT because it takes eroticism into space), Hugh Howey’s Wool, is going to be released in paperback and hardcover by S&S, this coming March. Wool began life as short story, followed by four more titles, which are collected in Wool – Omnibus Edition (Amazon/CreateSpace; 9781469984209), available through wholesalers as print-on-demand and owned by several libraries.

Back in April, Howey told Publishers Weekly, that he had not made a deal with an American publisher (although he had one with Random House in the UK), because he found the terms being offered unattractive. On his Web site, Howey says he decided to go with S&S because, “This deal is all about the new publishing paradigm. There are no clauses limiting what I can write and how quickly I can release. I keep control over the ebooks, which means the prices will stay where they are.”

While he doesn’t mention it specifically, he has chosen to go with a publisher that does not make their ebooks available to libraries. He does mention libraries in his announcement of the deal, but makes a common erroneous assumption about the preferred library format:

And it gets better. Simon and Schuster is planning a simultaneous paperback and hardback release … It’s the best of all possible worlds. Affordable e-books published swiftly, paperbacks where anyone can find them, hardbacks for the libraries.

Ridley Scott is producing the film and has hired J. Blakeson as the director.

Below, Howey gives many more details about the book deal (as part of the post, “Luddites, Rejoice!” because print book are for Luddites. Presumably, that includes libraries):


Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The man credited with “changing the nature of television criticism” by Slate, Alan Sepinwall, recently published a new book, The Revolution Was Televised. After Michiko Kakutani’s glowing review in yesterday’s New York Times, it rose to #133 on Amazon Sales Rankings. It has also been covered by Time magazineThe New Yorker, the Hollywood Reporter and USA Today.

But, no libraries own it.


Sepinwall chose to self-published the book. It appears to be available only through Amazon and hasn’t been reviewed by library publications.

The Revolution Was Televised: The Cops, Crooks, Slingers and Slayers Who Changed TV Drama Forever
Alan Sepinwall
Retail Price: $16.99
Paperback: 306 pages
Publisher: What’s Alan Watching? – (2012-11-21)
ISBN / EAN: 0615718299 / 9780615718293

Mariah Mundi’s Sequel

Thursday, November 1st, 2012


There’s no official release date yet for the film adaptation of G. P. Taylor’s Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box, but its sequel already has the green light. Producer Peter Bevan told The Northern Echo, that the decision “has been very much based upon how happy we are with the first movie as it comes together, and reactions from test audiences.”

The budget for the British production is estimated at $25 million and is expected to be released in 2013.

The author, a former vicar, self-published his first novel Shadowmancer. Word of mouth took off and British publisher, Faber and Faber bought the rights to it as well as Taylor’s next ten books, for £3.5million. It was published here by Penguin/Putnam in 2004 and spent ten weeks on the NYT Children’s Hardcover list, two of them at #1.

The Midas Box was considered a successor to the Harry Potter series in the U.K., but it was not as successful in the U.S. as Shadowmancer. Two more titles in Mariah Mundi series, The Ghost Diamonds and  Ship of Fools, have been released in the U.K., but not here.

A New Sylvia Day

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012


Word is out that the second title in Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, Reflected in Youis coming October 2, causing it to rise on Amazon’s sales rankings, where it is currently #24.

The series began with Bared to You, widely considered the successor to Fifty Shades of Grey, (the author objects to this, pointing out that both books were published at the same time, in an interview on the romance site, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books)Like Fifty Shades, it was originally self-published and then picked up by a traditional publisher, in this case, Penguin/Berkley. In its first week of reissue it hit the New York Times trade paperback list at #4.

Unlike Fifty Shades author, E. L. James, however, Day has published several books in other genres — historical, fantasy, and paranormal — with traditional publishers Kensington and Macmillan/Tor, before trying the self-published route. Many libraries own several of Day’s earlier titles.

During their interview with the author, Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Jane Litte of, talked about the similarities and differences between Day’s series and Fifty Shades. While Litte says readers who liked Fifty Shades are likely to enjoy Bared to You, the latter is darker and doesn’t have the “Cinderella quality” of Fifty Shades. In a review on DearAuthor, she suggests “it is what 50 Shades could have been.” (see Smart Bitches list of other Fifty Shades read-a-likes).

