Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Indie Authors

Continuing Our Conversation about Traditional vs Self-Published Book Promotion


book promotion Our current conversation began on June 27th

You may want to take that link to see what was said…

And, I’ll break my usual pattern of posting to share the questions I asked at the end of that post:

> Have you had a book traditionally published?   Was the marketing for that book sufficient?

> Have you self-published a book?   What promotional strategies are you using?

Or, do you have a book nearly through the revision and editing stages and you’re considering which form of publishing will help your book end up in the hands of a “sufficient” number of readers?

Just before I share the reader comment that let this conversation continue, I’ll share my own basic views of traditional and self-published book promotion:

Traditional — Some promotion — at first — usually quickly withdrawn (especially for a first book…)

Self-Published — Completely up to you — only stops when you stop it — certainly can be wildly creative…

The first part of this conversation was responded to by an author in the UK:

“My first self published book sold over 200 copies and, although I was new to promoting I did all the usual things, local radio, local press, a website, offering talks etc. Any approaches to national papers or celebrities came to nothing. I built up a local following of about 50 people who then bought every book I wrote ( now seven) and poetry books I edited. They supported me, rather than the books. This may be the secret to marketing – self promotion. I don’t know. I’m still waiting to be discovered by the public at large.You know me, I write for fun, not money.”

Do take note what was “usual” for her—local promotion tasks…

And while she said nothing came of national efforts, many folks consider the normal first approach to be International, via blogging and social media—quite often with scant response, at First, since it seems to take awhile for any promotion to take hold…

And, I can’t find a thing wrong with going local first—having 50 local fans is something most writers never attain…

I find one statement from this seasoned author utterly critical:

“They supported me, rather than the books.”

All the promotional methods I’ve checked out that make rational sense and come from folks who know exactly what they’re talking about bring up the idea that you need a promotional strategy that embraces people, first and foremost — if folks like You, there’s a great likelihood they’ll like your books…

In traditional publishing, when the writer relies completely on the publisher to promote their book, the factor of human connection is invariably lacking; and, many traditionally published authors only got real promotion going when they took the reins into their own hands…

In case you didn’t read the first post in this conversation, here’s one book every self-publishing author needs to read:

Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience

To further encourage you to check out that book, here’s some of the blurb:

“As writers and artists, we feel the drive to do meaningful work, but we get overwhelmed by the process of connecting with an audience. We follow best practices in marketing that never seem to pan out, don’t produce results, and make us feel lost and frustrated. But creating doesn’t have to feel this way. Be the Gateway offers practical, insightful ways to build real relationships with your audience.”

And, while reminding you that it takes only one reader’s comment to continue this conversation, I’ll pose the same questions I started this post with:

> Have you had a book traditionally published?   Was the marketing for that book sufficient?

> Have you self-published a book?   What promotional strategies are you using?

Or, do you have a book nearly through the revision and editing stages and you’re considering which form of publishing will help your book end up in the hands of a “sufficient” number of readers?

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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send me a free Voice Message
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Blog Conversation about Traditional vs Self-Published Book Promotion . . .


book promotion Our last conversation—Choosing What to Read—was only one post long, due to no reader comments…

So

I get to start a new discussion about traditional vs self-published book promotion :-)

I prefer “promotion” rather than the more common term “marketing” since promoting sounds less aggressive—to me, “marketing” means “business” and “promotion” means “relationships”…

Some of you may want a bit of background reading before the conversation really gets rolling; so, I’ll choose just a few appropriate past posts:

The Various Flavors of Publishing . . . (interesting comments on that one)

Will Traditional Publishers Survive? (two authoritative comments there)

Indie Authors Are Learning How To Act Like Publishers

The major issue I know about book promotion with traditionally published authors is lack of significant marketing help unless you’re already famous

Traditional publishers rarely have the generality of authors squarely in the sights of their all-consuming nurturing and care…

Also, even if there is a splash-bang beginning to a traditionally published book, low initial sales can instantly stop all promotional efforts as well as removing the book from the market…

So far, I’ve been saying what I’ve happened to learn; so, perhaps I should let Jane Friedman say a few words…

