Transforming the Publishing Machine … by Darla Luke

First, sorry my post is late! WordPress and I have a difference of opinion as to what “Scheduled” means. I think it means to post at an appointed time, namely 6pm Fri night. WordPress thinks maybe … never? I don’t know. Anyway, hope you enjoy this weeks (belated) post ….

Kristen Lamb’s blog earlier this week supports my assertion that Big Publishers are Clueless (if you missed it, see last week’s SJP post here).  I’ve followed Kristen’s blog for a while now and have to say she’s one smart cookie. I’ve often clunked my head against the wall at times, saying something along the line of “Oh, no! I’m such an idiot and why didn’t I read Kristen before I did (insert stupid thing here)”.

Traditional publishing is a huge machine and machines don’t transform Printing Press (change their business model) easily or quickly (toys & movies aside). Given time, they will adapt. Let’s hope before it’s too late to recover.

Don’t get me wrong, if I had the opportunity to publish with a traditional publisher, I’d jump on it in a heartbeat.  But self-publishing is here to stay, with something for everyone. And if traditional (print) publishing can adapt and change with the times, they will be here to stay also, but transformed into something nobody can predict at this moment.

That said, there are seven (!!) self-pubbed books that made the USA Today Top 150 Best-Selling Books list for the week of 7-20-12*:

Slammed by Colleen Hoover (Amazon Digital Services). This week #22 (last week #41) $2.99.

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (Smashwords). This week #27 (last week #17) $2.99

Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover (Amazon Digital Services). This week #59 (last week #112) $3.99

Training Tessa by Lyla Sinclair (Amazon Digital Services). This week #78 (last week, not on the list) $0.99

Easy by Tammara Webber (Amazon Digital Services). This week #92 (last week #100) $3.99

Bedding the Billionaire by Ruth Cardello (Amazon Digital Services). This week #101 (last week, not on the list) $2.99

For his Pleasure by Kelly Favor (B&N Digital Publishing). This week #147 (last week, not on the list) $0.99

*I’m human and do make mistakes (a shock to my friends, I’m sure!). If there’s a book on this week’s list that I missed, please let me know. If I misspelled/mistyped an author’s name or book title, I’m extremely sorry.

At least a couple of romances hit the list this week, or maybe erotic/romance? Either way, all moved up from last week. Exciting times we live in!

I’m re-reading Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews on my iPhone. What are you reading? What format are you reading it on (paper, e-book, iPad, smart phone)? Do you buy from Amazon or Barnes & Noble?

Darla Luke

You can find me on Twitter @writer_at_work, “Like” me on Facebook, or visit my website:


About Darla Luke

Darla Luke spent her childhood making up stories in her head, when she wasn't devouring every book she could get her hands on. If someone would have told her she'd be a writer when she grew up, she would have laughed herself silly. Now, writing is her passion, and she loves telling stories (especially ghost stories) and believes they all should have a happy ending.

Posted on July 21, 2012, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

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  2. Traditional publishing will have to adapt or, as a previous poster said, it will go the way of the dinosaur. I don’t have direct experience with publishing (yet), but I read a combination of traditionally published and self-published books and have found that the best of each are on par. The very worst of self-publishing–the kind that really could have used an editor–tends to be worse than the worst of traditionally published books, but I’ve found weak plots, minimal character development, and even errors in several traditionally published books I’ve read recently (and that’s when I get bitter about having spent $11.99 on a traditionally published ebook). As for the future of traditional publishing, it would probably help if publishing houses were smaller (streamlined) and offered good services (editing, graphic design, and marketing) on a faster time table. There is no other way to compete with self-publishing.


    • A.M.B – I’d love to see a stream-lined traditional publisher! I have also purchased a print book from a “big” publisher that was filled with mistakes (oh, don’t even get me started on the cover of a romance book featuring a blond heroine, only to read that the hero calls her hair ebony!). I’ve also read the beginning two books of a self-published series that had horrible punctuation and breaks in the middle of a sentence, etc. But the story was engaging and had an interesting plot so I kept reading. I’d like to see better & affordable editing for self-published authors … or maybe have a cooperative, where authors can swap talents.


  3. I enjoy your blog 🙂 It’s thought provoking and timely. In my opinion, you’ll see many authors straddling both worlds — traditional and self-publishing. There is no longer a right or wrong way to do this, but there is the “informed” and “uninformed” way. The challenge is to keep up with what people are doing in the industry because the rules are changing so fast and old norms no longer apply.


    • Ruthie, thanks for posting! You are right, there are many traditional published authors making the leap to self-published. They have a huge leg-up on newly minted authors, with an established reader base.

