Bowker’s 2013 annual review noted that 25% of spending in the romance category is for ebooks. Compare that to 6% dedicated to ebooks in cooking and 5% for one publisher’s illustrated books, and you’ll see that self-published authors who write romance are taking advantage of the latest technologies.
Check the Smashwords bestseller list any week and you’ll see that romance dominates their listings. Frequently 8 out of the top 10 books are romance: paranormal romance, historical romance, and a slew of other subcategories…but all under the same genre umbrella.
Romance has long been a high-sales category. Readers are voracious, often zipping through 3 or more titles every week. They want what authors can provide: a faster publication schedule than big publishers have traditionally provided, more unique plotlines and character developments than publishers have been willing to experiment with, and a more direct connection with authors through social media.
These three reader benefits have allowed self-published authors in other categories to achieve success. Take a tip from your romance-author friends. Write the books you want to write then get them out there. Connect with fans and listen to what they’re saying. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat!
The numbers for 2014 aren’t all in yet but things are looking good for the publishing industry’s ongoing recovery. For the first time since 2008, when the economic meltdown impacted book publishing and book sales, the number of print books sold is set to rise.
Last year, print sales rose 9.1% during the holiday compared to the previous year’s increase during that time. The expectation is that 2014’s holiday season will boost the numbers even further.
As we’ve seen so often in other statistics, juvenile and young adult fiction rose significantly during 2013’s holiday season, a whopping 27.3% for that year. Adult fiction rose 6.1% that season, while adult nonfiction continued around the same numbers as posted in 2012.
To give you an idea of what these percentages mean, adult nonfiction unit sales totals were 36,983,000 during the holiday season in 2013. That year, adult fiction sales totaled 18,522,000, juvenile nonfiction came in at 8,641,000, and juvenile fiction sold 31,935,000.
Even if you’re self-published, these numbers matter. They indicate that people are once again spending on books of all types. Jump into a new marketing campaign now to reap the best results.
Bookcase Literary, established in July 2013 in Brazil, helps self-published romance authors sell foreign rights. Meire Dias and Flavia Viotti launched the innovative approach because they saw that self-publishing is mostly centered inside the United States. They knew authors didn’t have access to international publishers and yet readers worldwide want to read American authors.
In less than a year, they have sold 28 titles. They have also become co-agents with Rebecca Friedman, opening the path to new deals and possibly an expansion of their focus to other genres in the years to come.
Whenever I help clients self-publish, one of the important considerations is how they’re going to reach readers. Too often clients tell me they have already bought marketing services from the company that will produce their book…only to discover that what they’re really bought is PR.
PR is public relations. It’s defined as the management of the spread of information. PR services usually include press releases, feature articles, and author interviews. It sounds like the right step: authors want readers to know about their books, and PR can alert them to the book’s availability, message, theme, and impact.
PR is a powerful tool. The number of individuals who discover an author and their books can reach hundreds of thousands for a single press release, article or interview. But the key is that PR only spreads information. It doesn’t generate a purchase.
Marketing is different than PR. Marketing is geared to generate the purchase of one or more of the author’s books. Marketing plans vary according to the book’s content, the author’s short- and long-term goals, even by the types of distribution channels lined up for the book. Generally, however, marketing aims to generate sales rather than publicity.
Very few of the companies that produce self-published books for authors offer actual marketing services. If you know of one, I’d love to hear about it! Meanwhile, know the difference before you buy. You’ll make wise decisions that can support your career for years, and many other books, to come.
Self-publishing is truly coming of age. The force and energy behind this movement is so intense that agents have for several years been offering adjunct services like marketing, assisted publishing, and the like to self-publishers.
Because of these new services, the AAA has laid out new guidelines for their members. The guidelines encourage members to provide their terms of business with regard to all services offered in writing. These should include any costs associated with the agent’s assistance and who will pay those costs.
If you haven’t heard about agent-assisted publishing, it can be a real boone. You’ll have access to the agent’s network, including connections at the media outlets that feature articles, interviews, and reviews of authors and their books. You’ll also tap into their marketing savvy as you reach out to readers.
How do you connect with an agent for this kind of relationship? You create the same pitch items you would if you were submitting to their firm for representation to traditional publishers: a query letter, book proposal (for nonfiction) and a synopsis, bio, and marketing overview (fiction).
Paper Lantern Lit is a boutique literary development company bestselling author Lauren Oliver cofounded with former HarperCollins and Razorbill editor Lexa Hillyer. They look through self-published books to find those that deserve more attention then rerelease them under their name. Now they’ve added The Studio, a digital imprint, to produce ebooks.
If you’ve already self-published one or more of your books, check out Paper Lantern and The Studio. It might open new doors!
If you’ve ever considered self-publishing a children’s picture book or a chapter book (which also has a number of illustrations), you know the cost can be out of most people’s reach. Amazon has developed a program that helps you create and market a children’s book without having to spend a huge amount of money.
KDP Kids is the new children’s-focused illustrated and chapter book category in the Kindle Store. Amazon is also offering the Kindle Kids’ Book Creator for the creation and production of kids’ digital titles in a Kindle format. Authors can prepare their prose or illustrated books, upload them to KDP Kids and use a variety of filters for age, grade and reading levels to place the title and attract the specific customer leveled for their titles.
KDP Kids authors will also have access to marketing tools such as Countdown Deals and Free Book promotions. They are also eligible to enroll in Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s e-book subscription service, and the Kindle Lending Library.