Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


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, 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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IndieReCon LIVE – The Only Self-Publishing-Focused Event in North America

IndieReCon LIVE co-founders take a selfie

Today a little fun info is in order:) We will be discussing a really neat, first of its kind, self-publishing conference. This is the first live conference resulting from two previous successful online conferences.

The four beautifully intelligent co-founders are pictured at left. The two-day conference has some meaningful and informative events scheduled with some great speakers/teachers. And also some creative, fun events mixed in for good measure; such as a Pajama-Rama Book Rave, a free event open to the public, a non-traditional book signing pajama party featuring writers from across the nation (Authors will include Vancouver-based Cheri Lasota and Miral Sattar from New York), a disco ball, music, treats and a photographer there to capture the fun. The first 300 people will receive a tote bag of swag.

The two-day event will be crammed full of classes split into three educational tracks, ranging from beginner to advanced. Topics will include classes like “Marketing That Works — Selling Books Now,” taught by Leigh T Moore and advanced classes like “Using Kickstarter to Start Your Career,” taught by Adam Sidwell.

At the end of the conference there will be an event called “The Howeys,” an award ceremony named after American author Hugh Howey and the public is invited to the Excellence in Publishing Awards ceremony, complete with a red carpet, photographer and DJ acting as MC.

The following research article for tonight’s post was written by Keri Lunt Stevens, who covers Community & Business News for the Daily Herald in Utah County:

Author conference aims to make self-publishing a mission possible

“After two successful online conferences, four Utah friends will host IndieReCon LIVE, the only self-publishing-focused event of its kind held in North America.

The two-day conference starts Friday and will be held at the Salt Lake Community College Miller Campus in Sandy.

Aimed to show participants how to take control of their publishing career, industry experts will teach classes about navigating online vendors, building a publishing team, finding a cover artist and more.

The purpose of the conference isn’t to convert writers to indie publishing, but to show them their options so they can determine what route is right for them, said co-founder Cindy M. Hogan.

About three years ago, among other reasons, Hogan decided to pursue self-publishing after learning how little compensation she would receive through traditional publishing.

“I made every mistake in the book,” she said.

Her goal then became how to help others not do the same. She started a blog and kept at her original self-publishing goal, and eventually took her trilogy “Watched” to press. It was picked up by Costco three months later, and is now her most well-known work.

“I really, honestly believe that we can give these writers not only the ability or knowledge they need to indie publish,” she said, “but also the courage, the strength and fortitude, because it is not an easy path to take.”

The event will connect writers and provide them with a well-rounded experience that will leave them feeling confident, secure and knowledgeable about self-publishing, she said.

Registration starts Friday at 11:15 a.m., with classes set to start at noon. Classes are split into three educational tracks, ranging from beginner to advanced. After an evening break for dinner, the night will wrap-up with a Pajama-Rama Book Rave, a free event open to the public.

From 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., community members are invited to a non-traditional book signing pajama party featuring writers from across the nation. Authors will include Vancouver-based Cheri Lasota and Miral Sattar from New York.

Attendees can expect a disco ball, music, treats and a photographer there to capture the fun. The first 300 people will receive a tote bag of swag, Hogan said.

Saturday classes will run from 9 a.m. to 5:50 p.m., with a two-hour lunch break planned midday. Participants can choose from beginner classes like “Marketing That Works — Selling Books Now,” taught by Leigh T Moore and advanced classes like “Using Kickstarter to Start Your Career,” taught by Adam Sidwell.

The event will conclude with “The Howeys,” an award ceremony named after American author Hugh Howey.

Starting at 8 p.m., the public is invited to the Excellence in Publishing Awards ceremony, complete with a red carpet, photographer and DJ acting as MC. Howey himself will not be at the event, but has sent a video encouraging and congratulating the authors.

For more information about the classes or to register online, visit Class-goers can also register at the door.”

For those of us who are unable to attend this conference, I’m hoping they will display it ‘after-the-fact’ on YouTube so we all can garnish some knowledge from this unique event:)

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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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Self-Published Books Are Dynamic ‘Business Cards’

For those who want to learn more about marketing their books — and do so free or at low-cost — guess what? The tools are right in front of you like low hanging fruit, ready to be picked 🙂

To publish and market your big ‘masterpiece’ for lucrative purposes, you might first try self-publishing smaller works for non-lucrative purposes (and they might even make a few bucks, too). 

Are you with me? Or are you thoroughly confused?

Self-publishing can cut through tons of red tape and time-consuming study programs to give you instant credibility, expertise, build your fan base and establish a platform from which to launch your ‘masterpiece’ (and subsequent works) — not to mention a calling card that showcases your talent.

