Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

04/06/2015

Amazon Is Winning at Publishing – Here’s Some Reasons Why


Winning The Publishing Race

Tonight’s post will get into why Amazon is so much better at marketing and selling than the book publishing industry.

Briefly, the answer lies in push marketing versus pull marketing, timing (being late to the dinner table) and true innovation.

Tonight’s research/resource article is from The Digital Reader (Ink, Bits and Pixels) written by Nate Hoffelder:

 

The Ubiquitous Bookstore, Or Why Amazon is Winning at Publishing

Scholarly Kitchen posted an article yesterday which explains why Amazon is so much better at marketing and selling than the book publishing industry.

Joseph Esposito uses the post to lay out his vision for a new type of bookstore – one which could compete with Amazon. Describing Amazon as a destination site, Esposito sees its success as primarily due to pull marketing. In other words, Amazon draws people in by offering a huge warehouse of books and a great shopping experience.

To compete with Amazon, Esposito thinks publishers need to adapt to the new nature of the internet:

But the Web is now being brought to us; it’s evolving into a push medium. All that time we spend looking at the news feeds for Facebook, Flipboard, and Twitter point to where the Web is going and where new bookstores will have to be. To build a bookstore that goes head to head with Amazon is foolhardy. It would be easier to carry the ball into the defensive line of the Chicago Bears.

So a new bookstore is going to have to bring its offerings to where people are rather than the other way around; a new bookstore has to be ubiquitous. A recent example of this comes from HarperCollins,which has created an arrangement with Twitter to sell copies of the bestselling Divergent series of young adult novels from within individual tweets.

The fact that this is a topic of discussion in the publishing industry, in 2015 no less – folks, this is why Amazon is winning whatever war publishing feels it is fighting with the retailer.

It’s not that Esposito is wrong so much as that he is five years late to the discussion. Both Amazon and authors started push marketing at least 5 years ago.

 

Authors have been on social media since at least 2010, and they’ve been pushing people to bookstore to buy books. This concept is so well established that there are dozens of blog posts by indie authors which discuss the nuances of how to go about it.

What’s more, Amazon mastered the concept of push marketing even further back. I don’t know exactly when Amazon launched its affiliate network, but that was explicitly designed to give other websites a financial incentive to push customers to Amazon (h\t to Marshall Poe for making a similar argument in TSK’s comment section).

Tell me, can I make more money by pushing people to HarperCollins’ bookstore than by sending them to Amazon? No? Then why would I bother?

Speaking of HarperCollins, they are a great example of a publisher trying and failing to market and sell directly to consumers. Have you visited HarperCollins.com, and tried to browse, search, or buy an ebook?

I have, and so have several commenters on The Passive Voice. It’s terrible. If, as Esposito posits, direct retail is the future of publishing, then HC literally cannot build a retail site to save its life.

But never mind HarperCollins; let’s consider what Esposito wrote next:

From a conceptual point of view, the most interesting project I have stumbled upon for “post-destination” bookstores is that of Chris Kubica, who explained his work in two articles in Publishers Weekly, which you can find here and here. Kubica gathered a group of publishing people in New York to brainstorm about a post-Amazon bookstore. The conclusion was that each individual potentially could be the site or source of a bookstore–a bookstore of one. With seven billion people on the planet (and growing), that’s potentially seven billion bookstores. Now, how can Amazon compete with that?

Easy. Amazon thought of it first, they thought of it ages ago, and they do it better than anyone in publishing.

Folks, if you want to beat Amazon then you need to come up with an idea first. You can’t decide to adopt an SOP five years after it becomes an SOP. That’s not innovative; it’s reactionary.

 

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06/25/2014

Con’t: Book Launches, Stress, Introverted Authors = Spicy Gumbo of PPTSD (Post-Publishing Traumatic Stress Disorder)


Sharon Glassman

Yesterday’s post continued:

If, indeed, you tend to be stressed out and introverted and suck all the energy out of a room when involved in performing your publishing/author events (launching and marketing your book/s),  there ARE ways you can write the calming solutions right into your own event before hand — And, Sharon Glassman shows you how in her piece in the HuffPost below and when she lets you Meet the introvert heroine of her traveling novel-with-songs, BLAME IT ON HOBOKEN in this short video.

