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Why Self-Publishers Authors Must Meet Each Other!

Posted by Tom Chalmers on October 12, 2016 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (17)

While the internet is full of self-publishing groups and forums, writing by its nature can be a solitary business. Never mind writing a bestseller, I have great respect for anyone who has had the dedication and persistence to sit and write by themselves an entire novel! It is not something I think I would be capable of.

However, while there is much information out there now which helps self-published authors choose their options carefully and receive advice and tips from writing to sales and marketing, there is nothing like face-to-face meetings for authors wherever possible. The most useful information, rather than from pre-conceived questions, can be gained through conversations with those that have gone through part or all of the experience themselves.

Furthermore, all writers need a confidence boost to keep them writing through those solitary hours and there is no better way to receive one than to share stories with those that are or have been on the same writing quest. As a result, I would recommend all self-published authors take every opportunity to meet with other writers, self- or traditionally published, whenever possible.

And for those in the UK, such an opportunity can be found at New Generation Publishing’s annual Self-Publishing Summit at King’s College London on 12th November. As part of the Legend Tmes Group, I am always delighted to see a range of big industry names from the traditional and self-publishing sectors mix with authors with a wide-range of experience and backgrounds for an informative, positive and fascinating day. For details of the Self-Publishing Summit see:


The Summit will provide a wealth of information, suggestions, tips and guidance and, maybe as importantly, it will provide a chance for industry professionals and writers to meet and share experiences with each other.


Digital and Self-Publishing are now Profitable Words

Posted by Tom Chalmers on April 11, 2016 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Digital and self-publishing were once words often be disregarded by some quarters of the publishing industry, questioned by others and looked upon as being the future by a few. Since then they have continued to raise as many questions as answers in terms of how to get the best out of them, but what is clear is how they have grown in prominence to become key words within the publishing world.

The current self-published e-book market is clearly in a period of quite sustained growth. At the recent Nielsen BookInsights Conference Steve Bohme, research director at Nielsen Book UK, noted that sales of self-published e-books rose from 16% of the e-book market by volume in 2014 to over a fifth of the market (22%) in 2015. Although the overall price paid for e-books was said to have fallen by around 1% in 2015, self-published titles were still thought to be, on average, roughly half the price of mainstream publishers’ e-book titles.

Focusing more on the e-book market, data taken from the Nielsen Books & Consumers UK survey showed that sales in the UK grew by 5% in volume in 2015. This is a positive figure but does highlight a lower growth rate than in 2013 and 2014, leading to the e-book share of books rising only marginally last year by 1% to 27% of the market from 26% in 2014. There is some evidence to suggest that this increase, in part, could be due to a rise in the purchasing of Amazon/self-published titles. This is especially apparent when you take into account the fact that e-book sales from mainstream publishers was slightly down on 2014 figures.

It’s obvious that success in self-publishing – print, e-book or both - is much more than just being able to write. In the modern publishing arena getting your work out there is easier than it’s ever been. The plethora of self-publishing companies and portals life make the process simple and relatively inexpensive.

But the big question remains - how to make all this hard work profitable? Whether digital or in print it takes hard work and the exploration of all potential avenues to generate decent levels of revenue. Of course rights and licensing will continue to play an important role in this and with the digital sector developing at such a rapid pace it’s clear that these can work hand in hand to break down more sales boundaries on a domestic and international level now and in the near future.


Copyright and IP: protecting your most rights

Posted by Tom Chalmers on February 3, 2016 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (1)

If you’re a self-published author it’s vital to fully understand all facets of your intellectual property (IP), including copyright.

There are many, often long-winded, explanations surrounding copyright so let’s keep it as succinct as possible.

It is the exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.

Seems straightforward enough, but how do you get copyright for your work?

Copyright is automatically granted to your work once it's written - it's wise to show you're aware of copyright by including © Your Name (Year of Completion) at the beginning of your manuscript but otherwise you don't need to do anything.

Having said that, in the digital age copyright infringement is an ever growing problem. If you register your copyright with IPR License, we will store the full manuscript for you and provide a unique reference code and a record of the day you uploaded it.

We also strongly recommend that you mark your work with a steganographic identifier (a digital watermark). For digital works, you should embed metadata to help identify the work as yours. It’s also a good idea, if possible, to keep copies of work in progress, so that you can show how you developed your work and when, if you ever need to.

And, if you’re not necessarily the creator of everything in your book and have used additional content then it’s as important to realise the permission process required from copyright owners or licensees of this content. Meaning you need to fully protect yourself in terms of your own content as well as if using other’s.

