My first novel, Blest, was published last year in March. It wasn’t traditionally published, but it wasn’t traditionally self-published, either. I worked with Alloy Entertainment to outline and write the book. It’s been an interesting process, because we’re also working with the Powered by Amazon team.
Powered by Amazon takes book marketing to a new level. As a marketer myself, it’s been really interesting to see how the team has promoted Blest. Especially since I’ve been studying how books are being marketed for a few years now.
At #FutureBook16, a conference based in London, authors, agents, publishers, and others converged to discuss the future of the book. Or, really, the future of publishing.
Spoiler: the industry doesn’t think it’s that bright. In his keynote, Tim Healy Hutchinson Hachette UK said that the book market is in “secular decline.”
The entire industry is shaking, reeling, seizing up. I’ve talked about the failure of the book industry to adapt to digital marketing strategies.
One statistic that I saw passing through the Twittersphere really leapt out at me:
In online searches, 60% of all book searches are deliberate.
Pure Strength is more dungeon than gym: wet floors, murky puddles, tiny mushrooms, soggy ceilings. Manny washes his face and peers at the red rims of his eyes, seeing the the bright fuzz of his youth in Mexico City, buttercups of houses in favelas full of diesel and sun.
He hears his daughter’s name.
I’m happy to announce that my book, Blest, is now available on Amazon. If you’re into young adult, fantasy, or romance, I’m sure you’ll love it.
Blest is a novel about what defines us as people and whether we let the world define us or whether we get to define ourselves.
When sixteen year-old Jim Blest meets Claire Morgan for the first time, he knows that there’s something special about her. And he already knows that there’s something special – or at least very wrong – about him.
As they learn what they really are, Jim and Claire have to wrestle with their feelings for each other… just as they’re pitched headfirst into a war that’s been going on for centuries.
When everyone is telling you who to be and what you need to become, do you listen to them? Or do you work tirelessly to break free from the path that was already chosen for you and try to go somewhere else entirely?
Check it out on Amazon!
Everything knows what death looks like. Even chickens.
I’m not really qualified to decide what does and doesn’t deserve a Pulitzer. But I’m of the somewhat strong opinion that “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt shouldn’t have made the cut.
Let me break down this epic journey in rambling, poorly plotted, erratically written, Pulitzer-worthy material. And then let me explain why it spells trouble for the book industry if “The Goldfinch” is what we consider great literature. I’d warn you that there are some minor spoilers ahead, kind of, although, since Tartt fails to put anything at stake or develop any meaningful characters (aside from one), there’s really nothing to spoil. You read the book for the writing, put it down, and say: “Huh. Well, guess it’s over.”
If you’ve paid any attention to the book industry, you’ll know by now that Hachette and Amazon are locked in some kind of pricing battle.
The details aren’t that well known, but the strategy is: Amazon disabled the pre-order option for Hachette books, discounts have vanished and some authors have gone completely unlisted.
Meanwhile, Hachette just laid off 30 people (or, in The Wall Street Journal’s more dramatic terms, 3% of its US workforce). The reason? “Softening book sales.”
Hachette isn’t exactly a two-bit publisher. It’s part of a media conglomerate, Lagardère. Famous authors on the roster right now include JK Rowling, Steven Colbert, Malcolm Gladwell and James Patterson.
People don’t really know why Hachette and Amazon are having a stand-off. All they know is that they can’t get the publisher’s books as easily if they’re trying to buy from Amazon. But most speculate that it has something to do with discounting the prices of eBooks.
The real question, then, is this: how do we value books today? And what happens if publishers decide to not renew their contracts with Amazon?
When it comes to online marketing, independent authors like to think they’re ahead of the curve. Social savvy, internet savvy, and savvy in other miscellaneous ways.
But just because you made a Facebook Page and have a Twitter account doesn’t mean that they’re helping sell your eBook.
Online marketing is a mysterious mix of luck and gossip. Whenever social media is brought up – whether by indie authors or bands, or in a corporate boardroom – a reflective hush falls over the crowd. The sound of doubt.
Social media or a blog campaign can help promote your eBook. But you need to know how to measure those efforts to see what’s actually working and what’s just hype (such as paying $599 for social media services). Amazon won’t give you any kind of dashboard to see where sales are coming from, so it’s up to you.
Here are three ways to do it:
The Tribune Company did something that surprised me the other day: it released a new product. An app, to be specific. Newsbeat converts newspapers into audio, so people can listen to them in the car, on their iPhone and in various other Mobile scenarios.
Aside from Tribune newspapers like The Los Angeles Times, Newsbeat will also play content from news providers like CNN and Fox News. Stories can be skipped and, over time, the app will learn what kinds of stories readers – I mean listeners – will want to hear most.
Maybe this will work. Maybe people will stick with the relatively unpredictable and unpersonalized stuff coming from the radio. But the great news, either way, is that The Tribune Company is trying to do something different.
Can book publishers say the same?
Last week, the FCC struck down something called “net neutrality.” You might have seen headlines and decided it was boring. Maybe, for a little while, you were curious about the ruling’s meaning.
No one really knows how things are going to work in a post net-neutrality world. But there are a lot of alarm bells ringing. Let’s break it down and then talk about what this could mean for bloggers, writers and musicians.