A traveling novel-with-songs is an intriguing vision in and of itself 🙂

 

5 Tips to Reduce Stress for Introvert and Highly-Sensitive Authors

If you’re an Introvert or Highly-Sensitive author, launching your book can traumatize you naturally. This excessive stress can lead to a condition I’ve named PPTSD (Post-Publishing Traumatic Stress Disorder). The name sounds funny. But its effects are serious.

(Read my feature about PPTSD here).

How can introverts and HSP authors publish our books successfully – and wholeheartedly – while honoring our need to recharge? How can we defuse our natural tendency to absorb a room’s energy during on an event-packed book launch or tour?

1) Eat the elephant in small bites to ward off the tiger

“The tiger” is a common metaphor for acute stress disorders and trauma. The metaphor refers to the fight-or-flight scenario of a cave dweller confronting a saber tooth tiger.

A book launch isn’t a tiger attack. Our higher brain knows this, intellectually. But our lower brain doesn’t differentiate between book-stress and tiger-stress. It leaps into survival mode when it feels threatened. And it can get stuck there. Trust me. It’s not fun.

One way to slow the brain’s rush to tiger-town?

Divide your Big Book Launch into bite-sized tasks. And then:

Celebrate each completed task.

Rest.

Repeat.

Why?

The brain’s repeated experience of small victories can create neural pathways that link your book launch process with feelings of achievement.

These positive links can boost your immunity to large stresses – and even minor annoyances, like my mixed metaphor about the tiger and the elephant.

2. Write “set breaks” into your work day

Have you noticed how bands hire opening acts or take set breaks during a show?

It’s an idea worth copying. Build, then satisfy your fans’ desire for your creative product by offering them your presence in packets. Enlist a musical or literary opening act. Create set breaks (official or ad-hoc) during a live event to conserve and recharge your physical energy.

The set-break concept is also useful on everyday workdays.

As Christine Gust, a former Halliburton HR manager who teaches practical applications of stress management tools in Colorado likes to say, “It’s amazing how much you can achieve by going for a walk.”

3. Schedule A Daily Author’s Retreat

“You need to retreat every day,” says Maureen Clancy, a New Jersey-based holistic psychotherapist and Highly-Sensitive Person, about the need for quiet amid a busy book tour or launch.

“Build it into your schedule, like you’re going to the dentist. Although, hopefully being with yourself will be more pleasant than going to the dentist.”

4. Bring a familiar scent to parties and events.

This is another tip of Clancy’s, which I now practice. She finds lavender to be a very relaxing scent, but let your nose be your guide.

You can wear your scent on your skin or on a piece of fabric.

“What happens is you inhale it and it goes to the part of the parasympathetic nervous system that helps you relax,” Clancy says.

This is particularly helpful if you’ll be speaking – or singing – at an event.

As singer-songwriter Vance Gilbert tells his students: our body uses our heartbeat as its metronome.

It may help to think of your heartbeat as your body-clock’s second hand.

A racing heart makes us speak and sing faster. Our tongue is timed to our speeding heartbeat.

A calmer heartbeat prompts us to communicate more calmly, creating a truly human connection between author and audience.

And isn’t that what this whole book-writing thing is about?

5) How does an HSP/Introvert yell for help?

If this were a joke, the punch line would be, “Please don’t yell. Yelling traumatizes me.”

But it’s a serious question.

Introverts and HSPs need to tell ourselves and others when we’re being stressed to unhealthy extremes. Especially since we can be overwhelmed by experiences others find “fun” or “exciting.”

To this end, I’ve been thinking about the idea of “author advocates” – friends, colleagues, or publishing team members who’d be willing to help Introvert and HSP authors launch and promote their books in mutually-beneficial ways.

