Getting Authors Noticed is Job #1 for New Publishers

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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!”

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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.

Indie Bookstore

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

upward-graphAnd Bowker estimates that they will have issued 15,000,000 ISBN numbers for new books by 2012. Why the big jumps in new published titles? Again, according to Bowker:

“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?

According to Publisher’s Weekly, 2011 The Global eBook Market: Current and Future Projections:

“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!

advertising-ebooks-authorsPublishing 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. 

The Precious Opals a hit with Teachers and Students

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Tina Adams-Carter, author of The Precious Opals, has found a rapt audience for her book readings in local schools among teachers, students and their parents. The story of The Precious Opals offers a lesson for helping young children deal with the bumps along the road in dealing with formative years friendships.

Tina enjoys the readings and questions from children who seem eager to learn about dealing with the ups and downs of childhood interpersonal relationships with friends and family.

She is hard at work on her second book in the Precious Opals series and we expect to publish it later this year – so stay tuned.

Teachers with author Tina Adams-Carter

Students with author Tina Adams-Carter

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Tina Adams-Carter is a freelance writer residing in San Diego, CA. Tina is known for her quick wit, which she uses frequently in her style of writing

In her spare time Tina and her family help the homeless and their pets, by collecting pet food and distributing it through Pets of the Homeless, a non-profit organization.

Her first book in a children’s genre, The Precious Opals, is part of an ongoing series and is available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback formats.

The Precious Opals – A Children’s Book by Tina Adams Carter

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TPO Amazon CoverLittle girls are usually more interested in the colors of their clothes, the bows in their hair, or the dresses that their dolls wear than realizing when they have hurt their friends’ feelings. This is true when Penny and Lucy meet Angel, and they all become fast friends

Then Lucy begins to wonder if Penny likes Angel more. Soon Penny starts to think the same about Lucy and Angel begins to feel sad because her new pals are not getting along. Worry over who prefers who threatens to break the girls apart.

Unsure how to deal with the hurt feelings, Penny, Lucy and Angel turn to their mothers, who decide a group playdate is just what the trio needs. There, Angel’s mom gives all three of them their own beautiful Opal. She explains how the pretty, round stone with its many glittering colors represents their circle of friendship and teaches the girls that being different can actually bring them closer together.

The Precious Opals is a children’s book about squabbles and disagreements that go on within friendships.  Sometimes having a best friend turn on you can be worse than bullying.  It can bring up emotions and fears that young children cannot handle at such a young age.

The Precious Opals helps children and their parents learn how to cope with bumps in the road and also to see how a beautiful gift can bond these friendships together while allowing young readers, grow from these challenges as they grow closer to their friends. The book is written for age groups 3-8 years old.

“Being a mother of two girls herself, it was a challenge for me to watch them deal with fights and squabbles among their female friends. Sometimes having a best pal turn on you can be worse than bullying. It brings up emotions and fears that young girls are not equipped to handle at that age.”

Tina Carter3

Tina Adams-Carter is a freelance writer residing in San Diego, CA. Tina is known for her quick wit, which she uses frequently in her style of writing

In her spare time Tina and her family help the homeless and their pets, by collecting pet food and distributing it through Pets of the Homeless, a non-profit organization.

Her first book in a children’s genre, The Precious Opals, is part of an ongoing series and is available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback formats.

What Does It Cost To Self-Publish Your Book?

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Have pity on the piggy

Despite what you may have heard, self-publishing isn’t free, or even cheap. That’s assuming you want to publish a quality piece of work.

It’s worth keeping in mind that, like splattered spaghetti sauce on your Sunday best shirt, it’s tough to wash out the stain of bad reviews, or unhappy customers who flame you online. People pay close attention to reviews. So get it right the first time, or prepare to pay dearly to assuage your customer’s ire, once they’ve purchased your book along with an assumption of receiving a quality product for the price.

So what are the costs you should be prepared to pay to self-publish? Let’s take a look at the basics first and then we’ll discuss some frills you can consider if you have money to burn. Read the rest of this entry »

Can First Time Authors Become Successful – Really?

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Gold-plated Royal Quiet Deluxe Portable Typewriter as used by Ian Fleming to write is first published novel in 1952, Casino Royal

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

Young Adult Books Attract Growing Numbers of Adult Fans

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The Hunger Games and countless others are engaging a loyal following among those old enough to vote, drink and hold a mortgage

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.

Bowker Market Research is a service of Bowker, an affiliate of global information company ProQuest.

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.

Preserving the Inspiration and Passion of Creators

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Preserving the Inspiration and Passion of Creators – we understand how driven authors are to write books that excite and inspire us. All publishers do. However, the traditional publishing house view of deciding which author’s creations make it to press is based entirely upon their perception of return on investment.  They are very good at this and there is nothing wrong with making a profit.

