It's about the numbers
If you're a writer, you are about deafened by all the shouting and caterwauling regarding ebooks and the future of publishing (always expressed in Apocalyptic simpering). There's no doubt that publishing has definitely changed, both bad and good for us writers.
On the bad side:
For most novelists, the multiple book contract is dead, and a series limps along based on the sales of the last book. Advances for even established, bestselling authors are shrinking, often to half or a quarter of what they were five years ago.
On the plus side:
The continuing growth of ebooks allows the writer to circumvent the previous roadblock for self-publishing--the distributor. Before ebooks, if you self-published you had to fork over tens of thousands for hard copies of the books and then find a distributor to market them (and a bookstore willing to shelf them). Now you don't need any hard copies and through Amazon, Barnes & Noble's Nook, etc., your book has the potential to reach a huge and growing audience.
The big however
for self-published ebooks remains that you still have to market them.
One golden marketing tactic was Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing Select program. The premise behind this tactic was that you'd offer free downloads of your book for a day or two to build buzz, and thousands of free downloads later, you'd put the book back on sale, then Ka-Ching!
those thousands of freebies would translate into thousands of sales. But the ease of self-publishing means there's a glut of manuscripts available that should have never gone further than the trash folder. Now offering free downloads doesn't always work, and with the glut of bad free books, seems to work even less.
Forbes provides a welcome and factual analysis of how well free downloads have worked to market a book. Read the article here.
The most sobering statistic?
Weekly average a book sold before free loads--5. Weekly average AFTER free downloads--49.
Hardly day job quitting money.
But not so fast. I personally know two writers who have earned enough from ebooks to quit their day jobs. And several others who have rejuvenated their careers after getting jerked around in traditional publishing.
So what works? Marketing is governed by several proven principles, but applying marketing is an art, not a science. What worked yesterday may not work today. What works now may not work tomorrow. Elle Lothlorien shares her experience pimping ebooks and the need to remain nimble in your approach
One commonly repeated tenet is that the best marketing tool is to write a good book. But what does that mean? I have writer friends who have written splendid books, and those books simply not have gained the attention and sales they deserve.
And so to pimp two deserving writer pals we have:
From Publishers Lunch:
"New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author CJ Lyons
where a critically ill teenage girl discovers that other teens are
coming down with the same sickness, and the illness may not be what it
seems to Leah Hultenschmidt at Sourcebooks by Barbara Poelle at Irene
Goodman Agency. (world English) Foreign Rights: Heather Shapiro at Baror International."
Plus this very nice article about YA and mystery writer Jess Lourey
. Like, or better yet, buy The Toadhouse Trilogy, Book One
Lastly! Sound the alarm!
The University of Doom website
is finally up. Mad science. Evil genius. Schemes and inventions gone very wrong. Plus awesome Lego videos.
Labels: Amazon. Elle Lothlorien, eBooks, Forbes, Jess Lourey, University of Doom