Right now, my Introvert Author Advocate is my self.

I ask “her” (aka: me), “What would you suggest that I do, as someone who knows me, my book, and the publishing biz?”

And so far, she’s come up with some good ideas.

Do you have other suggestions for publishing, promoting or touring a book as an Introvert/HSP author? Do Introvert/HSP tips work for extrovert authors as well?

Please share your thoughts in comments below and at Sharon’s HuffPostl article here:

 

 

 

 

03/02/2014

More on Disrupting the Book Publishing Game


New publisher will do marketing & distribution

Or is ‘improving’ a better word than ‘disrupting’?

The Foundry Group, a venture capital firm located in Boulder, Colorado, is entering the book publishing field with an interesting but not totally new business model.

The purpose of the new Foundry Group Press (FGP) will be to connect authors directly with readers by exterminating the traditional role of publishers. FGP will split book revenue 50 – 50, not as good as Amazon, BUT, FGP will help with marketing and distribution (a big deal if done right) and commit to “uncompromising use of forward-looking technologies and approaches to create the best possible book,” their site said.

FGP will also produce traditional print books as well as digital e-books.

Co-founder and CEO Dane McDonald and especially Foundry Group managing director Brad Feld (a prolific writer in his own right) offer many insightful thoughts in their own published books that show why the relationship between authors, publishers, and readers is broken—and that publishing houses are at fault.

Insightful publishing research links are included in tonight’s source data article written by  in the Xconomy (Boulder/Denver):

 

Foundry Group Looking to Disrupt Book Publishing With New Startup

The Foundry Group is getting into the book publishing game.

The Boulder, CO-based venture capital firm said Wednesday that it has formed FG Press, a startup publishing house.

The purpose of the new press will be to better connect authors and readers by upending the traditional role of publishers, according to the FG Press website.

“We believe there should be no barrier to entry for the creation of long-form content, quality should never be compromised to grow the bottom line, and there should exist a direct and continuous relationship between author and reader,” the site said.

Sounds idealistic, perhaps, but not naïve. Among the innovations the press will offer is a 50-50 split of revenue from book sales, help with marketing and distribution, and a commitment to be “uncompromising in using forward-looking technologies and approaches to create the best possible book,” the site said.

The press will produce traditional print books and digital e-books, and it will experiment with technologies that allow for interaction between authors and readers, according to the site.

Co-founder and CEO Dane McDonald said the company will work with authors from a variety of genres, but at the start it will focus on what its backers know best—books about startups, entrepreneurship, and business management, along with some science fiction.

The press already plans to publish eight books this year. It will be self-funded and is a separate entity from Foundry Group.

Article continues here

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12/04/2013

How To Be An Authorpreneur


Kamy Wicoff, author and entrepreneur

As most can decipher, an authorpreneur is simply an author who thinks as an entrepreneur and handles his/her new book as a product that s/he takes full responsibility for in determining its success. They think outside the box — especially the Big Five publisher box.

In so doing, they can keep and reap more! They keep more artistic and business control and reap more profits (70% vs a paltry 15%). They take more risk — BUT, new tech and business models have minimized that risk.

Tonight’s post shows just how one previously successful traditionally published author, Kamy Wicoff, jumped the TP ship and struck out on her own and learned how to think like an entrepreneur — even after she was offered a Big Five TP publishing contract for her first ‘fiction’ book effort.

Kamy has also started her own startup book publishing press, She Writes Press, to give assistance to those who wish to learn and follow in her footsteps — This link includes some short, informative videos.

Key excerpts:

“… entrepreneurship has become part of our professional lives whether we like it or not. New books are like startups, and authors are their founders, CEOs, marketing departments, and human resources, all rolled up into one. In light of this, authors need to stop viewing the average traditional deal as the only legitimate way to publish, but to think instead as business owners evaluating the terms of a partnership, weighing what they get against what they give away. And I would argue that for most of the 99%, what traditional publishers offer is not worth what they demand in exchange—a whopping 85% of the ownership of an author’s book.”

