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Episode 68th March 2022 • Writing Break • America's Editor
00:00:00 00:11:11

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The Muse discusses the paper shortage, big-box bookstores, audiobooks, and self-promotion for writers.

Music licensed from Storyblocks:

“More Jam Please” by Raighes Factory

"Samba for Two" by Rent Kid

"Your Best Life" by Humans Win


Rosemi Mederos:

If you have plot bunnies coming out of your plot holes, it’s time for a writing break.

I am so glad you’ve joined your muse for another well-deserved writing break. In this episode we’re discussing the paper shortage, big-box bookstores, audiobooks, and self-promotion for writers.

The Writing Break cafe is open, so let’s grab a table and I’ll fill you in on some publishing news.

rofits in the last quarter of:

Be warned, friends. The companies that claimed to be with us at the start of the pandemic are coming for us now.

In a not completely unrelated story, Waterstones, the UK’s largest book retailer, has acquired Blackwell’s, the UK’s largest independent book retailer. Before this acquisition, Blackwell’s was a 143-year-old family-owned business. Blackwell’s will be tucked under Elliot Investment Management, the same hedge fund that owns Barnes & Noble. In fact, James Daunt, the managing director of Waterstones, is also the CEO of Barnes & Noble.

n made in the last quarter of:

The paper shortage continues, and publishing houses are trying to find ways to meet consumer demand. When paper was plentiful, publishers ordered large print runs to get the cheapest price per book. With the paper shortage likely to get worse before it gets better, publishers are considering print-on-demand. Would this create delays in printing for small presses and independent authors? Yeah, most likely. You never know, this could be a good thing for reasons I can’t come up with right now.

If you can think of any, email me at or DM me on Instagram at writingbreakpodcast.

Links to these articles can be found in the show notes of this episode and on

Let’s leave bookstore chains behind and take a trip to an independent bookstore. And I know just the kind of bookshop to turn to when there’s a paper shortage—a used bookstore. The beauty of a used bookstore, aside from the low prices and eco-friendliness, is that every trip to a used bookstore is a date with destiny. Things had to align just so for the book and you to cross paths. Let’s see what fate has in store for us today.

ch, South Carolina. Opened in:

We’re not featuring an independent author today because it’s a used bookstore, which means I need to concentrate on buying as many books as I can carry out of here. I suggest you do the same, and then we’ll head to the beach and use a sandbar as our Overthinking Couch.

Now that we’ve stockpiled used books and we’re on the beach soaking up the sun or relaxing in the shade, your choice, let’s discuss another paper shortage workaround: audiobooks. People watching is a great way for writers to get ideas, and if you’ve managed to drag yourself away from your writing cave and onto a beach, sticking your nose in an e-reader or print book is a missed opportunity to gather material.

Audiobooks let us read and wander at the same time, and I love them for that. I’ve mentioned before that listening to audiobooks does count as reading, and I’ll go further to say that saying that listening to audiobooks doesn’t count as reading is telling people with disabilities, such as visual, reading, or learning disabilities, that what they do doesn’t count. And clearly that’s just not true. We all use our abilities to read books, period. Can we please stop even asking whether or not listening to audiobooks counts as reading? Of course it does.

One thing the publishing industry is asking now is, should we use more AI narration to record audiobooks? The cost versus quality of AI-narrated audiobooks has been a hot topic of debate lately among publishers, and the direction that publishing houses decide to take will affect the entire audiobook industry. What do you think about AI-narrated books? Email me or DM me and let me know.

Let’s go for a quick dip in the ocean before we head back to the Writing Break cafe to discuss nobody’s favorite subject: self-promotion for authors.

Book retailers and book publishers have jumped on the BookTok bandwagon and started their own TikTok accounts to sell books. In news articles that sound like they’re surprised, book sellers have said that social media helps sell books. Amazing. People recommending books to other people helps sell books? I mean, who knew?

The good news is that this secret tactic works for self-publishers too, and it’s free! Not counting the cost to your dignity, of course. I know that you didn’t sign up for all of that. You want to write some books and have people read them. But keep in mind that self-publishers of the past yearned for a surefire, free way to gain an interested audience. There is finally a way to gain that audience today, which is through social media. Even publishing houses expect their authors to do a lot of their own social media marketing, so no author who wants to be read is free from this obligation. It is now a part of the job, and the sooner you can get on board, the more books you’ll sell.

There are people out there who would benefit from reading your books, but you can’t change their lives with your magical words if you stay hidden away. Think of social media as a well-lit door that readers have set in your path for you to knock on and whisk them away to their next great adventure.

Self-promotion might feel dirty, but it’s not, or, at least, it’s dirty in a good way. The way planting trees is dirty or, you know, other fun and dirty things. My point is, you don’t have to love marketing, but you do have to market yourself.

To prove to you that self-promotion is okay, I’m going to take the lead and ask that you please leave a review for this podcast and get others to do so as well. Reviews will help the show out a lot.

You have been an integral part of this new podcast, and if there’s anything noteworthy about it, it’s you, and I appreciate all of the feedback you’ve given me thus far. Keep it coming. We are building something great together. Next week, I’ll be in your neighborhood. Until then, you deserved this break.

If you would like us to visit your favorite independent bookstore, feature your favorite independent author (even if it’s you), or discuss something you’re overthinking about, please email me at

Thank you for making space in your mind for The Muse today.

Writing Break is hosted by America’s Editor and produced by Allon Media with technical direction by Gus Aviles. Visit us at or contact us at




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