The Indie California collection is one of the largest and most active among the statewide SELF-e collections that have gone live in the past year on BiblioBoard. With over 300 books and growing, and with so many tremendous community engagement efforts from California authors and libraries, it’s proven to be one of the most successful endeavors to come out of the SELF-e program. It seems a shame then to simply post the top 10 most-read books here and drop the mic without any context.
Instead, we’ve decided to shake things up a bit. Indie California will be the first to receive this new treatment for its top books post, wherein we take a look at what the data is showing us rather than what it’s telling us — a piece of advice we’re sure many writers have heard in their careers. Read on to learn which books have been in the spotlight this year.
SELF-e as a Self-Publishing Resource
First and foremost, the No. 1 most-read book of all time in the Indie California collection — opened and read by patrons three times more than the second most-read book — is Self-Publishing Boot Camp Guide for Authors by Carla King. This book is an exceptional resource for new authors or any authors that have a story, but don’t know how to get it down and get it out in the world. King has spent over two decades as a travel and technical writer and the last 10 years nurturing the self-publishing careers of authors from all over the world. She founded the Self-Pub Boot Camp, which consists of books, workshops, seminars and a separate company called Author Friendly, an alternative to big self-publishing outfits like CreateSpace and Smashwords. Indeed, Self-Publishing Boot Camp Guide for Authors is only the first in an exhaustive self-pub toolbox for authors offered by King. It’s no wonder this nonfiction reference title is the No. 1 book!
Exciting Trends in Readership
Books 1 & 2 in the Paul Garza Series get a shoutout not only because they’re among the most-read Indie CA books, but also because they highlight an important trend that’s happening in SELF-e collections. Book 1, In the Company of Thieves, was the top book in November of last year. In December, the top book was Book 2, Succession. This trend is a great example of how authors can use the SELF-e program to boost their readership, increase discoverability and market their books for free in order to attract readers to later works. This is not only an interesting case study, but it’s also exciting news for SELF-e: more and more readers are learning about SELF-e ebooks being available in their local library and they’re not only checking out what’s available, but coming back for more! With the upcoming ability to place buy links alongside these free ebooks, authors will start seeing an even more direct link between submitting to SELF-e and driving sales.
Community Engagement Champions
Indie California is also the beneficiary of some great community engagement efforts from local libraries and authors in the state. Chief among the champions is Catherine Royalty at Los Angeles Public Library (maybe we should have called this section Community Engagement Royalty). In her position as a Senior Librarian at LAPL, Royalty did a series of posts on the LAPL blog for NaNoWriMo called Local Author Spotlights. Five posts consisted of a brief interview with a Los Angeles author whose book was featured in the Indie California collection. Of those five authors, three had books among the most-read during and immediately following NaNoWriMo: Nancy Young, Sylvie Fox and B.C. Powell.
Young’s award-winning literary fiction novel Strum, Sylvie Fox’s third and fourth novels The Good Enough Husband and Don’t Judge Me, and B.C. Powell’s debut novel Krymzyn not only made the top 10 immediately following the interviews, but have remained among the most-read books since.
The success of these books are directly tied to Royalty’s efforts. And a cursory Internet search reveals that not only do these authors maintain active websites, they’re contributing to their own discoverability by spreading the word about SELF-e through social media. Community engagement is a core value of the SELF-e program and crucial to its success; and it begins and ends with local libraries and authors doing their part to make its presence known. Major kudos are in order for the folks out in L.A.
It’s been a great year for California authors and libraries on SELF-e. We look forward to seeing more great results from Indie State collections. Stay tuned on the blog for more, and check out our SELF-e Twitter Chats (#SELFeChat) hosted by Porter Anderson ( @Porter_Anderson) on the third Thursday of every month at 3 p.m. Eastern . Our first guest will be LAPL’s Catherine Royalty.