“Of course this isn’t right for everyone, the biggest issue being the initial investment in a book when weighed against the possibility of an advance. But it certainly deserves the attention of any thoughtful authorpreneur, who should take a look before making the traditional-publishing-deal leap.”

Now, Kamy Wicoff’s thoughts as related in 2Paragraphs.com (Personal Stories Section):

 

Turning Down a Big Five Publishing Book Deal

A couple of months ago, I did something I never would have dreamed of doing when I began my career as an author: I turned down an offer from a Big Five publisher—and not, as would usually be the case, to take a better offer from another Big Five publisher. Why? Because, after carefully evaluating the deal and stacking it up against the risks and benefits of publishing my book (not my first, but my first foray into fiction) with my own press, the case for doing so was so compelling that even my deepest insecurities weren’t enough to stop me from seeing the light. Yes, it was hard to walk away from the validation and status that comes with a traditional book deal. But when I took a long hard look at what that deal had to offer and compared it with the thrilling new possibilities that thinking outside of the Big Five box now have to offer, it wasn’t much of a contest. This is partly because, in the years since I published my first book traditionally and now, radical changes in technology have made it possible for independent presses to do just about everything big publishing houses can do. But it was also because, in the years since my first book and this one, I founded a startup and learned, for the first time, to think like an entrepreneur.

Story continued –

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11/23/2013

Custom Publishing Can Help Sell Your Books


Custom Publishing Examples

How often have you heard a conversation something like this:

“Hell, man, having struggled through writing my novel I now find that THAT was the easy part. Marketing the damn thing and getting buyers and readers is ten times harder!”

True enough. Even if you’re a newbie with an agent and a big house publishing contract. They’re not going to throw big bucks behind an unknown — Oh sure, they will get you into a distribution system (like shelf space in a Barnes & Noble bookstore) for a short time, BUT, they are not going to fund major advertising for your book while it gathers dust on that bookshelf.

YOU’RE going to have to get the word out RE your own book and at your own expense (of course this also includes self-published e-books).

Everybody complains about marketing their own books — And you know why, don’t you? Because hardly any of us know beans about real marketing techniques — And what we do know is probably wrong — Hence, the poor results whenever we try to do any self-help marketing.

SO, this situation shouts at us to learn as much about marketing our books as we can; even to the point of taking some college training courses (or better yet, get the whole damn marketing degree if your situation allows).

Well, all that said, tonight’s post will discuss a good way to market your book by writing and publishing something ABOUT your book — this kind of publishing is called custom publishing, content marketing, custom media, branded media, etc. in our country and contract publishing and customer publishing in the UK.

If you can write a decent novel, you can do this. But, if you have some resources, let a professional custom publisher (a growing field now) handle it. They will have contacts/contracts to get the piece about your novel in the right places and the equipment and staff to make the piece professionally glossy and dynamic.

Some top custom publishers are Diablo Custom Publishing, TMG Custom Media, Rodale Grow and Pace. These firms were among custom publishing’s prominent firms gathered at the Liberty Theater in New York Monday night during the annual Pearl Awards presented by the Custom Content Council. TMG and Pace took home most of the gold Pearl awards.

More details at Virtual-Strategy Magazine:

Diablo Custom Publishing Takes Home Two Gold Pearl Awards

The Pearl Awards are an annual event created by the Custom Content Council, an international association, to honor excellence in editorial, design and strategy in the custom content industry.

Walnut Creek, CA (PRWEB) November 21, 2013

Diablo Custom Publishing (DCP) was honored with two Gold Pearl awards for its exceptional work in custom publishing on November 12, 2013, at the Pearl Awards ceremony held at the Highline Ballroom in New York City. DCP received a Gold Award for Best Opening Spread for the April 2013 edition of Giants magazine and a Gold Award for Best Feature Article/Package for UC Hastings, Spring 2013.

