A Note from the Director of IngramSpark: "The Times They Are a-Changin’"

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

This immortal anthem, written in 1964 by Bob Dylan at the height of the civil rights movement in the U.S., has been dancing in my head lately. However, when I looked up the lyrics, I had forgotten that the second verse specifically calls on writers not to miss this chance. Dylan later said, “This is definitely a song with a purpose…I knew exactly what I wanted to say and who I wanted to say it to.” Even though our current time is more than a half-century later, I think Dylan’s call to writers to lift, inspire, and to tell the human story is even more relevant today.

"Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide, the chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon, for the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who that it's namin'
For the loser now will be later to win
For the times, they are a-changin'"

If you are writing and publishing content – especially for diverse communities: whether it be related to race, gender, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic or physical disability – I think today is the best time to find interested readers. Book sales spikes during recent social justice movements across these diverse communities have proven people are listening and that many turn to books as a source of connection and education.



To help readers discover your book, make sure your metadata (description, keywords, and even title and subtitle) reflects your subject matter.

Take IngramSpark's FREE Online Book Metadata Course

As people search for books on these topics, strong metadata will help yours rise to the top of their search results. Write guest blogs on relevant sites and get reviews from online and traditional media that pertain to your subject matter to help you find your tribe of readers. Join the discussion across social media by tying into relevant hashtags and establishing yourself as a knowledgeable advocate for your cause.

The publishing industry has been changing for decades. But what I’m seeing now is a resiliency in the self-publishing segment especially related to the traditional publishing model. It’s easier, more expedient, and in a lot of cases, more profitable to write, produce, and make your book available. Self-publishing helps those with a story to share to do so with equal opportunity to print quality and global book distribution to both physical and online retailers – especially through online channels now that physical bookstores and libraries in our communities are temporarily closed. Even big box retailers like Walmart and Target are accessible to self-published authors and are selling more indie published content right alongside Amazon.

A gif showing a breakdown of the types of indie authors, including that 70% are first time publishers.

Finally, I want to thank all of you who have been gracious as we continue to serve the self-publishing community.

While the world has changed, our commitment has not.

The demand for self-publishing services – especially from April to the present day – has been amplified by quarantined creativity, social justice, additional health and safety precautions, and unprecedented demand. While these things are welcome or even necessary changes; as a result, books are taking longer to reach your doorstep from the time you place your order than they have before. I don’t see turnaround times improving significantly as we enter the holiday season, so don’t wait until the last minute to place your order and consider keeping a three-month supply of your books on hand to help you fulfill orders that come to you directly. Know that we are fulfilling all orders for your books placed through retailers and doing the very best we can to help your incredible voices be heard worldwide through your book publications.

We’re in this together, and we want to see you succeed as an author and publisher. “The times, they are a-changin’;” and while that comes with learning opportunities for all of us, I believe it can be for the betterment of self-publishing as an industry, writers amplifying their voices, and making sure we’re all flexible and capable of long-sustaining growth.

Have you published diverse content with IngramSpark? Let us know about your book at ingramsparkdiversity@ingramcontent.com.

Read the Complete Guide: How to Self-Publish a Book

Robin Cutler

As the Director of IngramSpark at Ingram Content Group, Robin is committed to helping independent publishers easily get their content into the hands of readers around the globe. To help make this happen, she leads the development of IngramSpark and continues to support and refine the platform to better serve independent publishers around the world. She is a leader in the independent publishing space, and when not developing new programs and services for IngramSpark, she can often be found sharing her expertise at industry events around the world.