All of this assumes, of course, that you possess a modicum of talent.

Scott Steinberg, a professional keynote speaker, business strategist and CEO of TechSavvy Global, a management consulting and market research firm, explains more in this article from Huff Post Business:

What the Publishing Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

Outside of 50 Shades of Grey, self-publishing a book is seldom lucrative — but for entrepreneurs, executives and authors alike, it can also be an exercise that’s well worth taking. Not only do self-published works establish subject matter expertise, provide a platform for growing visibility via media and speaking engagements, and offer a vehicle through which to rise above increasingly impenetrable volumes of marketing-, PR- and social media-generated noise. They also act as a signature calling card for you and your business; heighten trust and engagement; serve as demonstrations of your talents and services; provide a low-risk way to test potential markets; act as a unique promotional leave-behind; let you cost-effectively garner fan feedback; create added revenue streams; and, most importantly, offer an immediate way to set an individual, brand or company apart.

An inside secret: Many authors actually refer to them as “business cards” — because that’s exactly how they can function. Many savvy content creators likewise use them to create direct customer relationships, build a community following and create a stable income-generating platform through which to launch future products, services, and startups. But the truly wise? They’ll leverage such opportunities to create heightened visibility, open doors (including securing otherwise unattainable networking, speaking and consulting opportunities) and negotiate better deals. Successful authors not only enjoy heightened awareness and a boost in perceived value. They may further find it’s far easier to bargain with prospective publishing partners, should they wish to expand into new areas or volumes. Establish audience demand, build ongoing revenue channels and cultivate one-to-one customer relationships, and you not only mitigate risk for all parties involved. If you can prove out demand for your works, and are already bringing money in the door, you’ll also be able to negotiate better deals. Leverage gained can allow you to comfortably refuse onerous terms, retain greater equity in creations and enjoy the freedom to step away from failing partnerships without fear.

Better still, thanks to the rise of technology, online and social media tools, suddenly, anyone can advertise and promote their works affordably — meaning, for the most part, that you can tell coaches and consultants to take a hike. However, for those who do choose to go the DIY route, it also bears remembering: Even in the best of cases, from a promotional standpoint, due to the sheer volume of products, services and announcements competing for attention, you’re still screaming into a wind tunnel. Happily though, with a little ingenuity and a good hook, you too can effectively market your works to the masses, potentially scoring high-profile placements and media mentions. Interested in getting started? Having successfully launched new publishing label READ.ME, and launched two back-to-back bestsellers (The Crowdfunding Bible and Modern Parent’s Guide) featured in dozens of leading press outlets, we counsel keeping in mind the following hints, tips and advice.

Read and learn more

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Insight Into How SEO Affects Publishing and Content (and Ultimately Book Marketing)

In days prior, one who understood how to juggle (fool) the search engines with keywords, etc. could fool robot search crawlers into promoting shit content into digital/online best sellers.

Well, google is working to make content king in publishing once again with last year’s Panda release and the more recent Penguin release. Google is going to flip SEO on its head.

How will they ever find the algorithms or formulas to rank content itself? 

Details are provided by Yaron Galai [you’ll find this guy quite interesting 🙂 ] in :

How Google’s ‘Penguin’ Update Will Change Publishing, for the Better

Over the past decade, the publishing industry been swinging on a pendulum created by the effects of search engine optimization (SEO). In the old, primarily print days, the most successful publishers were those that could produce great content for a specific audience and keep that audience engaged via subscriptions or at the newsstands. More recently, the kings of publishing were those that could best engage web crawlers and monetize their sites through a windfall of free search traffic. The focus has been less on creating great content and engaging readers than on producing lots of words on lots of pages to engage web crawlers.

But there is a silver lining to all of this. With last year’s Panda release, and the more recent Penguin release, Google is going to flip SEO on its head. If Old SEO enabled some to fool a crawler into indexing borderline junk content to get high rankings, New SEO looks likely to take any notion of fooling anyone out of the equation. 

New SEO will put all publishers on more equal footing, favoring those that produce quality content that is highly engaging to a certain audience. If SEO was previously a linear method of feeding a crawler with words and links, Google’s results are now the result of a feedback loop: show them that you can produce quality content that people are attracted to, and free search traffic will follow. 

There are two ways for a user to arrive at content — the first is actively searching for it on a search engine like Google or Bing. The second is to discover or stumble onto it via a link on another website, an e-mail from a friend, a link shared on Twitter or Facebook, etc. “Discovery” encompasses all those times we reach a page without first typing a keyword into a search box.

Read and learn more

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