Giants magazine, the official magazine of the San Francisco Giants, is produced six times per baseball season. The magazine’s mission is to engage Giants fans through in-depth articles and personalized stories about the players and the Giants’ organization. The winning design features an action photo of Buster Posey taken during the 2012 National League Championship Series. The spread was designed by DCP designer Jake Watling, incorporating a photo from Missy Mikulecky, Director of Photography and Archives, San Francisco Giants.

Read more here

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09/08/2013

The Straightest Gay Guy Who Channels the Bawdy, Booz and Genius-Soaked Literary Scene of the Past


Giancarlo DiTrapano

Giancarlo DiTrapano IS that ‘straightest gay guy’ that NOT ONLY reminds me of (channels) the great past ‘cult-genius-often underground-liquor-soaked-literary-scene, BUT, also embodies and introduces the present day cult, writer geniuses.

Past infamous, heavy drinking writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Ramond Chandler, James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Truman Capote, Dylan Thomas, Edgar Allen Poe, Tennessee Williams and O. Henry, just to name a few, created some of the most lasting and renowned characters and scene-settings to ever be word-painted on paper!

Well, Giancarlo DiTrapano, in his New York studio flat and through his New York Tyrant and Tyrant Books, a literary magazine and small press, is introducing us to the current crop of bad-boy-genius-writers. These newer published authors reads like a who’s who of the 21st century’s best writers: Brian Evenson, Noy Holland, Michael Kimball, Gary Lutz, Rachel B. Glaser, Scott McClanahan, Sam Lipsyte, Padgett Powell, Breece D’J Pancake and Gordon Lish, to name a few. ‘Tyrant consistently publishes writers that large houses refuse to touch — and it’s growing.’

Want to learn more about the current, underground, cult, literary scene/atmosphere of New York? Michael Bible (interesting author last name for this bawdy-ish article) spells it out in Salon.com (the award-winning online news and entertainment Web site):

Publishing bad boy Giancarlo DiTrapano: Gordon Lish calls me “darling”

The New York Tyrant editor on coming out, running a small press and being an author in the age of Twitter

This article originally appeared on the L.A. Review of Books.


WHEN PEOPLE ROMANTICIZE literary New York, the conversation inevitability turns to famous writers and the places where they drank: Dylan Thomas at the White Horse, Faulkner and Hemingway at the now defunct Chumley’s in West Village, the elegant drunks at George Plimpton’s apartment. Nowadays many literary functions in New York consist of some hummus and maybe a glass or two of white wine and everyone’s home in time to catch The Daily Show. Multiple factors have contributed to this taming of New York letters. Many working writers are sequestered to academia, maybe due to the fact that New York has become prohibitively costly for artists to live as artists. New York Tyrant and Tyrant Books, a literary magazine and small press, is the exception to the rule. When I sat down with Giancarlo DiTrapano, the editor of Tyrant Books, in the little studio apartment which doubles as the Tyrant’s offices for this interview, he offered me Xanax, whiskey, and cocaine (not kidding) on a silver platter.

Founded by Giancarlo in 2006, New York Tyrant’s roll call of published authors reads like a who’s who of the 21st century’s best writers: Brian Evenson, Noy Holland, Michael Kimball, Gary Lutz, Rachel B. Glaser, Scott McClanahan, Sam Lipsyte, Padgett Powell, Breece D’J Pancake and Gordon Lish, to name a few. Tyrant consistently publishes writers that large houses refuse to touch — and it’s growing.

Giancarlo, Tyrant’s editor, publisher and publicity director, lives in Hell’s Kitchen, not far from the big publisher’s corporate offices. When you come up from the subway on 42nd Street you’re bombarded by grinning idiots enjoying Giuliani’s Disneyfied New York. But walk a few blocks to Giancarlo’s apartment and the neon fades a bit.