This is a very rudimentary overview of what can often be perceived as a somewhat dry topic but the bottom line is that this will help protect your creative content and enhance your chances of boosting revenue streams and readership.

For example, a paperback book is just one product out of the vast universe of the IP that you own – hardback another, ebook another, audiobook yet another. And that is even before thinking about translations, new formats, media rights, permissions to quote from your work etc. You can happily keep on selling the book you have had printed while still having an ocean of IP left to license and monetise. There are opportunities out there, as long as you ensure the basics are taken care of and if done so this will ensure that you are in the best position to profit from your work.

If you’d like to know more about copyright or how to maximise the rights and licensing potential attached to your IP then why not drop us a line at We’d be happy to help!


The good, the bad and the Morrissey

Posted by Tom Chalmers on December 9, 2015 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

The book industry is certainly no stranger to dishing out prizes or ceremonial events. However, when media coverage for awards castigating ‘bad’ writing threatens to overshadow that of ‘good’, is this really what the publishing world needs? Or how we are looking to inspire new writers?

This is in reference to the recently announced Literary Review’s 2015 Bad Sex in Fiction Award which this year was bestowed upon Morrissey for his first novel List of the Lost (Penguin “Classics”). The award's aim is to draw attention to “poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction,” with the hope of encouraging authors to think twice before including them in their novels.

All of which is admirable but much like the Razzies - which acknowledges all that is deemed terrible in the film industry – there is an argument that such attention generated can distract from good quality writing, both recognised and unrecognised. Or does additional sales/promotion make up for this?

There isn’t necessarily a yes or no answer to any or all of these questions. Opinion remains a vital element not only in everyday life but also in the awards process, the publication process and the thought process of the book buyer. Meaning there is no real right or wrong. One person’s pleasure may be another person’s pain.

For what it’s worth I prefer the championing of first-rate writing rather than the promotion of what might be perceived as being under-par. And this is especially relevant for debut novelists and those early in their writing careers. Being an author isn’t an easy task at the best of times even for the small minority who secure a publishing deal. Many writers are already fearful enough of baring their souls and skills in the public domain without being chastised for the quality of their work as they begin their writing journey.

There are enough critics out there without further high-profile public shaming. The last thing we need is writers to be put off from writing, and stop dreaming of receiving worldwide acclaim particularly with the opportunities now available through global licensing. But that’s just me. What do you think?


Translating your work is big business

Posted by Tom Chalmers on October 21, 2015 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

During the recent Frankfurt Book Fair, the translations market has inevitably generated many column inches. One of the main stories being that AmazonCrossing, the literary translation imprint of Amazon Publishing, announced a commitment to publish exceptional works of literature from Indonesian authors translated into English beginning in early 2016. This was said to be part of a headline grabbing $10 million investment by the company to increase the publication of international books into English. Such a commitment should be applauded; after all there is a wealth of writing talent across a variety of territories which should have the opportunity to reach a wider audience.

It’s fair to say that the vast majority of authors would love to see their work sitting on bookshelves across the world in a variety of different languages, and the question we often get asked is - should I adapt my work so it might appeal to a more international audience?

There is no right or wrong answer to this but what we always advise is that first and foremost you should simply to write the book that you want to write. Generally speaking, aiming your work at specific markets is more likely to distract you and weaken the overall copy. If your work is good enough and you do manage to get it in front of the right people then it will have a good chance of being licensed internationally. Having said that it’s worth thinking about how and why your work might appeal in different territories, languages and formats. This will obviously help in terms of potential connections as well as providing a valuable selling point for a particular territory and audience.

And when it comes to translations another common question is - would it help to get into certain markets if I had my book translated first? Our stock answer to this is, not usually. If a publisher wants to take a book and publish it in a different language, they will usually already have set translators that they work with. There are also grants available to them for translation which they may wish to take advantage of.

Getting it translated yourself just with a view to licensing it in a particular territory is more often than not simply a waste of time and money. However, if this is something that you really want to do then let me underline just how vital it is for both the author and translator to be fully aware that translating the text provides no guarantee of the translation being published. And, also as important, is that there should always be a written contract between the author and the translator. This should clarify the rights of each party and how the proceeds are to be divided if, subsequently, a publisher is prepared to issue the translation.

Writing with an eye on being an international bestseller translated into 12 different languages may be a little ambitious, but if your work refers to a specific territory or territories then why not look to maximise the rights in those territories and that includes rights in translation. Whatever way you look at it, translations are big business and knowing how and where to market translation rights, or knowing someone that does, is the key to unlocking this potentially lucrative sector.


