Monday, April 19, 2010

An Antiquated Arena

Good afternoon, all. Sorry for the recent hiatus. Things have been so busy I haven't had a chance to read any blog posts, much less write one!

Where to start!?!

This morning I had a great mini-meeting with some of our editors to discuss the marketing process and what expectations our company has for authors.

During lunch I got caught up on my industry reading, where I read this article at PW. It fits in perfectly with my thoughts today: The No-Advance Tradeoff

Since 2005, Tate Publishing has been doing the very thing Cooper and Kampmann advocate: changing what happens at the onset of the book deal in favor of the author keeping more rights, exercising more creative control, and pocketing higher royalties.

So Beaufort signed some mid-list celebrities... whoop tee doo. To be honest, some of that goes with the New York territory.

A line that really jumped out to me was this: "Cooper said the idea is that a book 'doesn't have to be a home run every time. The stakes are to do the best job possible.'"

The Best Job Possible
How do we attain that "best job possible" status? With my years in the industry, it's dependent upon one thing:

Partnership.

The business model we are discussing---where an author retains more rights, creative control, and higher royalties---has a trade off. It means the author must be involved as well!

The days of unknowns penning books and raking in the dough while sequestering themselves in their gothic mansions are long over.

Look at Stephanie Meyer. She's involved with her book, the marketing, and her readership.

Let me reiterate:
if an author chooses to accept a contract with a publishing house similar to these we are discussing, the author HAS to understand and accept his/her responsibilities, both literary and promotional.

Some Sobering Statistics

Bowker stats indicate that:
288,355 titles were released by traditional publishers in 2009
764,448 titles were released by POD/self publishers in 2009

That means over 1 million new titles hit the market in 2009.

For the moment, though, let's not consider those 700,000+ books by self-publishers/POD publishers (you can get a breakdown of these publishers from John Kremer http://www.bookmarket.com/; details are listed in this week's book marketing tip).

Let's look at the retail competition my authors face: the 288,355 titles published by comparable houses to Tate.

Imagine stacking 288,355 books against a wall. Then imagine how long that stack would go.

Keep in mind that each of those 288,355 new titles has an author with dreams and some sort of marketing campaign.

Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention: your average store only has room for 20,000 books, and many times they need to keep duplicate copies of the same title.

Where are you going with this, Amanda? We are sick of hearing all the bad news!

My dear readers, this is GREAT news! Less than 300,000 other titles are competing for bookstore buyer attention. The odds are still tough, but they seem less overwhelming now. Of course, just showing the book won't catch their attention, but showing a demand for the book will!

The way to overcome those odds should be ingrained in your subconscious by now: The RRCS Equation.

Research, Relationships, Connections and Sales are all hand-in-hand.

The RRCS Equation will give you the leg up against those other 300,000 titles competing for bookstore buyer attention, because you'll build a readership, which then leads to demand, which then leads to your book bumping another book off it's shelf.

The RRCS Equation will also give you a leg up against the 1 million+ titles competing for reader attention.

With less than 40% of book sales coming from the bookstore market, the majority of readers and spenders are finding titles and authors they like outside of the traditionally accepted--and completely antiquated--"bookstore arena."

Okay, that's it...my rant for the day is over, and my soapbox is being put away.

For my authors, here is your homework assignment for today:

What ONE title would you recommend readers read before reading your book?
What ONE title would you recommend readers read after reading your book?

Your answers may surprise you...

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