      Well put, Informed and Uninformed way to self-publish. It is definitely a challenge to keep up with all the changes in the industry right now, I hope that it will settle into happy medium for everyone.


      • Darla, you’re welcome.

        You mentioned reader bases so I thought you might be interested in my take on it.

        If you think of reader bases as something tangible that can be shared, you can see the real potential in networking with similar authors. Take two unknown authors, each with an equally wonderful first book — what makes one fly to the top and one stay invisible on the charts? It’s usually a matter of if the author understands how to get their book in the hands of readers who would appreciate it. No promotion can make people like a poorly written book, but a good understanding of cross promotion can raise an invisible book out of the slush pile. The days of thinking of publishing as a contest where there is one winner are over. I lose nothing by helping my readers discover new and wonderful authors. Readers today fly through books and treasure the works of many authors. I network with many romance authors — helping them to get the word out about their books when they release them and talking about which kind of promotion works and which is a waste of time. We jokingly call ourselves “Author moms”….because I one day joked — Move over soccer moms, here come the author moms….and we liked the phrase. I mention this because real friendships and bonds grow from this type of marketing and often the ideal pair is a traditionally published person with an aggressive self-published author. They usually have skills and knowledge that can help the other…along with doubling each others base of readers. Motherhood and determination is simply a common thread I’ve found in many of the authors I meet online. Thank you EL James for showing the world that moms can change the quality of life of their children through innovation and a good story 🙂


      • Ruthie – Author Moms! That’s a great idea! The See Jane Publish blog was started by Nancy, Su and Kim because of a desire to share the journey, whether it’s self-pubbed, indie pubbed or going the traditional route. The thing we struggle with is marketing our own books, and what does that look like? Not having time to do much of our own marketing, it’s tough to ask a friend for help, cutting into their writing time. When we figure it out, I’m sure you will see it here first 🙂


  4. Darla, I really appreciate your posting the indie bestsellers here. I would forget to go look on any regular basis. Whenever I do look, I also like to see if the author is new or has published before, either self-published or traditional, and how many books they have out. Here is my analysis of the seven you shared:

    #22 Slammed – Wow! Debut author, never before published
    #27 Beautiful Disaster – 4th self-published book. She has now signed the rights for that book to Atria (a division of Simon and Schuster)
    #59 Point of Retreat – second book by Slammed author.
    #78 Training Tessa – Her 9th self-published book. Before that she published four books with Ellora’s Cave.
    #92 Easy – Her 4th book, all self-published.
    #101 Bedding the Billionaire – Her 3rd book, all self-published
    For his Pleasure – Debut author on this book, two more to follow.

    A couple of others to add to the self-published list (not romance) which are easy miss because the author has formed a company name for his or self-publishing or used a distributor. These are:

    #99 Wool (Omnibus Edition) by Hugh Howey, Broad Reach Publishing – SF/Fantasy. The first 5 books (in this omnibus) written from Jul 2011 to Jan 2012. Book 6 came out in April 2012. Broad Reach Publishing is the company name he uses for all self-publishing in this series anyway.

    #142 The First Confessor by Terry Goodkind, Revel Studios – Revel Studios is a web design, image management, trailer, marketer company who worked to bring a brand to Terry (NYT bestseller SF and Fantasy writer known for Sword of Truth and LEgend of the Seeker). However, this book and the previous book in this series, The Omen Machine, is self-published.

    Again, thanks. I love learning this kind of stuff.


    • Thank you, Maggie! I had an awful feeling, that even though I checked on the publishers’ names I didn’t recognize from previous weeks, I’d miss some when I was rushed (okay, when am I not rushed, LOL!).

      The stats are very informative, and an eye-opener! Hopefully I’ll have time in the future to add those to the blog. Just wish I knew what marketing the authors did to make it on the list … was it word of mouth? A big social media push?

      It would be interesting to dissect.


  5. Mandy, first of all – congrats on taking a HUGE step to being published! It’s an exciting time to be a writer.

    Hopefully the traditional publishers won’t become dinosaurs. I believe there’s room enough for both, because readers are voracious. They love books in all formats and that’s not going away. The publishing industry is changing, morphing, growing.

    Good luck on your endeavor!


  6. As I am in the midst of finishing my e-book prior to pressing that submit button I look at all and any posts that may give me an sight, information or plain old encouragement to do so. My publish route of choice is Smashwords and in the next few weeks – The Rython Kingdom will be unleashed on the world. It is sad that the tradition ‘big’ publishers are still resisting change…will they become dinosaurs? Time will tell. Great post – thanks.


  1. Pingback: Why Self-Publish? … by Darla Luke « See Jane Publish

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