Monthly Archives: January 2013

Ebook Trends

Here’s a literary magazine that has become a publisher of ebooks.

In the past few years, I’ve noticed several kinds of organizations entering the ebook arena. Most notable are the handful of book agents who have opened publishing companies.

This is one of those indicators of how large the shift is in traditional publishing these days. When agents, and some of the nation’s top agents at that, are shifting where they spend their time, nearly anything can happen.

Keep this in mind as you consider whether to approach traditional publishers, self-publish through print and/or ebooks, or do both at once. These days, it pays to play your cards across a wide spectrum.



Writers know that they have to help readers suspend their disbelief. It’s also critical that viewers watching a film do the same. This interview comes from the corporate world but if you read it with your author’s eye, you’ll find some great advice.

–Present your story in their context. That is, connect with readers where they are, not from your lofty position as all-seeing author. Use concrete details to evoke emotions, paint images and usher  readers into the fictional world.

–Be curious. Ask questions. What if the plot twists here? Why does this character act that way? Where does this one plot point happen? When in his life does the major turning point come? How can the character grow, change, develop?

–Weaknesses are irrelevant. Focus more on your strengths. That doesn’t mean ignore the weaknesses; just don’t get so hung up on them you forget your strengths.

Trends: Publication figures

This from a PR rep:

In 2011, the most recent numbers available, there were 347,178 printed books published in the United States. That was up 6 percent from the previous year, according to Bowker, which provides book industry statistics and trends.

For those of you in the book-planning phase, it may be helpful to know which categories saw an increase in publications. They were education, up 20 percent; music, and psychology and philosophy, both up 14 percent; religion, up 12 percent; juvenile, biographies, and business, all up 11 percent; and fiction, up 13 percent.


Those are just the numbers for printed books. E-books are harder to gauge, but they’re a large and growing share of the market. For those I could find only sales numbers.  For 2011 they were $1.1 billion to $1.97 billion, according to two different counts.



Marketing: Blogs for Writers

Here’s a round-up article on why it’s all right for individuals to blog about topics that are covered in other people’s blogs.

I want to point out the third point in this article. Authors of nonfiction know they should be recognized as experts in a specific area. But fiction authors often are never told that they, too, should present themselves as experts!

This can be a key component in your marketing. A mystery with a cat as the protagonist means the author can blog about everything cat related. The author of a medical thriller can write about how to avoid the next flu epidemic. Works set in exotic or unique locations allow the author to write travel articles for different sites.

And every time you write an article, blog, essay or service tip about that topic, your bio can mention that you cover the same topic in your book. Yes, it’s unconventional and yes, it works!

Next Big Thing

Had to share this post from another writer on her novel-in-progress.

Her working title is Perigee Moon, which is the technical term for when the moon is right on the horizon and appears gigantic. It’s a very evocative image.

Titles are so important in publishing. In nonfiction, authors have to get the topic and approach across with the title. In fiction, authors have to evoke some emotional response from readers…and Perigee Moon does that perfectly.


Writing Tip: Persist!

This is a great excerpt from James Scott Bell’s book on writing. The title? The Art of War for Writers.

That’s a perfect title to encapsulate the struggles we all go through every day. In the excerpt, he talks about taking the long view toward success.

This simple lesson is profound. Read it, remember it. Especially the next time doubt strikes.

Effective Press Release

A video can enhance your press release. Even if you’re a novelist, chat with your webcam about some topic or theme in the book. You don’t need more than a few minutes to have a big impact. More info available in this article. 

Amazon Reviews

If you’ve been following the recent controversies about Amazon’s reviews (and the reviews that show up on other sites), you know the problem: marketers and/or authors are paying for good reviews to help boost their ratings at Amazon and/or sales.

Here’s the flip side of that review process. This article talks about how fans of Michael Jackson are hitting a new biography with one-star reviews to sink the book’s ratings.

The author calls the attack a way to use the right to free speech against the right to free speech. The reviews themselves aren’t flawed. But the engines that rank according to the number of stars on the review clearly is flawed. Any author who’s works are sold on Amazon or other e-retailers needs to be aware of the kinds of social movements that can impact their sales.