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Every aspiring author, in their heart of hearts believes: “If I can just get my book published and into mainstream bookstores, I’ll be on my way to fame and fortune!”
Ever notice how people shop for a book in a bookstore? Generally, they don’t start at one end and work their way around, title by title.
More usually, they already know what they’re looking for and head right to a section for the genre they like and find the authors they know, or titles they’ve heard about.
Everything else around the bookstore is practically invisible.
That’s pretty much the way buyers shop online too. They just don’t have to walk around the store anymore. But, rather than passing by thousands of other titles and authors, these now total in the millions.
In fact, according to Bowker, the official US agency responsible for assigning ISBN numbers to new titles, the numbers are growing to be rather staggering:
- 296,352 books were published in the U.S. 2006
- 561,580 books were published in the U.S. in 2008
- 4,134,519 books were published in the U.S. 2010
Data cited from Bowker data as of 2011
“Transformation of our industry has brought on a time of rich innovation in the publishing models we now have today. What was once relegated to the outskirts of our industry—and even took on demeaning names like ‘vanity press’ is now not only a viable alternative but what is driving the title growth of our industry today,” said Kelly Gallagher, Vice-President, Bowker Market Research. “From that standpoint, self-publishing is a true legitimate power to be reckoned with. Coupled with the explosive growth of e-books and digital content – these two forces are moving the industry in dramatic ways.”
That’s right. Self-publishing through digitally delivered content is driving these huge numbers of new books to the market. But is there a market for all these new titles?
“Consumers’ attitudes as recently reported by BISG (Book Industry Study Group) reflect the deep and rapid change in the industry, particularly the revenue losses of hardcover and paperback sales. About 67 percent of ebook buyers said they increased their spending on ebooks…”
What does this mean to you as a new author? We sum it up in this simple equation:
eBooks + Visibility = Sales!
Publishing books is now the easiest and cheapest part of the problem to solve. Providing visibility to new authors and their titles, enabling them to rise above the masses for customer awareness, is the real kicker.
Thus, the traditional role of the book publisher in today’s market, has transitioned from getting author’s books to print and then into stores, to promoting and marketing their authors after they are already listed through digital retailers. Read on…in Getting Noticed.
First time authors, or, debut authors as they are usually referred to, can become wildly successful in fact. When Ian Fleming sat down to write the first book of what would become the “007” series of books based on James Bond, his fictional spy character, he couldn’t have known he was launching a multi-billion dollar franchise. Nor could a divorced and single mom, J.K. Rowling, probably imagine she was embarking on a life changing journey when she penned her first Harry Potter book. It goes without saying, there are many debut author failures as well. But every successful author started with their first published book and built upon it’s success.
Mega-successful authors will tell you they’ve become better writers over time and while sequel success is the envy of every aspiring author, often as not, their favorite book was their first one. That was their labor of love. For readers, they too receive their greatest thrill when discovering a new work by an unknown and first-time published author. It’s like finding an Easter Egg. Of course we all love to buy our favorite author’s next bestseller when it’s hot off the press, but serial publication authors can lose their edge over time, especially when their craft turns from quality titles to quantity. So, the quest for talented and hungry new authors continues to drive the publishing industry today.
Famous debut authors have inspired other authors to brave writing that great American novel of theirs. Some have changed our world with a single manuscript that found it’s way into the right hands. Now, with the advent of on-demand and self-publishing, there is no longer a barrier to entry for aspiring new authors. They can finish their manuscript and publish it within minutes. Getting published is the easy part, but standing above the crowd of millions of other new titles, so that readers can find them, is growing even more difficult. That is the still a fundamental role of a good publisher – getting their author’s titles visibility among the masses of new titles hitting the market every day.
But, no matter how the publishing industry evolves over the years to come, it all starts with an author burning with a passion to write, somewhere, sitting down by themselves and hammering out that first manuscript. If you are that author, reading this and wondering if you should persevere and will it all pay off for you someday, the answer is – it very well could. Why not and why not you?
Here are a few inspiring examples of other authors you may recognize who did just that.
A Study in Scarlet, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1887
The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, J.R.R. Tolkien, 1937
The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, 1951
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey, 1962
Carrie, Stephen King, 1974
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, 1979
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling, 1997
The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini, 2003
Reposted from: Young Adult Books Attract Growing Numbers of Adult Fans on Bower.com
New Providence, NJ – September 13, 2012 – More than half the consumers of books classified for young adults aren’t all that young. Fully 55% of buyers of works that publishers designate for kids aged 12 to 17 – nicknamed YA books — are 18 or older, with the largest segment aged 30 to 44. Accounting for 28 percent of sales, these adults aren’t just purchasing for others — when asked about the intended recipient, they report that 78 percent of the time they are purchasing books for their own reading. The insights are courtesy of Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer in the Digital Age, an ongoing biannual study from Bowker Market Research that explores the changing nature of publishing for kids.
“The investigation into who is reading YA books began when we noticed a disparity between the number of YA e-books being purchased and the relatively low number of kids who claim to read e-books,” said Kelly Gallagher, Vice-President of Bowker Market Research. “The extent and age breakout of adult consumers of these works was surprising. And while the trend is influenced to some extent by the popularity of The Hunger Games, our data shows it’s a much larger phenomenon than readership of this single series.”
Indeed, thirty percent of respondents reported they were reading works in The Hunger Games series. However, the remaining 70 percent of readers reported a vast variety of titles (over 220), only two of which commanded more than five percent of overall sales – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Breaking Dawn.
“Although best sellers lead, there’s a long tail of rich reading that has interesting implications for the publishers of YA books in terms of discovery and consumer relationships,” said project editor Kristen McLean.
The trend is good news for publishers as these adult consumers of YA books are among the most coveted demographic of book consumers overall. Additional insights from the Bowker study show these readers are:
- Early adopters. More than 40 percent read e-books, equivalent to the highest adoption rates of adult genres of mystery and romance
- Committed: 71 percent say that if an e-book of their desired title was unavailable, they would buy the print book instead
- Loyal: Enjoying the author’s previous books has a moderate or major influence over the book choice for more than two-thirds of the respondents
- Socially active: Although more than half of respondents reported having “no interest” in participating in a reading group, these readers are very active in social networks and often get recommendations from friends.
Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer in the Digital Age is sponsored in the U.S. by Little Brown for Young Readers, Random House, HarperCollins, Scholastic, Disney, Penguin, DK, and Macmillan. To order a copy, contact Bowker Market Research at MarketResearch@bowker.com.
About Bowker® (www.bowker.com)
Bowker is the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information and management solutions designed to help publishers, booksellers, and libraries better serve their customers. Creators of products and services that make books easier for people to discover, evaluate, order, and experience, the company also generates research and resources for publishers, helping them understand and meet the interests of readers worldwide. Bowker, a ProQuest affiliate, is the official ISBN Agency for the United States and its territories. The company is headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey, with additional operations in England and Australia.