Feb 24, 2012

The Future of Publishing

At this year's Digital Book World Conference in New York, a panel filled with publishing CEOs talked about what they learned in 2011 and how that affects what they plan on doing differently in 2012. Scarletta listened to what they had to say, and then we thought about how that affects us, as a small publisher.
Dominique Raccah, CEO and publisher at Sourcebooks, spoke of 2011 as the "Renaissance of the book," because more people than ever are once again thinking of books.
Ellen Archer, president of Hyperion, added that "the book is now elastic and dynamic." She went on to tell a story of mixed media, and how the television show Castle (about a writer who helps solve crimes) helped prompt the idea of an unlikely partnership. It's hardly news that books are created about popular TV shows, but the producers of Castle wanted the book to be "penned" by the fictional character in the show. Hyperion worked with them to release the first half of the book online, chapter by chapter, the summer before the show was renewed for a second season with the plan to release the book in print once the TV series was renewed. It was a hit, making the NYT bestseller list.
John Donatich, director of Yale University Press, also mentioned the digital book age as an era for previously unseen manuscripts to be made widely available.
Which left John R. Ingram, chairman of the Ingram Content Group, asking "Where do you get the money?" and expressing the need for balancing relevance and profitability.

Feb 16, 2012

Highlights From the Digital Book World Conference

According to PGW Constellation, changes in book marketing was the main point driven home at this year's Digital Book World Conference (January 23-25, 2012). Multiple panelists stated that the traditional lines between the marketing, publicity and sales departments are quickly falling away, especially when it comes to the use of social media.
"Marketing, sales and publicity serve the same function and should be more closely aligned"—Ellen Archer, Hyperion
The biggest draw of social media is the interactive component. Authors can stay in touch with readers, contests can be held and Open Road is finding that creating new video content is the most efficient marketing investment a publisher can make.

Feb 10, 2012

The Role of Social Media in the Workplace

Sheyna Galyan of Yotzeret Publishing insists that "you have to approach social media as a tool, not a toy." That's the best way I've heard it described so far. I've worked at companies that are convinced Facebook is just a way to "pretend" to do work—so their solution is to block workers from accessing the site. And they followed suit when Twitter became popular! It made me want to pull my hair out! Yes, Facebook and Twitter hold thousands of distractions for workers, but that doesn't mean pretending they don't exist is the right way to go.

For authors AND publishers, social media sites are invaluable as free, easy ways to get word out about yourself. You can post events on Facebook, like book signings and radio interviews. You can share reviews, display your latest blog post, and interact with readers.

And with Twitter, it's even easier to connect with thousands of people who might never have known about you otherwise. All it takes are a few well-placed hashtags. You can keep it general, with #fiction, #booknews, and #litchat, or you can go after people who might be interested in specific aspects of your book, such as #fantasy, #legalthriller, #modernart, whatever seems relevant.

From a publisher's viewpoint, the thing we've had the hardest time convincing our authors on is the importance of blogs. Blogs can be a place where reader's learn more about an author's personal interests, or maybe the author takes them through the steps of how they're writing their next book. Maybe the blog is from the viewpoint of one of the main characters, or maybe it has nothing to do with the book and instead is a place where the author can share a love of photography or traveling. Whatever the content of a blog, it serves the purpose of keeping readers thinking about the author. Blogs are also a great place to ask for reader feedback.

You don't have to use every social media site you come across, start small. You're impact can still be great. Check out Scarletta authors that have jumped into the blogosphere. You can also find many of our authors on Facebook and Twitter!

The Inside Look by Lindsay G. Arthur, Jr.

A View from the Windowseat by Penny Noyce

The Pamela Cory Blog

The Leonard Borman Blog

Feb 2, 2012

Barnes & Noble Vs Amazon

Tuesday of this week, Barnes & Noble made a bold statement by informing the world that they would not be selling books released by Amazon Publishing in their bookstores. Barnes & Noble's chief merchandising officer has been quoted as saying, "Our decision is based on Amazon's continued push for exclusivity with publishers, agents and the authors they represent...Their actions have undermined the industry as a whole and have prevented millions of customers from having access to content."
This decision could seriously hinder Amazon's hopes to sign authors who would want their books sold in Barnes & Noble stores. And if Barnes & Noble won't sell Amazon's books, it seems pretty unlikely independent bookstores in the United States would be willing to stock them either.
Whoever would have thought Barnes & Noble could become the David in a David and Goliath story, but I say more power to them. I won't lie, I've used and loved Amazon in the past, but this exclusivity talk just sounds selfish. And if the publishing world really is in jeopardy, like so many say it is, shouldn't we all be working together?