No matter whether you plan to submit to a publishing house or product your own book, every author is an entrepreneur. The reality is that you’ll be expected to help market your book even if it’s only by reaching out to your social media. When you’re considering your budget for everything from editing to launch plans, remember that your skin is in this game…your career will be impacted by every decision you make from who edits your book to how much time and money you invest in marketing. Treat your writing like a business and you’ll create the life of a true writer!
The 2014 Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest conducted a survey to determine how self-published authors differ from traditionally published authors and hybrid writers. The results are here, and reveal some interesting points.
–Self-pub authors and hybrid authors thought a book’s quality will be the same no matter what route they took, while traditionally published writers felt it much more likely to happen with a heritage publisher. The reality is that self-pub authors can achieve the same quality if they put together a team of editors and designers that are professionals.
–Distribution was thought to be much broader across the board from traditional publishers. This still reflects the inability of self-pub books to achieve widespread print distribution through bookstores.
–Authors felt it equally likely that marketing efforts could be at least equal to publishing houses, that it was somewhat more likely to be better with a heritage house, and that it might be the same either way. This reflects the necessity of self-pub authors and traditionally published books to be marketed by the authors themselves. Finances are the real issue here, and often self-pub books don’t have the same numbers behind them. Keep in mind that creative efforts can trump investments with digital efforts.
Platform, platform, platform. It can be fun or a huge waste of time depending on who you talk to these days.
Generally publishers want to see that authors have some type of social media presence. This is because they want to know that authors are engaged at some level with potential readers.
Does a huge following help? Yes. Is it necessary? Not at all. A few hundred followers on a blog or social media page are enough to show that you’re out there. Anything more is really just frosting on the cake.
Keep this in mind as you manage your time. Never allow a quest for big numbers to take time away from your primary goal, writing.
Galleycat has posted another cool infographic here. This shows different elements and how successful they are for different kinds of books. The primary points I located are:
–Women are 50% more likely to finish a book than men, meaning that women are also more likely to become loyal fans.
–Literature is more likely to become a top-grossing novel than other types, with sci-fi a strong second. This goes against everything authors are told in general chatter…literature and sci-fi are supposed to be tough sells. So, as always, write from your heart, not for the market!
–30% of readers will put down a book by page 50. So hone not only those first five pages but the opening segment (the first 50 or so pages).
Lara Zats of Red Sofa Literary wants young adult and middle grade works, especially contemporary fiction; romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, and erotica.
Barbour Publishing is launching Shiloh Run Press, a new imprint that will publish genre fiction and Christian lifestyle nonfiction. 23 books are planned for 2014; the number of titles will increase to 35-40 by 2015.
Lemony Snicket, the pen name of author Daniel Handler, has set up an award to honor librarians. The $3,000 award will be for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity, and intends to help eliminate censorship.
Amazon’s new Christian imprint will specialize in faith-based fiction and nonfiction. Brilliance Publishing will launch its first title this month. Authors include those who started out in self-publishing, and several titles will be launched with collaborative support from Christianity Today.
Galleycat posted a great infographic on 40 years of ebook publishing here.
The points I found most revealing are:
The first ebook was launched in 1971 by Project Gutenberg. This points to the importance ebooks held before most traditional houses really understood their potential.
In 2000, Stephen King’s novella Riding the Bullet was downloaded over 400,000 times in 24 hours, proving the ability of ebooks to reach existing fans and new readers.
Amazon launched Kindle in 2007, five years after traditional publishers began working with ebooks. So Amazon is not always at the forefront of publishing trends.
The Rensing Center, a nonprofit arts organization set on 26 acres in the southern Appalachian foothills in South Carolina, is looking for help with their website. The website is run on WordPress, so all additions are made in that format.
The center is looking for an intern who can join their volunteer board in this capacity. This is a great opportunity to see how a nonprofit can meet several goals. And everything the Rensing center does encourages a more conscious and responsible relationship to the environment.
Contact the administrator through their website http://www.rensingcenter.org.
Netflix has been on a roll. Originally considered something of a rube among Hollywood types, the individual responsible for its success has proven that new ways of thinking, and servicing viewer’s desires and needs before any other metric, is the path to success these days.
Netflix did everything “wrong,” according to film’s old guard. It released a full season of episodes all at the same time to allow for binge viewing (which subscribers wanted), it paid top dollar to lease items that others would have taken only if they could own (again to serve their subscribers regardless of the way others would have made a deal), and they bought new concepts without forcing the producers to make a pilot (taking a chance again to give viewers what they want).
Publishers could learn from all this. Release books faster (because that’s what readers want), allow authors to maintain ownership (serve readers no matter what the old deals looked like), and take chances on unproven concepts (because again, readers want unique, fresh ideas from authors who haven’t yet “proven” themselves with big publishers).
Authors, too, can learn from Netflix. Although the company is willing to take risks and try new things, the concepts they’ve bought have had a strong level of professionalism built in. Actors have been sought out who are clear viewer favorites to attract viewers to those fresh concepts. All the deals made have also been for concepts that have fully written scripts, professional people already on board, and “bibles” or dossiers that outline the fictional world’s details in full.
For authors, this means having a full and polished manuscript ready to go, professional assistance from editors or pitch consultants, and a fully developed idea about their audience, publishing trends, and the author’s potential or actual platform (which is all wrapped into a book proposal, the author’s bible).