Another Self-Pubbed Hit in Hollywood

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Nobody knows how well Fifty Shades of Grey will do as a movie. It’s still a long way from arriving in theaters; it doesn’t even have a director, let alone a cast yet. Nevertheless, Hollywood is hot on the trail of the NEXT Fifty Shades.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, a bidding war is on for Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster. The book began as a self-published title, from Amazon’s CreateSpace. After appearing on the NYT E-Book Fiction best seller list, where it reached high of #9, it was picked up for publication by the Atria division of Simon and Schuster and is coming out in August. Atria also signed Walking Disaster, which, according to the publisher, “will continue this story from a different and surprising point of view.”

The Hollywood Reporter says, “The book is seen as being similar in tone to Fifty Shades but in a YA vein and without all the kinky sex. That makes it very attractive to Hollywood studios, which are concerned that audiences might shy away from a Fifty Shades movie due to the graphic scenes.”

It has a 4.13 rating on GoodReads, from nearly 26,000 readers.

Beautiful Disaster
Jamie McGuire
Retail Price: #15
Paperback: 446 pages
Publisher: Atria Books – (2012-07-12)
ISBN / EAN: 1476712042/9781476712048

S&S Audio

Erotic Explosion Is On Its Way

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

With the overwhelming success of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (still in the top spots of the USA Today best seller list after 19 weeks), it should be no surprise that publishers are looking for lightning to hit twice.

USA Today writes that Fifty Shades read-a-likes are on their way. The first successor, Bared to You, by Sylvia Day, Penguin/Berkley’s contribution to the genre, is already a hit. It arrived at #36 on USA Today‘s best seller list and rose to #10 last week. Like Fifty Shades, it was originally self-published. The cover gives a nod to its predecessor, featuring cuff links and the words, “He possessed me, and obsessed me.” It is, of course, the first in a trilogy.

USA Today also comments that Fifty Shades was not the first in the genre; they cite Zane, who was a self-published author before she was picked up by Atria in 2001. Coming this summer is Z-Rated: Chocolate Flava III (S&S/Atria, 8/28), an anthology of erotic fiction, edited by Zane.

Bared to You: A Crossfire Novel
Sylvia Day
Retail Price: $15.00
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade – (2012-06-12)
ISBN / EAN: 0425263908 / 9780425263907

Brilliance Audio

How To Get Excellent Placement on Amazon

Monday, June 18th, 2012

How can you get your self-published book noticed on Amazon? First, publish with Amazon Kindle Direct. Next write an essay entitled, “How Amazon Saved My Life.”

That’s what Jessica Park did. As a result, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos featured her book in a letter to customers on Amazon’s home page (he also pointed out that 22 of the top 100 Kindle eBooks were written by self-published authors).

No surprise, the book is now rising on the Kindle best seller list. Despite the heavy promotion, however, it hasn’t yet cracked the top 100 list (currently, it’s at #372).

The book is available to libraries for digital download via OverDrive and B&T’s Axis 360 (ISBN 9781458164407). It is also available in paperback from Amazon’s CreateSpace (ISBN 9781461085973). It is listed as a children’s book for ages 8 to 9.

Self-pub to Trad Pub

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Self Published Edition

Another author has crossed over from self-publishing to a Big Six publisher. Tracey Garvis Graves, whose book On the Island, was bought by Warner for a movie adaptation in mid-May after having been on the NYT eBook best seller list for several weeks, has now landed a two-book deal with Penguin.

Penguin/Plume Edition

The novel, about a 30-year-old teacher shipwrecked with teenage boy she was tutoring, was originally published in paperback through Amazon’s self-publising division (Amazon/CreateSpace, 9781466363212, 3/14/12) and as an ebook (available on B&T’s Axis 360). Penguin will re-release it in paperback on July 17 (97801421967240) with a more glamorized cover. The egalley is available on Edelweiss and on NetGalley.

The author’s second book, Covet, will be released in hardcover by Penguin/Dutton in the spring.

USA Today reports the news today; the author expressed her excitement about the deal on her web site last week.

Since publishers are obviously eager to uncover popular self-published titles, GalleyCat, a publishing industry blog, just announced that it will begin tracking best selling self-published titles on Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.

Hollywood Discovers Ebooks

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

It seems three instances are sufficient to declare a trend. Variety rounds up the news of three ebooks optioned for movies recentlyWool, On the Island and, of course, Fifty Shades of Grey. Says literary agent Jody Hotchkiss,”The effect is that [producers are] looking more closely than ever at the ebook [best seller] list for the original ebook bestsellers.”

Variety provides a list of  “currently high-charting ebooks” that have not yet been optioned, some of which are self-published. The list illustrates the range of publishing options these days, as well as the range of challenges for selectors.

