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Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The eTimes are a'changing

It's a new phenomenon and many in the publishing industry believe that the lunatics have finally taken over the asylum - only recently there was a stigma against self publishing, which seemed to be lumped under that dreaded term, Vanity Publishing. These days however things are changing - and rapidly. With the advent of eBooks and the ease in which anyone can publish to a platform like Amazon's Kindle, we are seeing newcomers outselling long established names.

Writers like Amanda Hocking, Joe Konrath and John Locke are selling books in tremendous, often unbelievable numbers - check out our interview with John Locke, the self styled world's greatest 99cent author HERE, - and giving the publishing giants a bloody nose. Locke’s book, Saving Rachel, was the first Indie book in history to hit #1 on Amazon/Kindle. In total, he has sold more than 875,000 downloads since January.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

So how are these authors doing it? Why is it that some self published writers go onto great success while others flounder? Is it to do with the quality of their work(?) - well, that's obviously a part of it but the biggest factor in their incredible sales in their ability to social network and used the internet to build a very real fanbase. It's not something the publishing world has ever seen before and they really don't know what to make of it. Some in the industry fear the very real possibility that these days publishers and agents are surplice to requirements.

The fact that the intrinsic worth of the book, play or whatever the author is trying to sell is the least, last factor in the whole transaction." George Bernard Shaw.

Amanda Hocking - on her way to the big bucks

A recent report in Entertainment Weekly suggested that the ease of self publishing was destroying publishing - Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and other e-readers might dangle the prospect of convenience for millions of bibliophiles around the world, with their light weight and instant access to whole libraries of e-books, but a new analyst report suggests the devices could eventually prove bad news for the publishing industry as a whole.

For the traditional book publishing industry, the implications of the rise of the e-book and e-book reader markets are frightening, given the decline in paper book printing, distribution and sales,” Steve Mather, IHS iSuppli’s principal analyst for wireless, wrote in an April 28 statement. “The industry has entered a phase of disruption that will be as significant as the major changes impacting the music and movie business.”

The firm predicts that physical book sales will decline at a compound annual rate of 5 percent. While e-book sales will rise during that same period, the increase won’t cover the revenue gap created by the decline in the physical book market. By 2014, the research note predicts, e-books will occupy some 13 percent of U.S. book publishing revenue, more than twice its current level.

And lately several authors long established in traditional publishing have jumped ship and decided to go the indie route - most notably Stephen Leather who is scoring huge successes by making his back catalogue available as self published eBooks. And the publishing world was rocked last year when The Ian Fleming Foundation, seized their digital rights and bypassed their print publisher to make the James Bond series available as self published eBooks.

And the self publishing market is growing and as well as Amazon's tool other companies are offering the self publishing ability. Sony recently announced a partnership with Smashwords and Author Solutions which will allow any author to upload a book to their eBook Store, giving self-published writers unprecedented access to the ubiquitous point-of-sale marketplace that is the e-reader.
Sony’s eReader division — which runs second in the market to Amazon Kindle — will only vet content for hate speech, plagiarism, improper formatting or public-domain books offered by another other than the legitimate author.

When paper and store shelves are scarce, it makes sense to have some sort of gatekeeper decide which books should or should not be published. But it’s an art, not a science: William Faulkner, Jack Kerouac, Rudyard Kipling, George Orwell, and Sylvia Plath are just a handful of legends whose work was rejected by publishers.

So what can the self published author do to raise awareness of their masterpiece.The essential website, Self Publishing Today recently published the following guidelines:

e-book marketing via your web site

Your website is already a natural tool (and hopefully an SEO optimized one…) for marketing the print version of your book. Add your e-book.
Don’t forget to add a purchase link to the e-book on Amazon or B&N. Make sure to note that it is available on Apple’s iBookstore.

promote your e-book on your blog

You do have a blog, right? You are already marketing your print book there (maybe creating posts from excerpts of select chapters every couple weeks or so…) Your e-book makes this even easier – since the content is already digital and easy to cut-and-paste.

market your e-book through your newsletter

If you have a newsletter for your business, web site, organization, etc – your readers are of course interested in what you have to say. An e-book provides another avenue for your readers to become purchasers. Make sure your e-book (and print book) are mentioned in EVERY newsletter your send.

build e-book awareness through your mailing list

It sounds simple – but you’d be surprised how many authors don’t mention their book (print or ‘e’) in their communication pieces. EVERY email you send, along with every post card you mail, should have a link to your book.

use your e-book as an event follow-up

If you presented at a conference, made a sales call, produced a webinar, exhibited at a trade show – all these can be great resources to send a ‘thank you’ note, and in that email include a link to your e-book.

e-books as sales collateral

It might seem counter-intuitive to give something away that you’d really like to sell, but if your e-book relates to your industry you just might be able to create added revenue (and drive future e-book sales) by using your e-book as a ‘leave behind’.

extract part of your e-book as a ‘white paper’ and syndicate the content

“Syndication” is a method of distributing content. It can seem a bit complex and confusing, and is far beyond the scope of this quick article – but you can find a ton on the topic out on the web. You can create amazing awareness for your e-book by releasing a contained part of the book as a ‘whitepaper’. It, of course, has to be content that can stand alone and is relevant to your topic – but it’s a great way to build interest in the e-book itself. Syndicators are sites that take content (like e-books, webcasts, blogs, etc.) pull it all together from broad sources and then make it available to subscribers.

market your e-book by sharing it with influential bloggers

Giving away content is a great way to reach out to bloggers. EVERY blogger is continually looking for great content to write about – let them have a copy of your e-book.

is your e-book (and print book) part of you LinkedIn profile?

Groups you join and your status should all be made aware of your e-book.

promote your e-book via your Twitter feed

Are there some great ‘one-liners’ in your e-book that you can use to deliver traffic to your web site? Does your book have stats or facts that lend themselves to tweets? Don’t forget to use a hashtag to encourage readers to comment and create conversations.

e-book marketing with a media release

You can reinvigorate your media release campaign by updating it on the release of your e-book.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

Good stuff. I need to do more of this.