Episode 152 – Indie Launches, Kobo Unlimited, & Pronoun vs. Publish Drive vs. Street Lib

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Question of the Week: Have you used or do you plan to use Pronoun, Street Lib, or Publish Drive? If so, what’s your experience been so far. If not, what’s keeping you away?

A wild week in publishing news means we’ve got TONS to talk about, including two big-time indie launches, several aggregator platforms going head-to-head, and Kobo Plus. After thanking our patrons the Hat Trick Series, Monkey Justice, and The Dragon Rustler, the broad-shouldered broadcasters of self-publishing took on tips about piracy, income, and mailing lists. News stories included Amazon continuing to crack down on affiliates, Qidian, a huge launch by Adam Croft, Kobo Plus, a triple-threat match between self-publishing aggregators, and Mark Dawson’s $29,000 thriller launch. This week’s Question of the Week: Have you used or do you plan to use Pronoun, Street Lib, or Publish Drive? If so, what’s your experience been so far. If not, what’s keeping you away?
What You’ll Learn:
  • Why authors shouldn’t waste time worrying about piracy
  • How authors can improve their finances by abandoning a paycheck mentality
  • How authors can improve mailing list strategies based on one author’s data
  • How one thriller writer became the number one bestseller in the US and UK
  • What Amazon is changing in its affiliate program and how it affects authors
  • How Street Lib and Publish Drive stack up to other publishing platforms
  • How authors and readers can participate in China’s web novel self-publishing
  • What authors and readers can expect from Kobo’s unlimited subscription service
  • How a bestselling author achieved the best book launch of his career


Question of the Week: Have you used or do you plan to use Pronoun, Street Lib, or Publish Drive? If so, what’s your experience been so far. If not, what’s keeping you away?

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  • Lavie Margolin

    I’ve signed up for Pronoun’s free author tools- I love it. I think they are on to some big things. I’ve been so impressed, I may actually explore publishing with them in the future.

    • Bryan

      Nice! Good to know, Lavie. Thanks for the response.

  • I’m intrigued by Pronoun since they don’t take a cut of the royalties and you can publish at $0.99 and still get 70% royalties. I’m publishing my first book in a couple months, and I’m leaning toward using them (but I still have to finish my research).

    • Bryan

      Congrats on the upcoming book launch, Betsy!

    • Like I said above, I love using PRONOUN. The service has been great for me. I am not a fan of the way these guys called into question/created a conspiracy over the pricing model with Pronoun. They’ve (Pronoun) always been straightforward with me.

      • Bryan

        “These guys.” Is that like “youse guys?” No attempt to create a conspiracy here. We just didn’t understand. We’re happy to have listeners who help us to get to the bottom of things. Thanks!

        • Well, the irony would be funny especially since during that episode one of you dispelled some conspiracy theories. We’ll get to the bottom of it, hehe. Keep up the good work!

          • Bryan

            Indeed we will, Damien :).

    • Bryan

      Let us know what you decide, Betsy!

  • Chris Syme

    By the way guys, hate to disagree with Jim about publishing wide but most of the fiction authors I work with sell wide and they have pretty even income splits between Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and then some from a few others. Most of them are developing international markets–something Kobo is really good at in several genres. I think many authors go with Kindle Select when they first start but a lot of authors who’ve been around a while go wide. If I remember correct, both Joanna Penn and Mark Dawson are not Amazon exclusive in their books. Also, as an aside, I’ve surveyed readers from two author clients through our email newsletters (romance writers) and found that a small eight percent of our fans are Kindle Unlimited subscribers. Just what we’ve found.

    • @chris_syme:disqus Do you plan to go wide with your books?

      • Chris Syme

        Roland-I write nonfiction so it’s bit of a different animal. I go back and forth. Wide first, Kindle Select after 90 days for 90 days and then wide again so I can try for a BookBub. Most of the people I help out are fiction writers and have been at it for a while–they started out wide so they have a bigger split.

    • Bryan

      Thanks for the input, Chris! Disagree away :).

  • I’m curious to try one of them, just to get my books into Google Play. It might be a small marketplace, but if no one’s in there, then maybe you have a better chance of being found.

    As to those 400 other ‘stores,’ they might all be just like Diesel or Sony books. 😉 Big whoop.

    • Bryan

      I consistently sell a few books a month on GPlay without much effort, so it could be worth it. Haha, yeah, good old Diesel :).

  • I haven’t published through any of the service (though I do have a pronoun account from NaNoWriMo. Their category suggestions are… interesting). StreetLib does look interesting because of the direct selling feature, so I will probably look into that a little more.

    • Bryan

      Huh, didn’t know NaNo gave you a free Pronoun account. Let us know if you try StreetLib!

  • Simon Goodson

    I’m actually planning to go the other direction… to publish direct to kobo and apple at least (amazon has always been direct)

    • Bryan

      Jim would be happy with your direction :).

  • I haven’t looked at any aggregators outside of SW and D2D. I also go direct to KDP and KWL. At this point in time I have enough trouble guarding my writing time without adding more to my must keep up with list. I need to see more of what such engines give me before taking the next step.

    • Bryan

      The “must keep up with list” is precious indeed. Thanks, Edwin.

  • Hi guys. I use PRONOUN to publish all my digital books and I love it. I’ve had a few glitches along the way with them, but their customer service right now is top notch and I’ve had things resolved in less than 48 hours. I will continue to use PRONOUN regardless of how Macmillan—who acquired PRONOUN after they started the service—benefits.

  • flatscreenface

    Ha! I’m not actually Chinese so I had to look up how to pronounce Qidian. I figured Youtube would be the best place for answers, isn’t it always? AT first all I found was this completely classy and not at all bizarre (and how very dare you suggest otherwise) new ad for Qidian international: https://youtu.be/WzWRnCXrT60

  • Hey Jim & Bryan,
    I’m a regular listener, but finally commenting here (it’s good of you to mention that comments on the site are helpful–nice reminder).

    I love your show because you bring up these, to me anyway, less mainstream news like https://www.webnovel.com and possibly tapping into a whole other huge market. I agree with Jim and the micro-payment world that it’s sooner than later, especially in Asia where they’re ahead of the wests with micro payments from their phones.

    A friend of mine worked in micro payments 20 years ago in Europe and it never really took off. Another friend now lives in Beijing and he says micro payments are much more common than in the west. So, is this a place to get in early? I think it’s worth a shot. Maybe it’s the new Wattpad … but with a worldwide audience?

    But that’s what I mean: you guys bring into the conversation new ideas that we weren’t even thinking of. Thanks again, guys!

    • Bryan

      Happy to get your brain working, Bradley! 🙂 Thanks so much for listening and for the kind words. Hopefully an SMBS listener ends up being ahead of the curve at just the right moment!

      • Or I get working on my Mandarin translation skills …

  • Bryan I am starting to think the guys at Pronoun are paying you for mentioning them or something lol. I listen to a ton of author podcast and no one is talking about them. You guys seem infatuated by them. Might start a pronoun drinking game 🙂