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
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.
THE FUTURE OF SELF-PUBLISHING
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.”
THE RISE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING
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.
HOW TO START OUT
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:
- 1,500 books per day get published
- The top 5 books sold on iPad are children’s books
- 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.
Interested in iPhone apps for something like
your book? Download a comprehensive webinar
from Al Katkowsky, whose book, Question Of
The Day, has been downloaded more than 100,000
times as an iPhone app.