I want you to brace yourself for what I am about to say . . . Christmas is coming. Yup. This is not a drill, not a joke, and you are not hearing things. While we are sweating in the summer heat and trying to keep our gardens and lawns under control, there is something that most of us are NOT doing, something we need to add to our summer “to-do” lists and PRONTO. We need to start presenting and pitching our books for the upcoming holiday season.
More and more, Amazon and Amazon companies are encouraging or requiring authors and publishers to use them exclusively. CreateSpace offers free ISBNs and design services for authors, Kindle offers KDP Select that allows for extra marketing options, ACX will allow budget-restricted publishers/authors a chance to get an audiobook created and produced for free in exchange for 50% of the profits. All of these options give authors opportunities that they would otherwise have to work harder for, but in exchange, they require that the publisher/author agree to work with them exclusively.
Your book has been written, rewritten, beta read, edited and reedited to within an inch of its life. Now it is time to design and layout the interior. One of the first decisions you will be asked to make is the height and width of the book. This is called the trim size. So you go to your bookshelf and pull down your favorite four books and notice that they are all 6x9. There! Decision made! But not so fast.
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. Understanding your audience is key to building your author platform. 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.
Man, I love the idea of my book on the shelves of Wal-Mart and Costco. I love the vision I have of seeing eight copies of my book standing, cover face out, on the top shelf of the reference section in Barnes & Noble. What I don’t love thinking about is this: my book does not belong in any of these stores. I wish it were not so. I wish B&N, Wal-Mart, and Costco would sell my book and that it was the perfect fit for the customers who shop at these places, but it's not. The type of readers who want a book about the publishing industry (which is what I write about) are more likely shopping online and at conventions.
If you are looking for a new source of income from your book, you might want to consider libraries. Libraries in the US are experiencing a huge surge in foot traffic. Public librarians are seeing a lot more patrons and their checkout rates are skyrocketing. Need more good news? Their budgets are going up too. In many cities, the annual budget for libraries is increasing and libraries are opening new locations and reopening at historical rates.