She’s joyously freelancing now but was working with F+W Media (which included Writer’s Digest) and “…oversaw the transition of what was a predominantly print-driven business to one centered on digital media, being responsible for the business strategy and financial performance of a brand that generated $10 million in revenue each year…”

She has an article where she discusses, 3 Things Your Traditional Publisher Is Unlikely to Do:

Send you on a national book tour
Invest in your book as much as their lead authors for the season
Market and publicize your work after the initial launch period has passed

So, there are the main failures of traditional publishers when it comes to promoting a book…

If you’re willing to self-publish, the promotion never has to stop as long as you’re alive and kicking (and, if your will spells it out, for much longer…).

Here’s a link to a discussion I started back in May, that never got off the ground—A Blog Conversation about Book Promotion

One mistake I made with that post was not specifying that it was only about self-publishing book promotion…

So…

Here’s a bit of what was said:

“‘As writers and artists, we feel the drive to do meaningful work, but we get overwhelmed by the process of connecting with an audience. We follow best practices in marketing that never seem to pan out, don’t produce results, and make us feel lost and frustrated. But creating doesn’t have to feel this way.’

“That quote is from the book Be the Gateway: A Practical Guide to Sharing Your Creative Work and Engaging an Audience, by Dan Blank.

Dan’s blog has this to say:

“‘Too often, writers and artists rush into marketing without first finding clarity on what they want to create and who they hope to reach. The result? They flounder, jumping from one marketing trend to the next, each one with results that leave them feeling disappointed.’

“In my own forays into book promotion, I’ve met many folks who had plenty of decent tips and tricks to snag a few folks’ attention; but, until I read Dan’s book, I hadn’t come across someone with a complete philosophy of how to engage others…

“Over the seven years since I published my novel, from a sentence there and a treasured paragraph over there, I pieced together the plan I now pursue to promote my writing…

“When I read Dan’s book, I met a kindred soul, since he was laying out everything I’d labored to learn over all those years…”

> Have you had a book traditionally published?   Was the marketing for that book sufficient?

> Have you self-published a book?   What promotional strategies are you using?

> Or, do you have a book nearly through the revision and editing stages and you’re considering which form of publishing will help your book end up in the hands of a “sufficient” number of readers?

Perhaps you’d like to share a few of your experiences or problems…

It only takes one comment to have this conversation continue; though, leaving a comment with topics from the realms of Reading, Writing, or Publishing, that you’d like to see discussed, is just fine, too :-)
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If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send me a free Voice Message

Why Smashwords ?


I self-published my novel nearly seven years ago. At first, I was using FastPencil; with a print and ebook edition distributed to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and a number of other retailers… Smashwords Review and Predictions

In September of last year, I switched to Smashwords.

That meant dropping the production of the print version; but, one day, I may add print back…

I feel good about the move to Smashwords—it feels “cleaner” than Amazon (none of that seemingly constant “How is Amazon mistreating authors again?” stuff…); though, I still sometimes buy a kindle e-book…

I’ve done quite a bit of posting here about Smashwords; if you take that last link, you might see this post at the top of the scrollable list…

One thing about Smashwords, even though it’s e-book-only—they distribute much more widely than Fastpencil.

I know many writers are still stuck with the idea that having a book at Amazon is required; but, that’s as outdated a notion as thinking that the only way to publish is with the Big 5…

So…

I recently got an email from Smashwords that led to two interesting articles…

The first is Smashwords 2017 Year in Review and 2018 Preview.

That one is about Smashwords, itself…

The second is 2018 Book Industry Predictions: Are Indie Authors Losing their Independence?

