Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Rambling Prose and Lack of Focus Explain Why Tradition Publishing Fails

Traditional publishing Won't Use the Tools That Make Indie Self-Publishing Work - They Can't Afford Them.

the Tools That Make Indie Self-Publishing Work - They Can't Afford Them.
(art: Tobias Mikkelson)

Found a great piece with gold nuggets in it. 

His rambling prose is off-putting (how's that for a typified descriptive phrase?)

The value of this work to indie publishers and self-publishing authors is so intense, I thought to excerpt it so you'd see the fruit trees out of the forest they grow in. (I'm excerpting directly without prettying-up these phrases - or the ellipses which cut to the chase.) My comments follow.

audiences are at the heart of it.

unique research is needed into the audiences for every book and every author and that the flow of data about a book that’s in the marketplace provides continuing opportunities to sharpen the understandings of how to sell to those audiences.
Marketing research starts ideally before you publish anything. Or - you can work like all hell to get the entire series out and then find out what the market is buying and why, as you then get your marketing going.

the book descriptions are the basis for all marketing copy
Give by-title attention to the backlist

Research, analysis, action, observation. Rinse and repeat.
Study "Breakthrough Advertising" by Eugene Schwartz. You analyze the market and analyze the product (book) and then work up your approach accordingly. All book descriptions need to pull like a well-tuned advertisement (which they are.)

“landing pages”, are one of the most useful tools to improve discovery for books and authors.

much basic knowledge about discovery and SEO is lacking in publishing. 
Every book has a landing page, period. This page uses SEO to enable search engines to more rapidly digest it. Meanwhile, your marketing is creating backlinks to that page on other properties, such as YouTube and video sites, PDF's on Slideshare and doc-sharing sites, covers on Pinterest, Flickr, and G+, etc.
Hugh Howey described the sales curve of the successful indie — “steadily growing sales”.
“word of mouth” is the most effective means of growing the market for a book. (Such) books would tend to have a sales curve that was a relatively gentle upward slope to a peak and then a relatively gentle downward slope.
This is capturing email addresses with an opt-in on your book's landing page (which could become a blog in and of itself, with excerpts and so on.) Surveying your email list will find out what content they want more of - which you then blog about and even use to write the next book.

distributed retail demands a completely out-of-synch sales curve. In the brick and mortar world, the book will effectively be dead if it doesn’t catch on in the first three months. And the reality of staffing, focus, and the sales philosophy of most publishers means it won’t be getting any attention from the house’s digital marketers either.

in the world of indie success, you are repeatedly seeing authors breaking through months after a book’s publication, at a time when an experienced author knows a house would have given up on them.

one challenge in the digital age is to see readership as many pretty small and discrete audiences, not one big one at the level of the “subscriber”.
This explains why these huge traditional publishing firms cannot reliably earn enough income for the bulk of the indie authors/publishers out there.

Let’s say you have a story on any particular topic. Your total “theoretical market” within the publication’s readership is every person who ever read a single story on that subject. But your “core market” is every person who has read two stories on it.
seeing your audiences that way, and growing them that way, will allow monetizing them more effectively. This would be harvesting the benefits of audience-informed content creation.
Even in your email list, you will have subsets of this which want different things. If they will pay you for it, they are worth catering to.

looking for search terms that suggested opportunity (lots of use of the term and relatively few particularly good answers), could tell through research what book to write.
the same point that SEO should be employed before titling any book.
SEO is part of your basic research on any book. One of the few tools left standing in this area is Market Samurai.

Of course, we don’t sell that kind of help very often or we haven’t so far. It would require getting marketing money invoked early to pay for research like that. But we know it is useful.
Again, the indie author - following their bliss, their burning desire - can afford to do this, where the huge traditional publishing dinosaur can't turn fast enough.

Luck to us all.

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