Much has happened this week (as it does every week) in the world of self-publishing. Here are a number of articles and resources that came across my digital desk that can help you become a better, more informed self-publisher.

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The biggest news of the week was Audible’s lowering of the royalty rate for self-publishers to a flat 40%. Previously, Audible offered an escalating royalty rate that started at 50%. Once a self-publisher sold 500 copies, that percentage would increase by 1%, all the way up to 90% if you sold an absurd amount of audiobooks. (Fortunately for my audiobook, I’ve been grandfathered into the former royalty rate.)

While this is disheartening because it lessens the royalties paid out to self-publishers, Steve Laube points to a possibly worse sign of a looming publishing apocalypse: what if Amazon lowers the royalty rate on self-published print and digital books? Steve says:

Imagine the outrage if Amazon decided to change the royalty structure for ebooks. In another part of their company they have already started floating the idea of changing the price structure for the Prime Membership, either by raising the price or creating a multi-tier payment for services. The change would affect 10 million or more customers who will scream, complain, and then comply. Could the multi-million dollar ebook KDP division be up next for review?”

He ends with this smart advice: “ … those who are vociferous in their defense of going Indie should also start exploring diversification in their sales channels.” Which is one of the reasons I opted out of KDP Select and now have my book on Amazon, Kobo, Nook, and Audible.

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Grandpa, What’s a Bookstore? looks at the publishing apocalypse through the eyes of the next generation, many of whom may never enjoy the discovery and comfort of an independent bookstore. After having read the article, the author’s 35-year-old daughter said “Dad, I’ve never been to a bookstore like you’re describing. I’ve only seen something like this in the movie You’ve Got Mail,” which brings to mind this thought-provoking post from my friend at Readerly:

Would the Shop Around the Corner Survive Today?

Speaking of independent bookstores, Andi Cuombo-Floyd offers 5 Tips on Selling through Independents. Have you tried to get your book into an indie store? If so, share more about it in the comments.

Vook is now offering a free ebook sales tracking service called Author Control, apparently capable of tracking your sales across 28 different retail channels. I have yet to test it, but will soon. If you do, I’d be glad to hear your take on their new service. Note that the free tracking is only good for 10 books.

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Apple says they have 20% of the ebook market now, which makes me rethink the fact that I have yet to get my book onto iBooks. What’s been your experience with getting your book into the iBookstore? I’ve mostly heard that it’s a frustrating experience.

At my day job, I read much about the world of Christian celebrity, among other things. World Magazine recently reported on Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church paying Result Source Inc. to ensure that Driscoll’s Real Marriage appeared on the New York Times bestseller list during its release week. The cost? At least $210,000. Real Marriage appeared on the NYT list … for one week. The article is a worth a read because it sheds light on what Hugh Howey briefly mentioned in “The NYT and WSJ Best Seller Lists Must Die” under the subsection “How to launder your book purchases.”

As to how to win favor without handing over large sums of money, Jonathan Gunson offers an intriguing way to get the manna that so many indie writers covet in How to Get More Amazon Book Reviews.

In writing-related news, and a sure sign of the end of days for a literate society, the SAT essay is now optional. If that’s the case, aspiring high school writers ought to have the option to forego the math portion. After all, who needs math when royalties start tanking?

Lastly, since most indie authors are also bloggers, you should know about this fascinating turn of events: The world’s largest photo service just made its pictures free to use. Getty Images, tired of having their visual wares pirated far and wide across the Internet, have made their wide and impressive cache of stock photos freely available to all. However, it doesn’t appear that you’ll have much control over resizing or cropping as these images will be embeddable, much like you embed Youtube videos or tweets. On the other hand, this will definitely make for better imagery across the web.

That’s all for this week. What interesting self-publishing news or links have you come across recently?

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