Category Archives: Marketing

Publishers Make More Online Than B&M

BookStats now estimates that publishers are making more money off of internet sales (for print and ebooks) than from revenues created by brick-and-mortar stores.

The difference in the percentages is small but this is a first.

Keep this in mind as you go about marketing your book…whether it’s traditionally published or indie produced, ebook or print. If you need help, the Writer’s Resource marketing plan is geared specifically toward low-cost and no-cost digital opportunities.


1 Million Titles on One Subscription

A new ebook subscription service will offer 1 million titles.

Bllon will launch in beta form this summer. Details on how many books readers can view each month still aren’t clear but 3 ebooks will be provided for free when users first subscribe.

Although Bllon is based in Germany, similar services for the American market average 500,000 titles. So keep an eye out for Oyster and Scribd to ramp up their games and match that number.

Guardian Contest Opposes Realistic Trend in YA

The Guardian is running a contest for juvenile manuscripts. Their crop of shortlisted entries has been anything but depressing or dark. Instead, they said they are looking for entries “that make the make-believe seem real.”

Lately there’s been talk of a turn toward more realistic fiction in YA and younger titles. This is mostly due to the success of The Fault In Our Stars. But the dystopian and darker elements, along with speculative works, aren’t done yet. If you doubt that, consider how long the vampire craze lasted…over a decade.

So if you’re working on something dark, dystopian, or just plain speculative, know that the market will still welcome your submissions.

World Cup of Literature

In June and July, the University of Rochester’s resource for international literature, Three Percent, held the first ever World Cup of Literature.

The program featured a 32-book knock-out tournament during soccer’s World Cup game. Each match pitted two books against each other. Only one of the books moved on until the championship match determined the ultimate winner.

This program might look like it would draw more attention outside the United States (which doesn’t share the soccer fever that infects other nations). But keep in mind that Britain has a reality TV show that features authors, and publishers in the U.S. are constantly looking for new ways to engage readers. We might see similar events tied into American obsessions like football or the Fourth of July.

I look forward to holidays spent counting down competitions like this!

Literary Tour as Marketing Idea

Foyles is launching a literary tours program. Winners receive trips guided by well-known authors to places that have appeared in books.

While this program took quite a bit of effort and investment to create, really any author can add this idea to their marketing efforts. Many times fiction authors use real locations as part of their books. Add a self-guided tour description to the end material in your work and use that as a way to enhance sales. Or even guide a tour yourself during your next visit to that city. Have fun, meet fans and revisit the plot…sounds like heaven!

Target to Offer Ebooks

Target is partnering with a startup ebook subscription service called Librify to provide an online platform for buying, sharing and discussing books. Librify has more than 500,000 titles available already (about half of Amazon’s number), and it has only been beta testing since March.

Even better, the social aspects of the platform allow readers to review and discuss their favorite books…providing word-of-mouth validation that is so critical to readers. Authors should check into Librify now to ensure their titles are available once Target is ready to launch.

YA Novels Driving Children’s Category

Young adult novels account for 18% of children’s unit purchases. Although this is down a few percentage points for the same period the year before, YA is still a strong category.

It’s strength comes in part from the tendency of adults to purchase YA titles. The single largest group buying these titles is the 18- to 29-year-old demographic.

This means two things. First, if you are working on a YA book, keep going.
Second, if you’re working on the new category called New Adult, get it out there. Connect with me at any time for assistance and advice on breaking into this powerhouse category!

Bookstores Growing

For the first time since 2005, more than 2,000 independent brick-and-mortar stores are open in the United States. This might be driven by the absence of Borders outlets in some communities but considering that the trend over the last decade has been for stores to close, not open, this is great news for book lovers and authors.

Book Marketing Data

Macmillan is developing a dashboard called Next Big Book. The tool compiles sales, publicity, events, social media, web traffic and other data daily to help marketers track how a book is doing and which factors are providing the biggest impacts.

Macmillan plans to provide the dashboard to all its authors and agents within the next three months. Let’s hope other publishers take a similar path to put control back in the hands of the folks who care most about books: the people who wrote them.

Harlequin’s Cross-Media Project

Harlequin is launching a romance fiction project that reaches beyond print and ebooks. The effort integrates video, mobile and social media. The project is based on a fictional location, the Chatsfield hotel in London, as the backdrop for the stories. Each story will be released on multiple platforms to better involve readers.

After years of self-published authors doing the same on their own, the big publishers are finally taking on the same creative ideas. They are expanding their models to move beyond the traditional print forms and even beyond the digital format. This is about engagement, loyalty, branding and the stories themselves. The stories and characters have to be strong…and all that pushes the focus away from celebrity books or pure fluff and back to the quality that has been overlooked for so long.

Co-Branding Hottest Trend in Publishing

As publishers search for new ways to reach readers, co-branding has become a big push…particularly in the children’s arena.

Borden milk is using Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody series for a summer reading campaign. McDonald’s UK is offering books in their Happy Meals. And characters that have been around for decades are showing up on banks, cars and coffee cups.

All of this means that the savvy author has to consider co-branding opportunities. While it is difficult to create these kinds of deals yourself, pitching your work to agents and publishers in a way that includes co-branding opportunities is a way to generate strong interest in your works. Already one Big Five publisher reports that 25% of their children’s division profits are coming from co-branding and merchandising efforts. Contact Writer’s Resource to place your work in the best position possible.

Oyster Now Offers 500K Titles

Oyster, an ebook subscription service, recently topped the half-million title mark. Its major competitors, Scribd and Entitle, offer far fewer with 300K on Scribd and 125K on Entitle.

Any of these subscription services can enhance an author’s career. They are focused on discovery, so they help readers find your titles. My own three titles have been available on Scribd for only a few months, and already they have achieved a surprising number of reads…without any additional advertising push.

Subscriptions offer smaller payments than purchases but if you’re looking for eyes on your work, these services can help you enhance your visibility and provide a modest income at the same time.

Penguin Random Selling Direct to Readers

Penguin Random House is forming a consumer marketing group to market its titles and authors. The initiate includes enhanced development of digital programs, platforms, and partnerships. This will mean better sales for authors, expanded readership and easier discovery for readers, and better profits for the publisher. These kinds of initiatives are critical in a market where the number of indie bookstores have fallen dramatically in the past five years and where Amazon consumes a substantial portion of digital sales.

Top Three Places to Sell Books

Books can be marketed through a number of channels. Right now, the top three places to sell books are:

Ecommerce, which moved 43.8% of the copies in 11 months of 2012. This was up nearly 9% from the previous year’s figures.

Large chains (bookstores), which claimed 18.7% of the market that same period, down 10% through all of 2011.

The general “all other channels” category moved 15.2%, up half a percent from the previous year.

Removing the general category from the mix, the single channel that came in third was mass merchants (Costco, Walmart, etc.) with 7.7% of the sales.