The Power Of Knowledge- Turn It Into Money

Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret.- Matthew Arnold


Do you want to make money?

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.

This is me doing the research!

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-   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!

19 Responses to The Power Of Knowledge- Turn It Into Money

  1. Oh, I like power! LOL Give me that knowledge, girl! 🙂

    Great post! I only wish there was an easier, less time consuming way to keep up with all these wonderful changes. So glad to have such a great local writing chapter in my corner! 🙂 NWH Rocks!


    • I always knew you were the quiet power trippin’ kind of gal! Bwahahahah
      It is time consuming, but it is our reality. No matter the road you choose to travel, you WILL be responsible for the majority of the marketing efforts. Those writers who believe because they are signed with a traditional publishing house that they will have a marketing campaign handed to them are terribly mislead. …and you are right NWHRWA totally rocks!!!


  2. Willa Edwards says:

    Very interesting blog. I agree knowledge is power, but different approaches work for different people. You have to learn to be adaptable too (which is what the NYpubs have had trouble with). What works this week might not be the same in six months. Adapting is the only way to really stay alive in this market.


    • Hi Willa- Thanks for stopping by today! You are so correct when you say that flexibility is the key to continued success within this industry. Not only do different approaches work for different people, but marketing trends change almost on a daily basis. All that being said, it is better to do something to help get your book and name out in the public’s eye than to do nothing but throw it up on Amazon and all the others for sale. Next week I plan to spend some more time on strategies and things we should all do and NOT do!


  3. Great blog! Very interesting stats…I love cold, hard facts that can be turned into fantastic news! I’ll have to see what’s going on with the tablets–as a self-pubber, this blog was insightful!


    • I am so glad you came away with some information that is useful, Erin! We try to be a site that all writers, new and old, can learn from. Check back next week as I delve into more strategies and ideas. Thanks for stopping by!!


  4. Thank you for your post, Stacey. Some interesting and useful stats and info.

    Got a few questions for you. Some writers I know, such as our mutual friend Jennifer Bray-Weber, are into self-publishing; but I’m reluctant to try it. My platform, such as it is, consists solely of my Facebook page. I don’t have the connections and clout necessary to publicize and promote my works.

    Therefore, I believe I’d be doing myself and my potential readers a favor if I take the traditional route of finding an agent and letting him or her submit my works to publishers. Is this a good idea?

    Also, concerning the results of self-publishing, all we read about are authors like Amanda Hocking who become rich and famous. What about the other 99.99%? Do you have any stats?

    It’ll be interesting to see how the publishing field will continue to change with the advent of new technology and media. Thanks for keeping us informed, and good luck with your projects.


    • Hi Mary Anne!
      Wow- you’ve got a handful of questions so let me jump right in. Jenn started as a self publisher but now has a contract with Carina Press which just released her new book a few days ago. I believe she has a great balance between “doing it yourself” and being traditionally pubbed. Since she now has a presence in both camps, she can now use each one to cross market the other! It’s totally awesome and I’m so proud of her.
      The one item that you need to really be aware of is that traditional publishers don’t have the marketing dollars they once had to market your books. Most authors I know- even the best selling ones- who are traditionally pubbed still do an ENORMOUS amount of their own marketing. If you don’t, it is my opinion, your book will stall and sales will fall quickly. My advice? Continue your FB, design a website, join writers/readers groups, have a blog or guest blog etc. I’ll have more information on this next week. I’ll also include some real live information about real live self pubbed authors and how they are doing. Stay tuned!!


  5. jeff7salter says:

    Great material here, Stacey.
    I guess I’m about to find out how the ‘promo’ side of things works … since my first novel will be published in a couple of weeks.
    [Actually, it’s the 7th novel I’ve written, but the first to see publication.]
    In any case, I’ve observed many authors, including some I really like, who seem to always be in ‘promo-mode’. I don’t think I can do that, myself. So, if that’s what it takes, I probably won’t get very far.
    but if I can draw a modest-sized loyal ‘following’ without being constantly in promo-mode, I’ll consider that a win-win.


    • Congrats Jeff! I didn’t realize your date for fame and fortune was coming so quickly!!!
      I believe your strongest selling point is that you are so personable and a “what you see is what you get” kind of guy. That is your platform to build off of and it’s refreshing in these times. People will respond to you without you having to be in promo mode. You already belong to a blog that is well read and has a VERY nice sized audience, a big plus! You will have to do some things, but it won’t be like being a used car salesman.


      • jeff7salter says:

        Thanks for the kind remarks, Stacey.
        I’m reminded of a quote I love … from the movie “Harvey”.
        Elwood P. Dowd explains — to someone — why he’s personable.
        He says (parahphrased): “my mother taught me that I could either be ever-so clever or ever-so pleasant. For years I tried being clever. But I recommend Pleasant.”
        I’m afraid I butchered the quote. I’ll go look it up.


  6. Ruth says:

    Great blog Stacey. it isn’t just the here and now readers we have to think of. It is the readers of the future. An example- my 7 yr old grandson who is in 1st grade and learning to read. He has the beginner books, but what does he like to read? The books downloaded on his mothers Kindle fire. He would whine about reading the books, but give him the kindle- he sits with no problem reading it and then does his book report. I bought him & other grandchildren the leap pad for Christmas, but the books are expensive and the kindles books are much cheaper- not only does the writer have to review the upcoming markets, but I think the makers of e-readers do too.


    • What a great point you made about us having to be aware of future generations!! You are absolutely correct. What will the next several generations of readers look like? What will books look like? Will they be interactive? Will they be on a hologram platform? The possibilities are endless!!!


  7. jbrayweber says:

    Like William said in his comment, we have to be willing to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of marketing, social media, and technology as a whole. Some days it’s hard enough to keep my head above water. It’s all so overwhelming. However, finding the niche that works for me and capitalizing on it and growing with those changes is key.

    Great blog, Stacey.


    • Willa hit the head on the nail. This was the first article in a series I have planned coming up on marketing, the changing landscape etc. I’ll be pumping you for information so get ready!!!! Here I come.


  8. Stacey, Thank you for your post. There is so much stuff out there now. I have friends going on blog tours and not knowing how much it’s helping.


  9. Tess says:

    Amen, girl, amen!

    I’m trying to find my way…still not sure what it is, but I’m trying!


  10. Well Tess, that’s really all we can do!! The bottom line is that it’s better to try stuff, even if it’s not the most effective than to do nothing at all.


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