The secret to success in book publishing has always been knowing the market. Diving deeply into current reading habits is just the start, and knowing how and why folks buy is the next step after learning what they read. Some great data has come from a December 2016 Gallup Poll that can help inform our next steps when creating sales and book marketing plans.
Remember the days of Harry Potter mania? Practically every Barnes & Noble, Borders (RIP), and indie bookstore in the country had a release party for the latest J.K Rowling tome. Children, teenagers, and even parents clad in cloaks, crooked plastic glasses, and eyeliner lightning bolts waited for hours to get their hands on a copy of the latest book. I was a fixture in these lines, complete in my Hermione costume. We look back at these midnight literary festivities ten years later as a pop culture touchstone. However, to people in the publishing industry, this is the perfect example of how pre-orders can make your book a success.
You wrote a great book, one that everybody and their mother should read. But nobody is reading it . . . including your mother! What gives?! Sometimes great books aren’t read because of timing; sometimes they aren’t read because the pricing is all wrong; and sometimes it’s just placed in the wrong category. For the majority of books, however, the reason comes down to not knowing who your book's audience is.
The pattern is as predictable as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. A new marketing tool or tactic comes along, and a few early adopters have noticeable success with it. More authors try it and may find it works for them, too. But eventually, the new idea becomes old and ineffective—and the trend is deemed to be “over.” Everyone starts looking for the next new thing that will work when marketing their book.
Indie Author Fringe is a collaboration borne out of the Alliance of Independent Authors, offering three days of 24-hour, non-stop advice and inspiration organized around self-publishing. Every session is available online and 100% free; perfect for aspiring authors and experienced, small to mid-level publishers; basically anyone looking for professional advice on how to publish a book.
As an author, your book is your baby. Just like a real child, you spend years putting work into it, crafting it into all it can be, and then you’re ready to send it out into the world. But as with your child, you wouldn’t send them out in just any old outfit. You’d send them out dressed for success.
There’s a lot of talk about audiobooks lately as they’re one of the few sectors of the publishing world that’s seen steady growth. And all signs say they’re going to keep getting bigger. But the big question for indie authors is: does the benefit of creating an audiobook justify the cost? It absolutely can, but you have to look at the bigger picture and see how audiobooks are more than just a royalty generator – they can be an excellent resource to expand the reach of your book marketing efforts and create pathways to new audiences.
Becoming an award-winning independently published author took a lot more work than I had ever imagined. I'm no marketing mastermind . . . or at least I wasn't when I started this whole self-publishing adventure. Some of it was pure luck in the beginning, but now I know the ropes. And I hope my advice helps you on your journey to doing the same!
At the Digital Book World (DBW) Indie Author Conference on January 19, we were so pleased to have Orna Ross, author (traditionally and self-published) and founding director of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), join us from London to provide an overview of where things are today for self-publishers. Now that the independent sector of the publishing industry has matured for years−we sometimes call it Self-Publishing 2.0 now−Ross agrees with us that indies are in a far better place than in the past.
Using Ingram’s distribution network makes your title available for order to over 39,000 bookstores, online retailers, libraries, and schools. Through our relationship, we send title data feeds and availability status of available titles to them. Each channel partner makes the decision whether to make a title available and how to display the availability of a title. We are pleased that most retailers, like Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Indigo, Books-A-Million, and hundreds of others, reflect an “In Stock / Available” status for your print-on-demand titles, which is an accurate representation of the immediate availability of your title.