By: Marcia King-Gamble
Happy March! Spring is definitely in the air. I can feel it, even in the tropics (where I live). I can smell it and see in the foliage.
For those of you living in places where there is a visible change in the four seasons, it's usually a sign that temperatures are rising and there is a beach in your future.
But this months blog isn't about weather changes. It's about changes in the publishing world.
A little over a decade ago, eBooks took the publishing world by surprise. Many publishers and even readers were dubious, claiming it was a fad. On-line publishing was supposedly a place for the not-so-talented who couldn't get published anywhere. That perception quickly changed when authors and publishers realized there were some serious money to be made. Books authors were told would never sell, and were subsequently rejected, found a home, and new life on the Internet. Just You, my mainstream book, http://a.co/i3MCJrX, for example had been sold three times to a traditional publisher. For one reason or another, it never made it to the shelves. I got back my rights, self published and received decent reviews. It's been one of my better selling books.
The good news for Indies continues. According to The Written Word Media, in 2017 the majority of Fiction book sales will come from eBooks. Statistics indicate that 70% of adult fiction sales were digital last year. Good news indeed for the Indie world.
In 2016, market share for traditional publishers continued to drop. Small presses, Indie authors, and Amazon imprints accounted for over 50% of market share. This means reader perception continues to change. Readers are open to reading authors that are not traditionally published. This means smart marketing and developing a loyal following will become even more important this year.
Amazon imprints will command the top ten spots in 2017. This is based on last last quarters results when Amazon imprints took an additional 4% of the market share.
Mark Coker of Smashwords predicts that this year Kindle Unlimited will be king, He talks about the value proposition of Kindle Unlimited for readers. He also believes that crowding will increase competition. Crowding means the availability of more books online. Typically a print book has a shelf life. Not so in the e world as there is no limit to shelf space. So get out there and upload that back-list, my author friends.
Audio books will increase in popularity in 2017. This comes as no surprise, given longer commuting hours, and the ability to multi-task. You can use a device while doing house or gardening work. Confirming this upward trend, The Association of American Publishers reports that audio remains the fastest growing format. Additionally, in a survey completed by Pew Research, 14% of respondents said they listened to audio books.
Mark Lefebvre of Kobo Writing Life believes this is the year authors should seriously consider expanding their offerings. By this, he means you should branch out and take advantage of multiple formats and sales platforms. He advises not to rely on a single retailer or format for your income. The more formats you have available, the more readers you can reach. Link: http://a.co/8xTJbcq
Market, market, market. The time and money are well spent, especially in an increasingly crowded market. Overall email marketing has proven to be the best way. And it's not just about writing, it's about career building Barbara Freethy says, and she is the classic example of an author who left traditional publishing behind. In July 2014 she was named the Amazon KDP Bestselling Author of All Time! She's since built an even huger following. To quote Barbara, " It’s about engaging and re-engaging the core audience and exploring ways to diversify income."
Facebook ads are supposed to decline. Costs have increased. So broaden your marketing efforts and diversify. Test and try new avenues. Don't be afraid to see what works for you.
Expand your audience internationally. Markets like India and Germany are growing just as fast as the UK and US market did. Mark Lefebvre of Kobo suggests you focus on International markets where English is spoken and there is no need for translation. And do consider selling the rights to your book to foreign publishers. Read Joanna Penn’s article on international rights for more information.
Finally, authors need to continue to support other authors. Collaborate on promotions. Use your social media presence to share each others work This can be done through group giveaways, anthologies, samplers and author promotion websites, Promoting your own book is no longer a solo endeavor. The success of box sets are a clear example. Reach out to your fellow writers and see who might be interested in working together. I know I did, and the results were phenomenal.
This is your year. Change is in the air. Dust off those unsold manuscripts and get them out there!