Friday, February 24, 2012

Publishing Transition Ups the Role of Your Platform by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

History repeats itself.

I wish we could learn from our past mistakes as a society, but we seem doomed to ignore the hard lessons previous generations have learned and make them our own. It may look a bit different with new technologies, different people, places, and time--but the ultimate deal is still the same.

People are hungry for power. They work hard to build a business empire, rake in as much profit as possible, put competition out of business. They start out with excellent customer service because they have to, but once they're on top and the only game in town, they begin flexing their muscles and setting unfair prices, contracts, and percentage rates with their partners.

Who are we talking about?

First, it was the small publishers who were ousted by the big six publishers in NY.

Now, it's the big six along with book stores, facing the threat of the powerhouse of Amazon.

As usual authors and agents are caught in the middle. We're still producing our stories. Agents are still submitting them, but we're all listening, trying to discern where the winds will lead us.

Here's one thing that won't change: 
  • The old publishing model depended on an author's platform and their ability to promote themselves.
  • The new publishing model will still depend on an author's platform, and more so, especially their online platform. 

Do not be discouraged or deceived. Every new follower you gain on Facebook, Twitter, and to your blog--it matters. Every new subscriber you receive to your email newsletter--it matters. Each new connection you make on Goodreads, Google+ or Pinterest--it matters. It's one more person who has the potential to hear about your books and buy them, and whoever they have the ability to influence. This is limitless. Promotion is hard and sometimes it isn't fun, but it does make a difference.

People can't buy books they've never heard of before. And even if they've heard of your books, you must give them a reason to buy your book out of all the many choices competing for their attention. Sometimes it's by allowing them a chance to get to know YOU through interviews, personal blog posts, book signings and just sharing the blessings God has given YOU to pass onto THEM. People are more willing to buy and support an author they feel like they know than from someone with whom they have no connection.

I want to leave you with a link to a blog post that will make you think.
Amazon--Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts by Kristen Lamb


Heather Day Gilbert said...

I've been thinking about this post (and Kristin Lamb's) all weekend! I hadn't even considered the threat to writers if Amazon does indeed take over the world! Interesting how promotion has morphed into more computer interaction than real-life appearances. Authors have to be quite multi-talented these days! (or at least have techie friends!) Thanks for the thoughts!

Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Heather, It's much deeper than I originally realized. So much to consider!

Davalyn Spencer said...

I am stunned by the information here, as if standing in the hall as the finger writes on the wall. Much to consider.

Caitlin said...

Fantastic article. I wish more people could understand this. Thank you for spreading the news so authors can prepare!

Diana said...

Thank you Jennifer. Being informed makes all the difference.

Eddie Jones said...

"An author with a platform is a citizen, an author without one is a subject," writes Katharine Lambert.

Nice turn of phrase but Amazon ESTABLISHES an authors the platform, not the other way around. All this playing in the social media realm is nibbling at the edges. The aim for authors should be to use Amazon to build your contacts (lead them from Amazon TO your FB page, Twitter account, ezine newsletter, etc) and get that data so when Apple launches a competing book publishing division you can switch them over.

So you 2000 Facebook followers. How many of those are book buyers? Heck, you can reach 20,000 book readers in a day with Amazon.

Here's what I mean. Last Friday we gave away 3 of Ann Tatlock's novels using the Kindle Select Program. (a program designed to gut B&N's NOOK business.) If at the front of each eBook we had Ann's Facebook page hyperlinked and her Twitter account hyperlinked then as readers read her book, they could have jumped over and comment on her FB page. Heck, she might even want to offer them an incentive WITHIN THE EBOOK to do this.

We and she didn't. We just tested the waters to see if the free book deal would work. Gave away 20,000 copies. This why I say authors should use Amazon while they're using us. Want to have an affair? Have one with Amazon.