THE FUTURE OF PUBLISHING at Brainstorming on the Beach, Novelists, Inc. conference
Thursday, October 7, 2010
This day was entirely devoted to The Future of Publishing and was open to all writers. Impressive speakers spoke to us about what’s new and what’s coming in the publishing industry. The first panel’s topic was Promotional Teamwork. Here are my notes, keeping in mind this is what I heard and my interpretation.
PANEL ON PROMOTIONAL TEAMWORK
Eileen Fallon, Literary Agent
Brian O’Leary, Magellan Media Partners
Joan Schulhafer, Publishing and Media Consulting
Shannon Aviles, More Than Publicity
Kay Hooper, NYT Bestselling Author
Carolyn Pittis, Senior VP, Global Author Services, HarperCollins
Linda Parks, Co-Owner, Fireside Books
Loriana Sacilotto, Executive VP, Editorial & Global Strategy, Harlequin Enterprises
Joan: “The train has left the station,” meaning we’re all published authors and we have the choice of many destinations. We cannot let uncertainty about the future paralyze us in terms of what to do for promo. Determine who is your target audience and what you will send them in terms of printed materials. Communicate your plans to your publisher but be careful not to create more work for them. “Every time you have a request or idea, it creates work.” So be realistic in your expectations.
Loriana: Harlequin believes in building authors into their own brand. They hold weekly sessions regarding digital media and social networking. “Write consistently what you write best” to build your brand. Print and ebook sales should be looked at together. Publishers should ask, how is this book selling in each format? Bestseller lists still influence readers, distribution and discounts. Is there an alternate way to measure success other than the bestseller lists? How about total sales and the value of the backlist?
Carolyn: Review copies still sell books today but we need more book recommendation tools. Word of mouth hasn’t met technology yet. Think about who your promo activities are geared toward. Also consider the cost of your various promo efforts, i.e. “For this dollar, I get less or more.” Everything online is measurable. Co-op used to be the major marketing expense for publishers, but things are shifting. Independent booksellers still have tremendous influence. A big shift is coming in retailing. Google will allow indies to sell eBooks competitively with Amazon, etc. As consumers use more eReader devices, indies can leverage their connections with readers.
The market is booming overseas for English language genre fiction, i.e. vampire romance, thrillers. There’s a huge demand in India and Muslim countries in particular. Growing and developing technology in eBook formats, metadata, etc. will increase among pubs. “You can connect with your readers around the world. That’s where the growth is.” This growth surge will help combat book piracy.
Shannon: “Eastern Europe is in an upswing as are China, Scandinavia, Central/South America” re demand for English language books. Driving it is the eBook biz, apps, handheld tech, integrated marketing, widgets, and enriched content. Publishers have to recognize measurable numbers for eBook sales.
Linda: Send your book to the indie bookseller, not just a bookmark. Make a connection with your local independent bookstore. This will benefit both of you.
Brian: Ads in PW and newspapers don’t sell books. You want your brand to extend beyond what your publisher does for you. Social media provide an on-going effort to build your reputation. “Be visible and be searchable from the moment your book is published.”
Kay: Consider the cost of social networking to your creativity. “You have to find your comfort level because the future is now.”
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