The Internet Cookie Is Dead, and Marketers Should Plan for a Content-First World

28 06 2019

The Internet Cookie Is Dead, and Marketers Should Plan for a Content-First World


Adult Trade, Kids’ Sales Up in First Quarter

24 06 2019

Adult Trade, Kids' Sales Up in First Quarter

How to Avoid Self-Publishing Scams

17 06 2019
June 14, 2019
by Alex Palmer

Being able to identify when a particular service is overcharging—or just overpromising what they are actually able to deliver—is an important skill for any author to master.

The booming growth of self-publishing has been great news for authors as well as providers of all variety of self-publishing services, including editing, designing, a d consulting. But as services have proliferated, promising all variety of benefits and recipes for boosting sales, it’s more important than ever for indie authors to have a discerning eye when seeking out assistance. Being able to identify when a particular service is overcharging—or just overpromising what they are actually able to deliver—is an important skill for any author to master.

Know Who You’re Dealing With

The first step any author should take when determining whether a particular service or consultant is worth tapping for their publishing efforts is to get a clear sense of their background.

“[I]f you’re not dealing with a specific individual whose resume you can study, figure out who’s behind the service,” says Jane Friedman, a publishing expert and consultant who has worked in the industry for more than 15 years. “Do you trust who’s behind it? Are there specific names attached? There should be! Do these people have experience that applies to what you’re trying to accomplish? How many years of experience?”

To help fill in this background, an author should determine how long the company or individual has been in business, and if they have testimonials from other authors who have used their service, or what Friedman calls a “track record and history of achievement.” Many services and individuals will have these endorsements right on their websites, but if that’s not readily available, make a direct request for examples of customers they have worked with. A reputable company will usually provide this. (Of course, it may be easier to work in the opposite direction and begin by asking other authors for service providers they would recommend and going from there.)

“It’s likely that, if the company produces low-quality work or is unreliable, the Internet will be chock full of horror stories and warnings,” says Hellen Barbara, founder and president of Pubslush, a platform that connects editors, publishers, and authors. “My biggest piece of advice is to never sign a contract with a company before doing your due diligence and knowing exactly what you’re signing.”

She adds that an author should also avoid going for the first company that seems to provide the service they need—instead, “compare and contrast several different companies before making a decision.” This includes getting a sense of the average cost of services, the staff’s speed of response, and the quality of the company’s work.

In addition to its track record, an author can spot a questionable service by understanding its business model—what services they provide, the terms, the payments and fees involved, and exactly what is delivered.

“By uncovering the business model, you have some insight into what actions that business wants you to take,” explains Friedman. “Are they upfront about what they do, what do they have a stake in, and how do they make money? Are they upfront about how the work gets done? I favor the ones who have nothing to hide, as well as those with a point-of-view and distinctive personality.”

Spotting the Danger Signs

As an author researches her options, a red flag should go up for any service that is not transparent about these points, or willing to provide speedy answers to questions about them. A slow response, even from a totally trustworthy service provider, should still be seen as a concern for an author.

“A lack of responsiveness or attention could mean if something were to go wrong—a mistake, poor quality work, a billing issue, etc.—there might not be someone available to assist you with your problem, which undoubtedly can be aggravating and unfair,” says Barbara.

They should clearly lay out exactly how much the project will cost—whether in hourly terms or for the whole project—and when you will be expected to pay. A significant upfront charge should raise red flags.

If everything seems above board, but there is extensive paperwork or a contract involved, an author may also consider getting a legal expert involved to review the document and make sure it’s a fair deal. Either way, an author should get the terms clearly in writing.

But often, the best protection from shady service providers comes from a different type of expert: fellow indie authors.

“Take advice from companies you trust, as well as other authors,” says Barbara. “There are more people willing to help than you might realize, so never feel like you’re in the publishing process alone.”


Alex Palmer is a freelance journalist and the author of Weird-o-Pedia.

The BookLife Prize – Enter Now

3 06 2019
April 1, 2019

The BookLife Prize is an annual writing contest sponsored by BookLife and Publishers Weekly that seeks to support independent authors and discover great books.  The BookLife Prize has two Contests:

Fiction Contest

  • Entry period April 1, 2019, through August 31, 2019.
  • Five categories: Romance/Erotica; Mystery/Thriller; Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror; General Fiction; YA/Middle Grade.

Nonfiction Contest

  • Entry period October 1, 2019, through January 1, 2020.
  • Four categories: Memoir/Autobiography; Self-Help; Inspirational/Spiritual; and Business/Personal Finance.

Both Contests of the Prize are judged by PW reviewers, editors, acclaimed authors, and publishing veterans.


The grand prize winner for both the Fiction and Nonfiction Contest of the BookLife Prize receives $5,000 cash as well as an author profile in Publishers Weekly.

All finalists receive a blurb from a bestselling/award-winning author or professional editor serving as a guest judge for the contest, as well as mention in Publishers Weekly.  Plus they each receive $1,000 worth of BookBaby’s Facebook + Instagram for Authors.

All entrants receive a Critic’s Report, which includes a score as well as a brief written critical assessment of their novel by a Publishers Weekly reviewer.  (Click here to see real examples of Critic’s Reports.)

“Since reaching the finals I have signed with a literary agent and been contacted by a film producer. Most importantly through the process of participating in the Prize, I got very valuable feedback on my work and broadened my author network considerably.” T.J. Slee

How To Enter

BookLife members enter the BookLife Prize by logging in and going to project page for the book or manuscript they’d like to enter.  Here are detailed instructions.

New users who have no BookLife account enter on this page.

Complete Information

Click here for complete infomation about the BookLife Prize.

The BookLife Prize – Enter Now $5,000 Grand Prize; $1,000 Prize for Every Finalist; Each Entry Receives a Publishable Assessment by a Publishers Weekly Reviewer April 1, 2019

29 04 2019

Trade Books Post Good February Sales

19 04 2019

After a poor January, sales of adult trade books rebounded in February, rising 6.6% over February 2018, according to the AAP’s monthly StatShot program. Downloadable audio once again led the sales increase, with sales up 36.3% over last February, and accounted for 12.1% of adult trade sales in the month compared to 9.7% a year ago.

The hardcover segment also had a good month, with sales up 13.4%. Mass market paperback sales dropped 8.3% compared to a year ago. In the children/young adult segment, February sales were up 13.4%, led by double-digit gains in both the hardcover and paperback formats.

For the first two months of 2019, adult trade sales were down 1.0% compared to a year ago. Sales were off in all segments except for downloadable audio. In the children/ya category, sales were up 7.5% in the first two months of the year over 2018, with only e-book sales posting a decline.

For all 1,373 publishers who report data to the AAP, sales in February rose 7.2%, with the children/ya and higher educational course materials segments leading the way. For the first two months of 2019, total sales increased 0.6%, with sales of religion books having the best start in the two month period, seeing sales up 20.8% from reporting publishers. Sales of professional books had the biggest decline, with sales down 18.5%.

Indie Authors Find Firm Footing in Christian Market

19 03 2019