Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Publishing, ePublishing and Marketing

It's not all doom-and-gloom out there for traditional publishers. After all, St. Martins just signed Amanda Hocking for a 4-book deal which will allow her to push her books into other shopping venues like traditional bookstores and mass-market outlets like Target and Wal-Mart.

In addition, revenues at Random House rose 6.1% which ain't bad. Their increased revenues were due in part to a 250% increase in e-book sales, which I consider a very good thing. Random House is one of the publishers who seem to be doing a pretty good job straddling the e-book and print markets, which gets their books into the hands of a lot more readers. For writers who sign with Random House, they have a shifting scale-rate for e-book royalties that range from 25% to 40%.

Other Press is raising it's e-book royalty rate to 50% and the change took place on April 1 (and it's not a joke, either LOL). Authors get that rate once they earn out their advance. Again, not bad.

So things are looking up in both the digital and traditional worlds of publishing and I commend authors like Amanda Hocking who are working in both independent publishing and traditional publishing arenas. Diversification has always been a key factor in success and I personally think this is an astute move on her part.

Like publishing, marketing is shifting too and astute authors have already recognized this. While much of the social scene is still "Me, first!" and "Look at ME!", marketing using "Look at ME!" strategies is simply not that effective any longer. The tide is shifting toward building an online community.

Let's think about it. What made authors like Amanda Hocking so popular? Talent? Sure--that's a given. And writing stories that resonated with readers. But beyond that, what she was able to do was to create a community of readers who shared their interest in her books.

The key was building a community.

When you build a community, you're shifting the focus away from, "What can I do to get people to notice my book?" to "What can I offer to the community?" It may seem like a subtle difference, but what is really entails is focusing on what your readers want or need, rather than what you want (i.e. to sell more books).

You need to interact with folks. Find topics to discuss that interest your readers. Tell them what you like and share your own interests. Build a community.

I'll tell you, when I stopped thinking in terms of shoving my book, The Vital Principle, in everyone's face all the time and started thinking about sharing interesting things (like the research other authors do for their books) I doubled my sales. I didn't expect to, but I did.

Talk about your positive reinforcement. Suddenly, altruism and helping other writers seemed like a great idea.

Then I read a book mentioned by Bob Mayer, We are Not Alone, The Writer's Guide to Social Media" by Kristen Lamb, and many of these notions I was starting to have fell into place.

If you haven't read that book, get it. Read it.
Do it.


Betty Gordon said...

Good information. Thanks for posting.

Betty Gordon

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Amy, excellent post! Really valuable.

Shelley Munro said...

Thanks for the informative post, Amy. I think the recent changes in the publishing world are exciting.

Adriana said...

Great post, thanks. I'm also following Kristen Lamb and Bob Mayer, for insight and helpful advice.

Janice Seagraves said...

Great advice. Thank you for posting.

Aithne Jarretta Paranormal Romance Author said...

Thanks for sharing your insight. A link behind "Writer's Guide" to purchase would have been mighty convenient. I would have purchased it from your affiliate link in appreciation. ;o)

Amy said...

You're right--I should have included a link for that book :).

Unfortunately, due to the tax laws in my state, I can't be an Amazon Affiliate, much as I'd like to.
Heavy sigh.

Amy said...

I meant to leave this before, here is the link to the book I mentioned.

Cynthia said...

The problem is that reading other people's blogs and commneting on them is so interesting and so much fun that is has become a prime writing procrastinaion technique of mine!

Amy said...

Nice blog, it's very helpful!