“We consider on-demand and self-publishing to be the purest form of creativity for an author. Sure, you’ll get some dogs with punctuation errors and syntax won’t always be perfect – but you’ll also get the book the author wrote – not the one the editor and the marketing heads rewrote.”  ~ StarWand Publishing

Traditional publishing, for almost 3oo years, has relied on someone making an investment decision on a manuscript – whether or not they would be willing to invest a considerable sum of money to print, display and market an author’s book, for which they hope to receive a profit in return. They determine what they think the market wants to pay for, through market research and their experience over many years spent in the business of publishing books. Because authors have needed publishers to spend money to get their book printed and distributed to bookstores, they have been forced to submit to the publisher’s view of what their work should become in order to best meet market demand.

Many would agree, that publishers employ talented people to help shape an author’s manuscript into a market leader and that obtaining this final product exceeds the author’s expertise in creative editing, cover design, marketing and distribution. However, there is also a fair bit of destruction to the author’s original work as a necessary part of this process. Does it become a better work, or remain as true to the author’s original creation? That’s hard to say. If it sells, everyone is pretty happy about that. Maybe it doesn’t matter in the long run. But we do find that what the public ultimately receives in books, movies and music tends to fall into familiar patterns of sequelized success. Originality is embraced, so long as it fits within the established precedent of past winners.

On-demand and digital publishing/distribution has changed everything by lowering the threshold of access to customers and removing the barrier of cost for these same services. Now, authors can reach their buyers directly and preserve the fidelity of their original work.

Is it better for customers to gain access to the unvarnished manuscript? Not always. But, in this new era of digital distribution, at least the customer gets to decide that – not just the publisher.  ~ StarWand Publishing

Why You Should Self-Publish

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Reposted from Huffington post: Why You Should Self-Publish

Originally published on Indie Reader

This past week, my latest self-published book debuted at #7 on the New York Times bestseller list. Crunching some numbers, it appears that I’ve sold a million books in the last two years. You might think I’m living the best days of my life right now, but that isn’t the case at all. I’ve had a lot of careers and have gone through quite a few distinct phases in my life, and several were happier than being a bestselling author.

There’s the decade I spent as a yacht captain, delivering boats all over the world. There are the years I lived on a sailboat while going to the College of Charleston, or the year I spent island-hopping through the Bahamas. I had a blast installing custom home theater systems in expensive homes, and I worked as a computer repair technician back when personal computers were first exploding onto the scene. But the two happiest years of my life were spent in Palmyra, Virginia while working at Rockfish Roofers.

My wife and I moved to Virginia in 2005. She was placed at UVA for her internship after completing her doctorate in psychology at Nova Southeastern University. I was still working on yachts, but I wanted to get out of that industry and be home more. The guy I bought my house from, Saul, told me to call him if I was ever looking for a little work. He had a roofing company, and they were getting ready to paint the metal roof on a massive community center out in the middle of nowhere. I never turn down an adventure, so I decided to drive across the county and see what the job entailed.

I loved it. The thrill of the heights, the hard work, the ache in my bones, the sweat-soaked clothes. For the next two years, I worked with Saul and David A. on dozens of roofs. We did a lot of slate, copper, and cedar shakes. Some of these jobs were enormous, and we would spend months at the same place. Others were quick fixes. I spent two years driving all over some of the prettiest land I’d ever seen, spent my days looking out over verdant valleys, watched the seasons change, enjoyed rainy days off, and reveled in the company of two highly educated and morally attuned human beings that I came to see as family.

I was home with my wife every night. We had a beautiful house out in the country and a dog that we loved immensely. We had flower gardens and vegetable gardens, a framing workshop, a stream, a water feature full of fish, and lots of places to go and hike or kayak right around us. We cooked more than we ever had before, gathered blackberries and baked them into cobblers, got to know our neighbors. Our bedroom was high off the ground in a canopy of trees, and when it rained and we kept the windows open, it felt like we lived in a birds-nest. We nearly cried when we first saw the house with our realtor and we did cry when we sold it two years later and drove away for the last time. It was more than the house, though. It was those two years. They were great.

I did most of my mental writing during those two years. I came up with the character of Molly Fyde and the idea of the wallscreen and Wool. I did my physical writing during a later stage of my life, which was nearly as glorious. And this is the point I want to make, because I spend so much time supporting the growth of literature through self-publishing, and I don’t want people to think it’s because I am one of the outlying success stories. That’s not the point. My happiest days were spent writing, not being a bestselling author.

