Trends in Publishing: How Our Worlds Are Changing

In August 2010, the BlogHer ’10 Conference took place in New York City. A particularly interesting session was called “The Evolving Publishing Ecosystem,” and it was run by the following people:

  • Kamy Wicoff, founder of the blog “SHE WRITES”
  • Florinda Pendley Vasquez, who writes for the blog “Reading, ‘Riting, and
  • Penny Sanseveiri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing
    Experts, Inc. and author of Red Hot Internet Publicity
  • Carleen
    Brice, author of Orange Mint and Honey

They employed their varied perspectives to answer the question, “What have been the biggest changes
in publishing in the last 3-5 years?”

Guest column by Theresa Milstein, who is writing
middle grade and YA fantasy novels. She’s also
a substitute teacher. Read about her adventures
in writing and subbing on her awesome blog.



Penny believes self-publishing has gone from being considered a last-ditch effort to a more respected enterprise.  She brought up Legally Blonde as an early success story of a self-published book. Carleen mentioned J.A. Konrath’s success with e-books that had previously not sold or had gone out of print. Penny cautioned that self-publishing authors homework, and makes sure they publish quality books. She said, “Your book is your resume.”


Florinda discussed how the Internet has dominated over traditional media. Book blogs have critical for generating sales. There are also giant online book clubs, book blog tours, and even conventions. These blog authors have a huge influence on their readers. Penny added that traditional media channels like “Good Morning America” and newspaper reviews don’t have the same influence as before.

Carlene agreed with Florinda about social networking being an important tool, noting the advantages authors have when they are able to go directly to their audience and their readers being able to contact their authors through e-mail, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. But the disadvantage is authors must do much of their own self-promotion. Some publishing houses have shrunk their publicity budgets. And advances have dwindled.  This means authors must work hard and lay out their own money to promote their books.

Kamy promoted “SHE WRITES” as a place for authors to find help. She recommended getting to know bloggers in your market, comment, and network. And she encouraged writers to get to know other authors who write what you want to write about because many readers will buy the same type of book. In short, build a platform.


Novellas and short stories are a good way for writers to start out. There was a small market for these types of books before e-books. People can also publish a chapter to entice readers to buy the whole book. She also recommended making a video to promote your book. If a video becomes popular on YouTube, it can help generate book sales like it did for Kelly Corrigan of The Middle Place.

Penny said to know your market. Do research. She cautioned that if your book doesn’t sell well, publishers will be much less interested in taking on your second book. So you must promote as much as you can for your first one. She acknowledged the memoir market is more forgiving than fiction as a second book option.

Some enlightening statistics:

  1. 1,500 books per day get published
  2. The top 5 books sold on iPad are children’s books
  3. Last month, Kindle sales were larger than hardcover sales on Amazon.

All members on the panel agreed that whether authors publish through traditional publishers or self-publish, they must take greater charge of book promotion.


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10 thoughts on “Trends in Publishing: How Our Worlds Are Changing

  1. Hilary

    Hi Theresa .. thanks for summarising for us .. and for highlighting various useful pieces of information .. ereaders v books .. and the little ones reading more .. Great to hear .. Hilary

  2. Sharon Mayhew

    Great post, Theresa! I had no idea that novellas and short stories were such a great way to break into publishing. I’m a bit surprised about the ipad stats, but excited that technology is finding a way to lure little ones into reading. 🙂

  3. slamdunk

    Informative article Theresa.

    I am not shocked to hear the success that authors can have by influencing readers via blogging. Honest blogging allows for relationship building and used regularly certainly has much more influence than traditional forms of sharing.

  4. Kathleen

    I found this very informative and interesting. I had no idea that kindle sales had outgrown hardcover books or that children’s books are the most downloaded books on the iPad!

    Excellent job summarizing the conference. Thank you for all of the information regarding self publishing.

  5. Aubrie

    Great summary of the conference, Theresa! It’s good to hear that kindle books are taking off! I didn’t think I’d like writing short stories, but now I love it, and it does improve my writing. I think it’s a great way to start!

  6. Old Kitty

    It’s very interesting to read how authors these days are encouraged (or they have to) to take control of their published works inorder to garner sales. I definitely see how Kindle will play a mega role in future reading habits and how they will define sales too.

    Thank you for a very succint summation of this conference.

    Take care


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