Is technology killing or curing the book industry?

Posted by Tom Chalmers on August 12, 2015 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

This is arguably the big question within the book world that continues to rumble on unabated. On the positive side, technology has certainly helped greater numbers of authors in achieving their dream of seeing their work in print. It has also helped provide a much wider route to market, helped authors overcome a number of shortcomings and open up a new world of revenue streams (rights and licensing being only one example).

However, it has also created a numbers of obstacles for an array of content providers and the industry as a whole. As outlined in research compiled as part of Samsung Galaxy S6 edge's Summer Speed Reads initiative, three-quarters of Britons aged 18-25 were reported to take their mobile phone to the poolside or beach, compared with just over a quarter (26%) who plan on reading a book. The average 18 to 25-year-old was also said to check their phone 14 times a day when on holiday.

The survey of 1,500 young people also suggested that one in 10 young adults has never read a novel. 72% of those surveyed prefer short form writing and agree that shorter attention spans are mainly due to technology. In addition it outlined that 24% believe books take too long to read, and 26% believe books are too heavy or take up packing space. Following these findings, 25 of the most popular beach novels have been condensed into 140 characters by an academic for the Twitter generation.

So is technology killing or curing the book industry?

Well the answer is arguably neither. But while sales remain an obvious issue across the market, especially when battling for the attention of the younger generations, technology has also provided authors with a variety of mediums on which to create, promote and sell both themselves and their work.

With this in mind it’s more important than ever for content providers to ensure they have a constantly updated web presence, which could encompass any number of elements, from a well-structured and consistently updated website, a prominent and professionally maintained blog, good social media links, competitions, peer review sites and so on. And to utilise tools and platform, such as IPR License, to make titles available to the widest audience possible. In the modern world the more authors can embrace the efficiencies and opportunities generated by technology the easier it will become to overcome any lingering obstacles it may create.


Do you want to sell more books with no returns?

Posted by Brian Jud on August 7, 2015 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Attend the one-day Southern California Book Selling University on September 12. You can become more profitable selling your books in ways that you never imagined and to people you never knew existed — in large, non-returnable quantities. It is sponsored by the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS), Bowker and BookWorks, and will be held from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm at the Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. Los Angeles, CA. Find details and registration at

      AiA is a partner group with APSS. You can use APSS membership number of 1234567 and save $30.00

Write your business plan as a book

Posted by Brian Jud on July 30, 2015 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)
Writing your business plan as a manuscript can be a fun way to do the necessary work (what some people refer to as drudgery) of planning. It can also help you identify and deal with hidden assumptions and the people (characters) that impact your business. Your subplots help you recognize the value of previously unsought opportunities, perhaps in non-bookstore markets. And your narrative can point of the interdependencies of market segments rather than dealing with them as isolated groups.



Brian Jud is the Executive Director of APSS ( - formerly SPAN. He is also the author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books. Brian offers commission-based sales of books to buyers in non-bookstore markets. Contact Brian at P. O. Box 715, Avon, CT 06001-0715; (860) 675-1344; or



Take control of your promotion

Posted by Brian Jud on July 23, 2015 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)
Direct mail is a targeted marketing weapon that can help you sell more books, test new titles, and generate sales leads. When you have a finite, identifiable group of people who are potential customers for your books, direct mail may be the most effective and efficient marketing tool you can use to reach them. It gives you control of the timing, delivery and content of your promotion, a predetermined fixed cost and the means to forecast and measure the return on your marketing investment.


Brian Jud is the Executive Director of APSS ( - formerly SPAN. He is also the author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books. Brian offers commission-based sales of books to buyers in non-bookstore markets. Contact Brian at P. O. Box 715, Avon, CT 06001-0715; (860) 675-1344; or

How to Win Friends and Influence Buyers

Posted by Brian Jud on July 16, 2015 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)
The 1936 book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” has sold over 15 million copies and still ranks in the top 100 Amazon best sellers regularly. Why? Because its content is timeless. For example, here are six things to make people like you (and all can be applied to selling your book): 1) Become genuinely interested in other people, 2) Smile, 3) Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound, 4) Be a good listener, 5) Talk in terms of other people’s interests, and 6) Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Brian Jud is the Executive Director of APSS ( - formerly SPAN. He is also the author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books. Brian offers commission-based sales of books to buyers in non-bookstore markets. Contact Brian at P. O. Box 715, Avon, CT 06001-0715; (860) 675-1344; or