He lives in a ground floor studio with little back patio, an upright piano, a poster from the cult film “Over the Edge,” a farting, loveable bulldog named Rufus and, of course, books. Everywhere. Giancarlo himself could pass easily as a visiting Italian. Always well dressed, he’s a bit rough around the edges, cigarette constant in his mouth. He tells me he’s just talked to Gordon Lish, the infamous Knopf editor who edited Raymond Carver, Barry Hannah, Joy Williams and Amy Hempel, to name a few. Lish’s last book with Knopf was published in 1990s but his influence has garnered a cult-like worship from young writers.

“Lish couldn’t talk,” Giancarlo says. “He was on the other line with Don DeLillo.” Giancarlo has often been looked upon as Lish’s heir apparent, the Lish of the internet age. “He calls me Darling.” Lish has a cell phone? I ask. “No. House phone. He says my name comes up as Diazepam [the pharmaceutical name for Valium] on his caller ID.” Gordon Lish has caller ID? I ask. And two-way calling? “Yes,” says Giancarlo, “but he has no tolerance for computers. He calls it The Machine. I think he would be great on Twitter, though. Just one sentence. That’s his whole thing. He’s really missing out.”

Giancarlo is no stranger to the internet. Small presses like Tyrant couldn’t exist without it. Where Lish failed to reach a large enough audience, Giancarlo has leveraged social media to attain a worldwide audience at little-to-no cost. In the early 2000s, big presses raced to catch up with the internet, drawn by promises of free word-of-mouth advertising, only to find the small presses were already there.

I ask about Tyrant’s latest book, Marie Calloway’s what purpose did i serve in your life. The book ran into controversy reminiscent of the days of Joyce and Nabokov: the printer refused it due to the frank nature of the book’s sexual subject matter and lascivious photos of its author. It’s the kind of great “bad” publicity that every publisher dreams of. The book is polarizing; Publishers Weekly put it this way: “[Calloway is either] a sex-kitten, a feminist using her own body as a laboratory; or she’s a vapid internet-age narcissist.” Love it or hate it, the book is a hit — an anomaly for small publishers.

An unlikely candidate to become the face of the New York literary vanguard, Giancarlo DiTrapano was born in West Virginia. “My grandfather came from Italy when he was 14 to work in the coal mines. He saved enough money to go back to Italy and find a wife. He discovered a 17th century castelletto that the Americans had bombed during the war and the Nazis occupied. The gambler who owned it lost all his money and sold it to my grandfather for cheap.” Giancarlo’s family owns the castle to this day. His grandfather came back to the states and settled in Charleston, West Virginia’s largest city.

Continued @ original article

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04/27/2013

The Publishing Industry is Just Experiencing Growing Pains – Not Armageddon!


Publishing Business experiencing growing pains

The change washing across the publishing industry has caused some, even some so-called pros within the profession, untold angst and driven them to overdose on Bromo Seltzer, declare an end to ‘literature’ and ALL things cultural, for that matter – It’s no f—ing wonder they haven’t jumped out of 30th floor windows like when the market crashed in ’29!

Just goes to show you that being learned in a profession does not immune you from stupidity when that profession experiences inevitable change/growth. We all enter the food chain at a specific snapshot in time — and having cut our teeth on and learned the ‘procedures-of-the-day’, resulting in income/rewards of varying degrees (depending, perhaps, on our karma), we think what we have mastered will never change and we will live in this snapshot in time forever after.

Bullshit! — Just as we age and change, so does everything else – including publishing.

Please read this post on my Writers Welcome Blog: James Patterson Wants Government to Bail Out Book Industry for a little background.

Relax, folks, the publishing industry is going to be just fine, literature is NOT going to disintegrate – in fact, it’s going to EXPLODE as never before for those that will come after us and books, both digital and print AND future formats, will live and thrive together. Bank on it.

