Sunday, December 2, 2012

The New E-Book Publishing Doctrine

Publishers, and thus writers have never been in a better place than they are right now. This may sound like  an odd statement when in fact the publishing house is like a deer caught in the dim glow of an e-reader, maybe not the most eloquent example but you get the idea, but the fact is that with the quick decline of  print the opportunity for e-publishing is flourishing.
Ask any scientist or professor who is a leading authority on some esoteric, tiny niche that have published a multitude of books to a readership of ten. They got published by either a vanity press or university publisher or their time spent doing research, book editing and writing will earn them far less than if they had got a summer job flipping burgers. The printing costs are high and the royalties are tiny.
Now with e-books the same content can be produced into an electronic format, the printing costs are nil, the royalties are higher as well as the potential to have a greater readership is increased dramatically due to costs being lower to purchase the book and distribution reaches everyone with access to an internet connection and a credit card.
What does it mean for publishers and authors? It means that finally there's a viable market for small, niche markets to start. In addition, trends in genres will change quickly and without warning, book's sales-cycle will be shortened and best seller lists will change quicker and will have a far higher percentage of previously unknown authors.
For small, highly targeted readership audiences we will be able to market directly to them through on-line forums, discussion groups and organizations. A very inexpensive marketing strategy and allowing authors in these markets are to still generate a reasonable return on their time investment.
Second, fast changing trends in genres will allow both publishers and authors to define the trend through great writing and creative marketing strategies, be ahead of the market instead of simply following, the focus once again will be to find great author website not simply authors that happen to write in a currently popular style or group.
Third, books will find explosive growth (marketing companies will attempt to create viral marketing plans and fail), growth will come from the masses, from word of mouth and once again from great writing. Books will peak early and fast, then dwindle just as quickly to a few late adopters that are trying to catch up. Authors that come equipped with a series are ready to be launched as soon as the decline of the first book starts will be the big winners. Authors with strong websites and social media campaigns will also win this battle because they will be able to retain interest and have access to a database of loving fans and Facebook followers. There will be an increasing trend of short stories written between novels to try and retain readers. Authors that adopt this strategy, while maintaining a high level of quality will be successful.
Fourth, best selling lists will switch from a weekly New York Times list to first a bi-weekly and shortly thereafter a daily best sellers list with weekly lists merely a synopsis. Authors and publishers will have to fight daily for each title on the list, campaigns will become more and more sophisticated to keep up with buyer’s behavior, pricing will begin to be set daily if not hourly based on purchasing trends and possibly even by reader, based on a combination of income and age. Book editor launches will be set for a specific day and hour based on that demographic. Technology learned from travel sites and others will be utilized to improve purchasing on hand held devices and captured information will continue to improve the recommendations and target books specific to your interests.
What is the overall lesson behind all of this? Great writing will still win out. Now, we as publishers need to become equally as great at getting the word out. It has never been a better time for readers and authors. It's going to be a crazy couple years! Start writing.
Rick Momsen is the CEO of Pegasus Publishing