The beginning of that second article is a fascinating history that details the travails of Indie authors vis-à-vis Amazon…

Then come the predictions for 2018—separated into Clouds and Sunshine…

Here are the bullet-points ( reading the full article will make you wise :-)

Clouds

1.  2017 will be another challenging year for the book industry

2.  The glut of high-quality low-cost ebooks will get worse

3.  Barnes & Noble is sick and will get sicker

4.  Kobo’s sales will falter

5.  Devaluation pressures will persist

6.  Single-copy ebook sales will decline

7.  Romance authors will feel the most pain from KU {Kindle Unlimited}

8.  Large traditional publishers will reduce commitment to romance

9.  Email list fatigue

10.  Pressure will build to drop author royalties

Sunshine

11.  Audiobooks will be a big story in 2017

12.  Audible will face increased competition

13.  Readers will still pay for books worth reading

14.  New subscription services will be introduced

15.  Calls will grow in the US for antitrust action against Amazon

16.  Indies will reassert control over platform

17.  Indie authors will take a closer look at podcasting to reach new readers

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FREE On-line Course in Self-Publishing & Book Promotion
Even though it may say “Fee”, it Really is FREE :-)

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Why Traditional Publishing Is Not for Serious Writers . . .


I’ve compared Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing quite a few times—click on both terms down in the Top Tags widget in the left side bar to do a bit of research… Why Traditional Publishing Is Not for Serious Writers

However, I’ve found what may be the definitive article explaining why serious writers need to learn how to Self-Publish.

The article is from Erica Verrillo and is titled, An Insider’s View of the Publishing Business.

My usual excerpts (to, hopefully, encourage you to read the full article...):

“We think editors at publishing houses edit. The truth is they spend most of their time responding to memos, developing profit-and-loss statements, figuring out advances, supplementing publicity efforts, fielding calls from agents, attending meetings, and so on. They edit on weekends and evenings, and on the train as they are commuting.”

“Privishing (where the publisher quietly suppresses books, whether intentionally or not) has become the norm for publishers for various reasons, the first of which is that there are limitations on budgets. The second is that editors compete for those budgets.”

“The negative attitude that editors develop about manuscripts and proposals is in part because budgets are limited, and is in part driven by competition. But mindless rejection is also an inherent feature of publishing….Editors are not only competing for budgets, they are engaged in what may be described as a pissing contest in snark.”

“…publishers identify writers as ‘outsiders’, as ‘them’, even though their income depends on the people they publish. This, I believe, is a significant component of the attitude that is shared almost universally among publishers…”

And, this is the big trophy that so many writers put up with rejection after rejection to embrace…?
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
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Visit The Story Bazaar
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FREE On-line Course in Self-Publishing & Book Promotion
Even though it may say “Fee”, it Really is FREE :-)

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Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Author Earnings ~ “…Turning of the Tide…?”


I’ve posted before about Hugh Howey‘s initiative Author Earnings.

Here’s the site explanation

“Our purpose is to gather and share information so that writers can make informed decisions. Our secondary mission is to call for change within the publishing community for better pay and fairer terms in all contracts. This is a website by authors and for authors.”

Today’s post will share a few of the highlights from Author Earning’s October Report

“During the five short months since May, it seems that indies have somehow lost their market share gains of the preceding 18 months. This has been counterbalanced to a limited extent by a slight uptick in traditionally-published unit sales: both Big Five and Small/Medium Traditional Publishers have each gained roughly 1% in market share. But most of the lost indie market share seems to have instead gone to Amazon Imprints, who have gained a whopping 4% in market share.”

Might be hard to believe; but, that’s not as bad as it may sound…

“Despite the Big Five’s slight uptick in unit-sales market share, their share of consumer ebook dollars has continued to drop—albeit less steeply than in previous quarters.”

And…

“…the biggest recent winners seem to be the Small/Medium publisher authors, whose share of total Kindle author earnings has surpassed 20% for the first time.”

Taking the link to the October Report will give you a huge amount of information and speculation…

For non-link-takers, I’ll finish with:

“We have no idea whether this reversal represents the new normal—no clue at all whether what we’re seeing is a single-quarter blip before the previous relentless market-share shift toward non-traditional ebooks resumes; or whether we are seeing the true beginning of a turn in the digital book tide.

“But regardless, if you’re a traditionally published author of longstanding tenure, this change is probably good news.

“On the other hand, if you’re a relatively new traditionally published author or traditional publishing aspirant, the news is a whole lot less exciting. Because it seems the benefits of this recent increase in traditional ebook market share are not being felt equally by all authors…”

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