This view by Brandon Barb as reported in The Spencer Daily Reporter:

 

The publishing industry is safe

The publishing industry is in the same boat as the newspaper industry. Both are dealing with digital formats that are quickly changing the way people read and consume content, but neither industry has quite figured out how to utilize that digital aspect to a full extent. When those formats are ironed out the industries will be just fine. Neither books nor newspapers are going to go away.

With that being said, successful author and writer James Patterson is calling for the U.S. government to bail out the publishing industry. For some background, Patterson’s books have sold millions of copies and he is on four New York Times bestseller lists. He isn’t exactly in need of a bailout, nor is the publishing industry.

Patterson called for the bailout in an advertisement placed in the New York Times Book Review and Publishers Weekly. It asks, “If there are no bookstores, no libraries, no serious publishers with passionate, dedicated, idealistic editors, what will happen to our literature?”

The same can be said for the newspaper business. If there are no newspapers or magazines, where will people read news that matters? Where will our news come from if not from editors and writers all over the world?

Read and learn more

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02/16/2012

History Says: Book Publishing Will Survive Digital Age


Book Publishing Survival?

How many times have you heard the old adage ‘if history is any indication …’

Well, I found a little history and intrigue RE the publishing industry that points out its numerous fights for survival against medieval digital-age-like challenges 🙂 The results of these scrimmages may point to a future outcome a little different than envisioned by some today enamored with all things digital. 

From Bloomberg.com by Ellen F. Brown:

Why Book Publishing Can Survive Digital Age

Word on the street is that the publishing industry is under attack by technology. Amazon.com Inc. has launched a bare-knuckled assault against independent bookstores. Print-on-demand firms make it possible for anyone to get his work on the market, and thus threaten to render agents and editors obsolete. And with e-books priced so low, how can authors and booksellers earn a decent living?

Yet the publishing industry has a long history of weathering these sorts of challenges, and its past offers some optimism for the future.

In the 1920s, drug, grocery and department stores gave booksellers fits by offering popular titles at cut-rate prices. An old industry yarn tells the story of a flapper looking to buy lipstick. She walks into a bookstore and excuses herself when she realizes she had made a mistake. “I’m sorry,” she says, “I thought this was a drugstore, I saw books in the window.”

Also problematic was the Book of the Month Club, a distribution company founded in 1926 that sold inexpensive hardcover versions of popular books through mail order. Within 10 years of its founding, the club had almost 200,000 members. Ten years later, there were more than 50 imitator clubs in North America with more than 3 million participants.

And, of course, there was the ultimate competitor to bookstores: public libraries. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, communities across the U.S. funded the construction of facilities where books could be had for free, albeit only on loan.

Then came the “paperback revolution.” According to Publishers Weekly, word spread at the 1939 American Booksellers Convention that “some reckless publisher” was going to bring out a series of paperback reprints of popular novels to be sold for only a quarter a piece. The industry was equal measures aghast at the nerve of such a plan — American readers had proved notoriously resistant to paperbacks — and terrified that it might succeed. Major publishers fretted that, if the books proved popular, the reprints would kill hardcover sales of the featured titles. Most booksellers refused to stock the series, unwilling to compete with their existing inventories of full-priced books.

Undeterred by the negative buzz, publisher Robert de Graff advertised his New Pocket Books directly to readers with a mail-order coupon system and to wholesalers who sold magazines to newsstands and grocery stores. He touted his books as small enough to be carried in a pocket or purse and “as handy as a pencil, as modern and convenient as a portable radio — and as good looking.”

The industry watched with amazement when the books sold like wildfire. Skeptical publishers couldn’t remain aloof for long in the face of such obvious success and rushed to produce their own lines of paperback reprints.

Read and learn more

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07/28/2011

A New Way to Reinvent Book Publishing?


Unbound Publishing, the Kickstarter for books

How about getting the public’s opinion on the viability of a book story … AND THEN get them to contribute to its funding, story input and advance? Pretty cool, huh?

Well this business model is being fine-tuned, tweaked and used by Unbound Publishing in the United Kingdom.

