Is the bookshop dead? This was a major discussion point at the latest London book fair April 2011. There are a number of top CEO's from companies like Penguin, Harper Collins and others, who are certainly very worried about the whole situation.
Penguin Group CEO John Makinson was quoted as saying: "there is certainly a transformation in every area of the publishing chain" a revolution is happening. He continued by saying "Try to understand how the growth in digital is going to track with the inevitable decline of, and in some parts of the world the collapse of, physical book retailing.
John Markinson is not alone in his estimation of what is happening within the book publishing industry. Harper-Collins CEO Brian Murray was heard saying that "heavy book buyers" are abandoning bricks and mortar bookshops in droves throughout the USA. He also goes on to say that in the USA the number of e-readers (people who buy and read digital formatted books) has grown from 15 million 12 months ago to 40 million today and is escalating.
Damian Horner a well known and respected freelance marketing strategist reported that the independent bookshops should start to think about what colour and font size they will put on their closing down sale posters on their shop windows, as bookshops are getting killed. He says that this is due to Amazon and the big supermarket chains, and the independent bookshops inability to compete with these juggernauts.
Of course there are still people backing the survival of the traditional bookshop but these are mainly from people with a vested interest in that area.
Tim Godfray CEO of the Booksellers Association thought the observations of some publishing houses CEOs are a bit overstated. In his view predicting the demise of the bookshop or the printed book for that matter, is far from conclusive. This is even after the collapse of some very high profile bookshop chains going to the wall in the last 12 months: Borders and Angus and Robinson to mention two.
Of course there will be survivors amongst the traditional bricks and mortar bookshops, but these will be the shops who have dug out a niche for themselves and who are in a position where people still need printed books. These will be the University bookshops like the Coop-bookstores who are situated on campuses and carry specialized books and a good cross section of fictions and non- fiction. But even these shops need to move with the times to survive and not simply rest on their laurels.
So what does this all mean for the budding non-published or not widely recognized authors and the associations that are there to support them?
It means that things have just become much more difficult. The big publishing houses are not going to take on a new unproven author even if they have a great book, they don't have the funds to take a risk that the book will sell. After all, a not so good book by John Grisham is much more attractive to a publishing house than a fantastic book written by a new author without a track record.
Contrarily to popular belief the book industry runs on profit, making money. It is not about giving authors that nice warm glow they get by having their book published. Traditional publishing houses will no longer take a punt on a new author without some kind of marketable back ground.
With the demise of the bookshop that looks like continuing for a while, publishing companies will have to change with the times or suffer the same fate. If any authors or organizations still believe that the way to riches is by getting published by a big publishing house and is the way to go? Then they are in for a very rude shock and a very big disappointment. The digital age has arrived and it is not going to stop anytime soon. Any author or association who are still grasping onto the old ways of advising or putting your book into the shops and everything will be OK are heading the way of the dinosaurs.
This year's London Book fair 2011 has made in very clear that you either change or perish, the big publishing houses know this and are frantically looking for other avenues to survive. But when you have been doing things a certain way for decade's radical change is hard to do quickly. Some will manage but rest assured that some will fail to make the change.
The good thing is with change there are always opportunities for the people who are in a position to move quickly, this includes forward thinking authors and associations.
The Internet has opened up a whole new avenue for publishing and selling your book. This does not mean simply the digital version but also the printed book as well.
From our experience a lot of people want both the eBook version for their e-readers and the printed copy as well. The beauty of the Internet and social media, the new way to market your book using Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Squidoo Lens and Clickbank to mention a few has opened doors for the progressive author.
But and there is a big but, a single author on their own will find it hard to get to the critical mass they need to get their book out to the world. But in a group of authors with the same aims, then they can forge a presence on the Internet and reach that critical mass they need to propel them into best seller status.
At the Australian Self Publishing Group we endeavor to do this as we believe it is imperative to change and change quickly in this rapidly shifting market?
It was great to be on radio 2XX on 4th December book show with Bill Tully. We had a great chat about publishing and the authors books we have done. Bill liked the Finish the Game book by Ian Jolly, Super food spike book bt Sharon Cooper also. A family conversation about God, bt Reg Dyett was popular also. He loved the 'A poets Life for me' book by Ysabelle Moriarty, as Bill is a bit of a poet himself.
We have been asked to return in January to talk about marketing your self-published book. Which we are looking forward too.
Book Marketing using Social Media for Emerging Author
Most authors have traditionally used offline strategies to create buzz for their new book. These methods typically entail striving to gain coverage in local press, sending out press releases and holding public sessions to talk about the book. These methods are certainly costly and may not reach as many people as an emerging author may intend to. Social media has changed this, and emerging authors can now access millions of potential readers and buyers.
Through a well created website, an emerging author is able to connect to his readers, understand what the readers want and strategize further on how to convert the readers’ interests into sales. An effective website is one that provides informative content, previews of works that are yet to be published, commentaries and news in that particular niche, if the book targets a special niche. Placing links to online stores through which interested readers can purchase the book is also an effective strategy for marketing the book. Many authors also provide free snippets of the book to entice readers.
Emerging authors should make an effort to network with their potential readers. Using social media is the best way to this. There are many social media platform exist at the moment but the most popular of course remain to be Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, Squidoo and Google Plus.
For marketing your book you need to have a Facebook page as long as Facebook profile. You should put effort to connect to your friends and their friends to make an effective way of generating attention for the book.
On you Facebook page it is also important to include links to the author’s website as well as links to book retailers. This will ensure that interested buyers have an easy time finding and purchasing the book.
Joining relevant groups is a great idea to find the potential buyers for your book. You can also create your own group on Facebook and become its group leader.
Twitter is a great social networking tool which emerging authors can use to post real time messages to their fan base. It is important that these messages be relevant to the affair of promoting and publicizing the book. Authors can post messages about their location during book tours, about any offers or anything interesting about the book at hand.
Social media marketing experts are cautious about encouraging people to make hard ‘sells’ when promoting their product, in this case, a book. Too much selling can turn off even the most avid fan.
Videos on sites such as YouTube have the potential to go viral and thus serve as an effective social network marketing tool for the emerging author. When creating a trailer for a new book an author should focus on keeping the trailer short and to the point. Videos should be no longer then 2-3 minutes. Briefly introducing readers to the various themes in the book is a good strategy to hook readers. It is also a great idea to incorporate music and images to further interest the readers.
To use social media effectively, emerging authors should understand their target audiences and how to reach them. It is also of import to consider that the message communicated via social networking sites is the most important asset an emerging author has- apart from the book, of course.