Friday, March 8, 2013

Midlist Authors Avoiding the Sinking Sand by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

"I've always wanted to write a book."

As an author or a pre-published author, how many times have you heard this statement the moment someone discovers you're a writer? My guess, is quite often, and the longer you write, the more you will hear it.

I love writing and the publishing market, but I'm witnessing lots of changes that can be seen as both positives and negatives. Even if you're a "glass half full" kind of person, you need to be able to recognize the negatives so you can brainstorm and develop ideas on how to turn them into positives. In other words, you can't find a solution if you do not first recognize that there is a problem.

The changes that are taking shape in the publishing industry is affecting all writers whether they are the million dollar writers, multi-published, award-winning, midlist, traditionally published, POD published, e-published, or self-published. No one is exempt from the paradigm shift that is taking place, not even agents, editors, publishers, publicists, or marketers and designers that work in the industry.

What am I noticing?

Almost everyone who wants to write a book IS writing a book and the publishing market is being flooded with all kinds of books--increasingly, self-published e-books. This has its advantages and disadvantages. I've listed a few below, but there are many more points not listed that we could discuss.

Advantages for authors are:

  • Not having to wait years to see their books in print 
  • Having full control of their manuscripts from writing, editing to cover design
  • Ability to set pricing controls and adjust it to market fluctuations
  • Higher royalty payments 
  • Publishing niche books that may not appeal to the general audience

Disadvantages for authors are:

  • No advance
  • All marketing and distribution is on the author's shoulders
  • May cost more of a personal financial investment
  • Higher chance of releasing books before they are ready and when more edits and rewrites are needed 
  • Building a platform from scratch, since even traditionally published debut authors have the publisher's platform to start from

Now, midlist authors whether they are traditionally published, POD published, or self-published via ebooks are competing in a flooded market that is either swallowing them up or leaving them on the shore mired in sinking sand. A few are doggie-paddling to a row boat. Only the million dollar authors are on the nice yachts sailing through the water on the sails of their publishers' marketing budget. The impact on them is much less than the rest of us, but a wave might flip them over every so often.

What is the solution?

It's already been identified--a solid platform.

But how does one get there without starting out as a celebrity? 

I wish I had a short, simple answer that would take care of all our worries that would launch us to the platform where we all dream of being. The truth is, there isn't one simple answer. No publicist can provide a miracle. What we can do is give you consulting advice and get you started on a marketing plan that will increase your sales as time progresses and from one book launch to the next. When deciding on a publicist, take a close look at that publicist's Social Media following and stats--most likely, that is the market to which they are able to market your book. Overall, each author will need to take advantage of every possible marketing opportunity. Do not give up. Be consistent and recognize that slow progress is still progress.

What has been your biggest challenge to building a platform?

1 comment:

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