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.
Continue reading “The Big Bad Discovery Problem: How Is Anyone Going to Find Your Book?”
A few weeks ago, a journalist met the President. The journalist was a blogger who took photographs and talked to people. He’s also the author of The New York Times bestseller, “Humans of New York.” His name is Brandon Stanton and, in late January, he managed to help raise over a million dollars for Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, Brooklyn, a school in one of New York City’s most impoverished neighborhoods… and helped the students and principal meet the President of the United States.
He told the story on a blog. He told the story through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. And, above all, he told the story through photographs of people talking about life.
Stanton is making a living taking photos and reporting on things. He’s not associated with any media publication. He took the tools technology has made available and used them to make a huge impact.
Stanton’s success isn’t just inspirational, it’s a powerful indictment of the cynicism permeating the art world when it comes to social media, art, and the digital world.
Continue reading “Why “Humans of New York” Proves Every Cynical Writer & Artist Wrong”
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.”
Continue reading “Yes, The Goldfinch is Overrated… But Why?”
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?
Continue reading “Hachette v. Amazon: Whose Fault Is It, Anyway?”
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:
Continue reading “3 Ways to Measure Your Book’s Online Marketing Campaign”
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?
Continue reading “Innovation & Stagnation in the Traditonal Publishing Industry”
The government shutdown is over. For now. After so much productive and rigorous hashtagging on Twitter, complaints on Facebook, and half-plagiarised news articles looking for traffic, our representatives had no choice but to start funding things again. And agree to fund the things they passed this year already.
During that time – while I was caught up in the virtual world of eating different blog posts like Cheetos – I stumbled upon one entitled “The Great Library of Alexandria was destroyed by budget cuts, not fire.”
Interesting headline. Related to the current crisis, albeit peripherally. It was enough to get almost 100,000 views since October 8, along with over 200 comments, so I would consider the piece a success.
And the best part? The blog post was advertising a book by the author. A book I actually clicked.
Continue reading “How to Use a Blog to Sell Your Book”