Resources and tips for the self-published author.

Publishing News Roundup Series: Why Scribd Changed Its Subscription Model

by Maureen Crisp •  February 22, 2016  •   Follow

Published in News  •  No comments


There are a lot of changes that went on this past week in the online publishing world.

With Scribd changing its business model and Oyster’s recent demise, many authors and readers are left wondering how long other subscription companies will be able to fight the Amazon Unlimited. There are a lot of worries about it becoming a monopoly, and what that would mean for subscription readers and authors. As this becomes a worry, Google sidestepped Amazon by creating books that can only be read on mobile phones. Their choose your own adventure books are a unique contrast to other books in the market, and seem to be becoming popular. Authors are waiting by to see their success, and one wonders how authors may be able to soon join these ideas:


Chasing The Reader

This week in the publishing blogosphere Scribd changed its subscription model. A little shiver fluttered through the online publishing community at the news. Were they going to fold? With the dominance of
Amazon Unlimited and the demise of Oyster, Scribd is really the only alternative in subscription reading. Scribd still lives but the day of the all you can read buffet is ending.


This week Google entered into the reading market… with books that cannot be printed. These books aren’t even for e-readers. They are short, just right for a commute and designed to be read on a phone.… and they are choose your own adventure type books. Taking the story and gaming it into your phone challenges conventional storytelling. With Google behind this experiment it will be interesting to see where it goes.


At the end of January, Berlin hosted a Future Publish conference. One of the keynote speakers, Chantal Restivo-Alessi, talked about the value of the story across all mediums, harnessing digital across all platforms and building deep engagement. Backlists are crucial and Authors and their brand should be marketed on a global scale. This is a really interesting article. 


Jane Friedman has an interview with Agent Laurie McLean specifically about one of her clients who operates in a hybrid fashion across the publishing and music industries with one feeding into the other. So Simon Curtis writes a Y.A. book and happens to create music and so references it in the story and brings out an album of music which promotes the book which promotes his music and…. Hybrid storytelling going in all directions now.


By now your brain has probably gone into Popcorn Kitten mode so you should read what James Scott Bell has to say about coping with the writers bane of too many ideas crowding in all at once. This is excellent advice which will keep you productive or at least allow you to sleep easier.


Writer Beware is continuing to warn authors about the many and varied scams that Author Solutions are perpetuating across all their various fronts for reputable publishing companies. The latest examination is the marketing on-sell. This is where they really make their money charging hundreds of dollars for simple services. The charges are truly eye-watering. Even if you know that you will never get caught on this – read it so you can inform others.


Jami Gold has been thinking about the times when an Author might work for free. This is hotly debated in the creative community where we see little enough money for our work. A few weeks back we had Phillip Pullman campaigning to pay authors at festivals. Jami has some good points to make about choosing carefully which projects we do for free.


I have been thinking about Dean Wesley Smith’s article all day. He takes a look at the longevity of the writer in the digital age. It does make you think. If books don’t go out of print because digital backlists are still selling… authors really need to understand the long game and plan their careers for it. Dean is still finding readers for books that are 30 years old… and you can too.


In the Craft Section,
September Fawkes – 15 tactics for writing humour– Bookmark
Steven Pressfield –The difference between subject and theme– Bookmark
Anne R Allen – a guide to co writing -Bookmark
Darcy Pattison- find your novel opening


In the Marketing Section,
Anne R Allen- Using Google plus and why you should. (This post is getting a lot of comments  around the blogosphere. You should read it!)
Jane Friedman on finding a Book Publicist


Website of the Week
Besides being an awesome blogger Lindsay Buroker manages a podcast called SFF Marketing. This podcast is a deep look at marketing issues and has great guests. Being a podcast it’s easy to listen to while doing other things. Today they interviewed Data Guy of Author Earnings. The latest Author Earnings report is ruffling a few feathers. Data Guy is being touted as a guest at Digital Book World’s upcoming conference so this podcast is a must listen if you are following what is happening in the Indie World. Then you can check out all the other goodies in past podcasts.
To Finish,
Angela Ackerman writes some great articles.  This one for Romance University on romancing the reader is a must read. After all readers are why we spend so much time crafting the characters. We want them to love our characters as much as we do.


Loving the reader means we have to show up for them. 
This week the annual SCBWI conference in New York was rocked by an amazing keynote from children’s author Gary Schmidt. Besides reading the keynote… check out the great conference blog.




About Maureen Crisp

Maureen Crisp has been writing her weekly publishing roundups for over seven years. She is a traditionally published children's author as well as indie-published. She lives in New Zealand and is heading the team organising the 4th National Conference of Children's Writers and Illustrators. She is currently trying her hand at writing a children’s book series if she can drag herself away from forever tweaking her Mars novel or obsessing over space.