05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Changing Market

Here are some trends in publishing and marketing which hit "big" in 2014. Will they still work going forward? Yes. Until the next "big" thing knocks them aside!

Ebook Tricks on Amazon:

  • Permanently free ebooks: This is still touted as the best way to drive traffic to your additional books.

  • 99-cent ebook collections/boxed sets: These are intended to accomplish two things. First, hit the New York Times bestselling list, and second, to get readers to sample your writing. Sometimes it works; but the super-cheap pricing also leads to…

  • Book Hoarding: People have literally thousands of free or cheap ebooks on their Kindles, because they can. Most are never read.

Trends Based in Amazon Algorithms:

  • Shorter books, with a maximum of 50,000 words. Not all of us want fluff, but there are enough readers who do.

  • Publishing a new book every month. Yes. Every month. These can be new books, re-releases, compilations, bonus material, etc. The point is, Amazon likes active authors because they sell more books. Gone are the days when having new books releasing a year or more apart are the norm for success.

Major Shifts in Industry Attitudes:

  • Submissions to editors & agents are down, and for two reasons: First, because new authors are scared of rejection, so they self-publish, generally prematurely. Second, because new authors think self publishing is so "easy."

  • As a result, editors and agents are interested in talking to successful self-publishing authors. And not only about new works, but already-published works as well. Why? Because the authors have already done the work.

Reader Events:

  • These are popping up EVERYWHERE.
  • They can be genre specific, or even sub-genre specific.
  • They vary from one day to five days.
  • The best ones offer extended intentional face-time with readers.
  • They are a wonderful chance for authors to spread word-of-mouth advertising.

Random Feedback from Other Authors and Readers:

  • All media are taking fewer risks as they lose revenue in the shifting trends. So, they'll publish the same stuff or remake the same movies but won't take a risk and try something new.

  • Publishers are buying out other publishers.

  • Indie publishing and e-books are giving readers so many new choices, and new authors a chance to shine. We no longer have to read what big publishers ALLOW us to see.

  • We create a consumable product and have an insatiable audience. Therefore, we should help each other.


Judith Ashley said...

Thanks, Kris, for a succinct summary of publishing in 2014. As always I learn something new from you. I wasn't aware that submissions to agents and editors was down but it makes sense that they no longer turn up their noses at self-published authors.

I totally agree with your last sentence. "Therefore, we should help each other" There are enough readers for everyone!

Rachel Leigh Smith said...

I view submissions to agents and editors going down as a bad sign. There's a LOT for a writer to learn going through the query and submission process. I wouldn't trade my two years on the query circuit for anything, because I learned so much.

I went indie with my science fiction romance because traditional publishers don't know what to do with it. I also write historical romance, and I'm about to submit a proposal to a small press. Historical is not something I want to self-publish.

The 99 cent boxed set trend is NEVER going to get on the NYT's bestseller list so long as the bulk of the sale are on Amazon. Amazon doesn't report sales of KDP books. You have to be moving at high volume on other platforms to get onto the NYT's list. I have a Nook and there are a ton of boxed sets that are not available outside of Amazon.

Sarah Raplee said...

And the Tiger flips it's tail again! Trends keep getting shorter. Thank you for all the information, Kris!

Kris Tualla said...

Rachel - I totally agree with you about submitting! Whenever I speak about publishing, I always encourage new authors to submit. If you are rejected - try to find out why. If you are accepted, then you have a choice to negotiate. Win-Win!