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Is the Penis Mightier Than the Word?

IT’S AN (INDIE) WOMAN’S WORLD

Hey ladies, want to shatter the glass ceiling? Try becoming a self-published author – there’s no glass ceiling at all.

That’s what a post (called “The penis mightier than the word?”) from online publishing platform FicShelf has revealed, while the Guardian–while citing the FicShelf post–outed traditional publishing as a boy’s club. “More and more female writers are seeing success in self-publishing. It’s a level playing field,” FicShelf’s chief, Monique Duarte, said.

The numbers tell the story: Self-published female authors are twice as likely to have bestsellers than their sisters in the traditional world. On Blurb, Wattpad, CreateSpace, and Smashwords, 67% of its most-read titles were written by women; over in traditional publishing, 61% of titles are written by men. And among 134 bestselling indie novels, 81% were written by women.

The report also found that traditional publishing is still a man’s world. GoodeReader added that male authors generally get better contracts and more marketing attention from publishers. They also get more recognition for their work from the literary community.

“More women buy, write and read books in numerical terms, but more ‘weight’ and status is given by publishers to books by male authors,” said indie author Alison Morton. But in the indie world, the work matters more than gender – and women have more room to be creative. Adds author Roz Morris: “We’re usually pigeonholed into obviously feminine genres such as chick-lit and romance, but not generally allowed to be complex artistes, to write the unusual books that break new ground…The literary world should take more notice of what women writers are publishing.”

FREE SPEECH ISN’T FREE EVERYWHERE

It’s easy to forget how well-protected free speech is in the U.S. But, the Good eReader reported, if you live in South Africa for example, the ebook revolution that has connected authors and readers from all over the world has inspired some stiff regulations.

An attempt to censor content transmitted over the Internet – which may include ebooks – is underway in South Africa. There, the Film and Publications Board (FPB) has received government approval to impose the new law, which admittedly doesn’t specifically target authors, but is vague enough that it could apply. Insiders fear that the censorship law may require an author or content creator to have their work pre-approved before it is even published, and will eventually be extended to any form of “digital publication” – including, blogs, social media posts and ultimately books.

So why would a government approve efforts to censor ebooks or Tweets? To prevent “inappropriate, inflammatory, or even just unworthy” content from ever being read. In an article exposing the law, the Right2Know Campaign said “only industry stakeholders were invited to participate behind closed doors, while civil society was excluded from the process despite the fact that the regulations could have profound consequences for ordinary members of the public. (We) condemn this latest attempt to broaden the power of authorities to censor and restrict publishable content — the sort of action characteristic of an increasingly overbearing, paranoid and insecure state.”

WRITER VERSUS WRITER INSULTS

Don’t get into a fight with an author. We know all the right words, and how to turn them into biting and eloquent insults. This infographic highlights some of the best.

INTRODUCING WRITEON, AMAZON’S CHALLENGE TO WATTPAD

There are tumbleweeds blowing through Amazon’s new reader/writer social community, Kindle Writeon, but to be fair that may be because the brand new platform just came out of beta. A potential competitor for Wattpad, Writeon lets authors post works-in-progress for readers, who can provide constructive feedback and help make their books better. A post by GoodeReader reports that the new platform will also allow authors to ask readers for help with research.

The platform was unveiled in closed beta in October and required authors to enter special registration codes in order to participate, which Geek Wire speculates as the cause for Writeon’s rather empty social community. “Presumably, that will change as it opens up, but it will still have to compete with companies offering similar services,” the site reported. And its competitors – Wattpad and Smashwords – are certainly mighty ones.

INDIE TITLE NOMINATED FOR A BOOKSELLER AWARD

strangersIn an indie publishing first, self-published title Strangers Have the Best Candy by Meps Schulte has been nominated for a Diagram Prize for the Oddest Title of the Year. This prize has been awarded annually for 37 years by The Bookseller, a British publishing industry trade magazine, whose diarist – Horace Brent – had this to say about this year’s contenders: “This is one of strongest years I have seen in more than three decades of administering the prize. Ultimately, it is a stunning collection of books. Let other awards cheer the contents within, the Diagram will always continually judge the book by its cover (title).”

But don’t think the prize is all about the title – it’s about quality, too. “The Diagram Prize doesn’t recognize bad books, just original, quirky titles,” Schulte said. “As an independent publisher, I’m proud to have produced a top-quality book with a powerful message that appeals to a wide audience.” Schulte also designed and illustrated the book’s cover. Strangers Have the Best Candy is her account of a lifetime spent talking to strangers and features numerous real-life oddball characters, including a pig farmer with a fake nose in his bag and a topless runner near Crater Lake.

THIS WEEK’S HOT LIST

falling forThis week’s IR’s “The List Where Indies Count”, featuring the top ten list as of March 9th, 2015, features a great variety of titles to keep you occupied during these last freezing weeks of winter.

Titles are compiled on Sunday for Monday’s post, culled from The New York Times, USA Today and Amazon best-seller lists.

Happy Indie reading!