“…with Unbound the funding for the book–as well as the fan’s approval process, which is very public–happens up front, and much more swiftly…and the marketing happens by word of mouth.”

Details by Kit Eaton in FastCompany.com :

Unbound’s Crowd-Financed, Spine-Tingling Effort To Reinvent Book Publishing

Unbound publishing, the Kickstarter for books, just had its very first success: It reached its target so that it could produce and then publish a new book by none other than Terry Jones, of Monty Python fame. Why is the tech and publishing world so excited about a single book from a lone, unheard-of, pint-sized publisher? Because the whole principle behind Unbound is to take the ancient, leather-bound business model of book publishing, rip out its crumbling pages, and replace it with crowd-funding, social interaction, and tandem digital publications and real hardback books. 

Here’s the core of Unbound’s idea: It proposes a new book on its website, and people choose to “donate” a small amount of money to it, in the hope that the book gets produced. The more money you donate, the more likely the target will be reached, and the bigger “treats” you get–right up to dinner with the author. When the target is reached, writing begins and people who’ve funded the book get special access to a back room at Unbound’s website, where they can interact in limited form with the author as the book emerges. At the end, an e-text is published and distributed, but you can also choose to get a high-quality hardback edition, printed on good paper with cloth binding for people who like their books to be weighty, well-designed, and smell like traditional books.

Unbound (tagline: “Books Are Now In Your Hands”) is most similar to Kickstarter, the crowd-sourced funding body that’s been responsible for all sorts of interesting projects from iPod Nano wristwatches to a swimming pool. “We get a little bit of gyp from purists who say we’re not opening the platform out as wide as Kickstarter,” Unbound’s cofounder John Mitchinson explained to Fast Company, “Which at the moment is definitely true.”

Unbound promotes carefully selected books–from well-known names–to see if the crowd is keen to buy a final product, and that’s definitely no Kickstarter. “We’re managing the back end in a way that Kickstarter doesn’t,” says Mitchinson. “They’re a pure fundraising platform.” In comparison, Unbound takes on more of a traditional publisher role once the funding target is raised. “We’re printing and distributing and finding the market for the books,” says Mitchinson. 

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01/11/2011

More Becoming Authors to Supplement Incomes in Recession


Many folks are trying their hands at writing in hopes of generating additional income (some do-most don’t)…AND, if they do complete a manuscript, the really hard part begins with getting the damn thing published traditionally; which is the only way most know about when starting out.

Aspiring authors today are thrown into reality fast when they try to publish and have been quickly learning about the publishing upheavel brought on by all the giant-killing, field-leveling, new technology that has exploded the self-publishing industry and knighted it with respectability. Further, the new publishing tech has made self-publishing the intelligent, cool thing to do.

But, mister “make-a-lot-of-money” in this new self-publishing world has not made his debut yet…at least not that I’ve noticed. Will the money improve? I definitely think so…the possibilities with the rapidly increasing readership and reading gadgets is simply mind-boggling!

Here is a PRWeb press release, through the San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGate, giving some insightful publishing guidance from 3L Publishing Co. which just released Vanity Circus: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Avoid Publishing Crap:

More Individuals Pursue Becoming Authors to Supplement Income in this Economy 

Business owners and individuals who have lost their jobs or seek new ways to supplement their income are turning to book publishing as a way to make money. More than ever, the economy has forced some people to figure out creative ways to make money or reinvent their careers – and many of these people have decided to write a book; however, when it comes time to consider publishing that book, these people face many unknowns and have unanswered questions. To provide information about a complex and changing industry, 3L Publishing released Vanity Circus: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Avoid Publishing Crap.

“We know that title makes people laugh,” said Michelle Gamble-Risley, co-author and president of 3L Publishing. “Yet the truth is in the subtitle – there is a lot of crap out there, and many authors get stuck in bad situations with traditional or self-publishing models where they can’t make money. It’s not easy to be an author no matter how you look at it – and we want writers or would-be authors to know exactly what are their options.”

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