The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst — from Entangled Publishing, a non-traditional publisher that selects titles from submissions, and focuses on marketing and promotion, rather than editing (or, as they say, “we let writers do what they do best”). As profiled by Publishers Weekly in January, the company was launched in 2011 by a group of authors to expand publishing opportunities for genre writers, the selections focus on romance. The Marriage Bargain has been on the NYT Combined Print & E-Book best seller list for 6 weeks, as of the current list, reaching a high of #10. A sequel, The Marriage Trap, is coming in June.

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire — from CreateSpace, the self-publishing company owned by Amazon. Available in both paperback and ebook, it is on the NYT eBook only list, at #25, after two weeks. The paperback is available through wholesalers and the ebook from B&T’s Axis 360.

Mongoliad by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear and others — began life as an online subscription. Amazon Publishing’s science fiction imprint, 47North, released Book One in paperback, available through wholesalers. It’s not on the NYT lists but is at #89 on Amazon’s Science Fiction and Fantasy list. Brilliance (also now owned by Amazon) released the audio.

Beauty by Laurell K. Hamilton — is a 33-page ebook-only “Vampire Hunter outtake,” published by Penguin/Berkley. It landed at #14 on the NYT eBook only list this week and is not available for library lending.


Amanda Hocking, from Self-Publishing to Major Book Deal

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

The poster girl for self-publishing, Amanda Hocking (her ten YA urban fantasy and paranormal romances have grossed around $2 million since she began publishing them through Amazon’s CreateSpace last year), was profiled in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.

But she recently abandoned her self-pubbed status for a major deal with St. Martin’s. Why? She tells the NYT Magazine that she wants “…to reach as many people as possible among the 85 percent or so of the population who don’t have e-readers yet. For me to be a billion-dollar author…I need to have people buying my books at Wal-Mart.” Also, there is a concern that major retailers will not want to stock books published by their competitor, Amazon.

St. Martin’s will publish Hocking’s Trylle trilogy (already in paperback by CreateSpace and on Kindle) in August, 2012. The original Watersong series begins Fall 2012.

Trylle trilogy

Switched 9781250006318; January 8, 2012 (currently available from CreateSpace, pbk, July 5, 2010; 9781453688939)

Torn 978125000632; February , 2012 (currently available from CreateSpace, pbk, Nov. 15, 2010, 2010; 9781456355791)

Ascend 9781250006332; April 2012 (currently available from CreateSpace, pbk, Jan. 11 2011, 2010; 9781456541286)

Watersong (exact pub dates not set for later titles in the series)

Wake 9781250008121; August 2012

Lullaby 9781250008107; (Fall 2012)

Tidal 9781250005663 (Winter 2013)

Elegy 9781250005670 (Spring/Summer 2013)

Yesterday, Amazon announced that another self-published author, John Locke, has joined their “Kindle Million Club,” for authors who have sold over 1 million paid copies in the Kindle Store. The author of mysteries and westerns, Locke publishes his paperbacks through self-publisher Telemachus Press and uses Kindle Direct Publishing for his ebooks.

If Amazon authors choose to do so, they can make their eBooks available to libraries through OverDrive; but neither Hocking nor Locke are listed on OverDrive’s database.

She’s Not Having It

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Dierdre Donahue goes after the first novel Anthropology of an American Girl in today’s USA Today, while asking why it connected with young women (as attested to by both Entertainment Weekly and the The Wall Street Journal) in its original 2003 self-published form (it’s been re-edited and re-released by Spiegel and Grau, the the boutique imprint of Random House). Donahue likens the experience of reading this book about a young woman’s coming of age, to being “trapped inside the secret diary of a super-cool narcissist with a titanium-strength ego that no plot twist can dent.”

In The Washington Post, Carolyn See was much more charitable, saying the book is a “very respectable and serious descendant of the work of D.H. Lawrence.” although she’d like it better if it were a little less serious. Nonetheless, she “finished this book with regret. Hamann has put together a carefully devised, coherent world, filled with opinions that need to be spoken — and heard.”

Several libraries own the original, 2003 edition as well as the new one. Holds are heavy (10:1) on light ordering.

Anthropology of an American Girl
Hilary Thayer Hamann
Retail Price: $26.00
Hardcover: 624 pages
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau – (2010-05-25)
ISBN / EAN: 0385527144 / 9780385527149

Books on Tape; UNABR; 20 CDs; Narrator: Rebecca Lowman (Amer.); 9780307736321; $60
OverDrive WMA Audiobook, MP3 Audiobook and Adobe EPUB eBook