I wrote most of my stories while working in a bookstore for very meager pay. It helped that I have been debt averse my entire life. My wife and I lived in a 750 square foot house that I paid $112,500 for. It was our third home together. I spent a lot of time and energy on all three of those homes fixing them up and making them better, mostly because I wanted to improve our environment. Even in the down market, and never thinking of “flipping” a house, this industriousness not only made me happy, it meant that every house we sold turned a profit. Rather than take expensive vacations or buy fancy cars, we put that money into debt reduction until we were debt free and fully owned our home. It meant I could work for $10 an hour, Amber could be a student/intern/postdoc resident for ten years, and we didn’t have to worry about money. We were poor and wanted for nothing. We hiked and did things that were free. That was part of the key to my happiness, and it required working hard for over a decade and forgoing immediate self-gratification for even longer.

All of that meant that I could work a 30-hour job at a university trade bookshop for just over minimum wage and fill my hours with writing. It was here that I began advocating writing to others. I hung out with creative writing majors in the bookstore, and we gabbed about craft and genre. I got to know professors who were also authors, and we discussed industry news. I met publishing reps and talked trade developments. I joined the Highcountry Writers and spent every other week critiquing works and learning about the art. I spoke at my public library, volunteered with the youth writing NaNoWriMo group, talked to middle school classrooms and college classrooms, all as a non-bestselling author.

I never went into these programs to hawk my books. Ever. It was about promoting writing, not myself. The talk I gave to college classrooms centered on a Stanford study that suggests we live in the most literate age in human history, a study that looked at all the myriad ways we read and write that have nothing to do with novels. I urged people to take reading and writing seriously since we do so much of it, since we are judged by it, since this is the face we put out there for public consumption. And I talked about the joys of self-publishing–not as a commercial venture but as a way of producing art and making it available to others. I saw myself as a small-time painter or musician might. Nobody tells these people to stop putting their works in local galleries or to quit playing local bars. We don’t rail against the proliferation of YouTube videos from aspiring filmmakers or DeviantArt accounts from future designers. We celebrate the act of bettering our craft by producing early works. This was my message to classrooms, to anyone who would listen. It still is.

Today, I saw a comment on a self-publishing success story from yet another cynic who thought that nobody should self-publish. Their argument was that these success stories are the exception, not the rule. But who says the only reason to self-publish is because someone wants to get rich? And who says publishing, any way you do it, is a route to financial independence? I think we all know it isn’t. I knew that better than most from working in a bookstore and meeting so many bestselling authors who had day jobs. That isn’t why we write. It isn’t why we publish. Do these cynics tell the youth strumming their guitars on the street to stop right then, to give up creating art because there’s no future in it? What about the present in it?

I’m just as fond of pausing in front of a friend’s refrigerator to study the magnet-mounted art their child created as I am walking through a national gallery. Or the art shows in the center of shopping malls from local schools. Or the local craft fairs. Here are the stages of creation. Here is genius of all ages.

If you are twelve, and reading this right now, know that I was twelve once, too. I was twelve, and I dreamed of being a writer. I filled composition books with stories, but I never finished them. Part of that was because there was no youth NaNoWriMo group showing me what was possible. And there was no KDP or Smashwords to give me the freedom to turn my stories into books. There was no easy outlet for my rampant imagination. Now there is, but it means ignoring those who say you shouldn’t go for it.

Remember that it’s okay to write and publish just to make yourself happy, to make yourself fulfilled. There will be authors out there, readers, publishing experts, and booksellers who say that this outpouring of unprofessional drek is ruining the industry, which makes me wonder if these same people drive through neighborhoods yelling and screaming at people gardening in their back yards, shouting at them that, “You’ll never be a farmer!” Or if they cruise past community basketball courts where men and women unwind with games of pickup and shout at them, “You’ll never make it in the NBA!”

There is a kid learning to dribble a basketball right now who will go on to play shirts-and-skins, lead their high school to a national championship, get drafted in the first round and make millions, and this is no reason for the rest of us to not go out and experience the thrill of a 3-pointer heaved up and swishing right through the net. There is some parent teaching a child how to grip a putter right now and take aim at a clown’s mouth, and that kid will get a $50 million endorsement from Nike, and this is no reason not to go whack a bucket of balls after work. Implicit in the message that only some people should publish is the stance that all publishing is commercial, it’s all about making money, about being a bestseller, a pro. But that’s not the reason I do it. It isn’t why I celebrate writing and encourage people to self-publish. I’ve been doing both for a long time. So if anyone tells you that you can’t do it, that you shouldn’t do it, that you’ll never make a living at it, I urge you to agree with them. And then go do it anyway.

Originally published on Indie Reader