Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret.- Matthew Arnold
I’m not sure, but I would guess every person reading this article will answer with a resounding YES! I know I do. I also know that it’s not enough to simply write a good book. This brave new world we’ve entered with the advent of self publishing and e-readers has changed our industry forever. We are now responsible for the business as well as the creative side of making books. (This is true no matter which avenue you take to publishing.) Most sectors of business change over the course of years, we’ve seen huge upheavals in the course of a few months.
Because of the shifting landscape, it is our responsibility to stay current with market research and business strategies for our careers. This takes a bit of time and effort, but doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A writer can educate themselves by reading blogs, like Muse Tracks, and researching the internet. I decided to take my own advice and have been studying trends and tricks of selling books.
We know e-book consumers are increasing their buying power, both in print and e formats. More people are buying more books online to the detriment of the traditional brick and mortar book stores. Obviously, the ease and number of e-readers on the market has influenced this trend immensely, but a sky rocketing segment of this is found in-app purchasing. According to the Book Industry Study Group- www.bisg.com which publishes Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading shows that more than half of e-book readers increased their use of using apps to buy books and more than one third of them increased their buying at sites like Amazon. A huge percentage of them said that they’ve significantly decreased their spending at book stores.
Their findings show that dedicated e-readers are still the most used platform for reading books, but even that has changed over the last few months. Take a look at these numbers:
-17% said they are now using tablets, which is up from 13%.
-Smartphones used as readers has gone from 5.3 to 9.2%
– Dedicated e-readers has dropped from 71.6% to 60.9%. Even so, sales for the Kindle jumped 175% between Black Friday and Christmas of this past year.
So how do these numbers translate into dollars and cents? The book trade as a whole has grown and profited over the last year, but the e-book trade has led the way jumping from 73.2 to 128.8 million dollars. That’s a 76% increase in just one year!
This is huge!
So what do you do with this information? E buying, whether print or e-book, is still fueled by the traditional method of “word of mouth”. We all want to read a good book so we listen to our friends. The trick is to take that time honored method and apply it to our digital age. “Word of mouth” now has the ability to extend far beyond a writer’s immediate little world. It’s called social media.
Indie/self published authors have blazed a path of marketing through this outlet pushing their sales to new heights. I was very interested to learn that traditional publishing houses are taking note of this grassroots effort and are using it as well. An anthology will soon be released through a major publishing house and they have each of their authors creating street teams to help market the book. Each author sends out a request to their friends asking them to sign up for a specific week to Facebook, Twitter, blog etc. about the upcoming book. It has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of people, if not more. (Interesting twist that traditional publishing is taking a cue from the lowly writers who have made their own path.)
Let me be clear- I am not a business type person. I have trouble keeping my check book balanced, however I am NOT stupid. If I want to steer my writing career, I have to have the knowledge. Knowledge is power, knowledge translates into making money and as we’ve already decided, we all want to do that!