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.
Archer's solution: finding people to partner with. Specifically those who can help you with discoverablity.All of these are great points. And at Scarletta, we have already seen some of these take root within our own marketing plans. For instance, we see Archer's Castle story as being about the importance of interactivity, and that's something we've taken to heart with our last few books. We created a song for Hassie Calhoun, as well as games, puzzles, and Lexicon Villages Events for our first kid's book Lost in Lexicon. Not to mention we have ebooks coming out with all of our print books.
And Archer's point about discoverablity is huge. With the flood of new books coming out all the time, publishers will have to do everything in their power to get their book to stand out from the rest. And maybe new partnerships and creative thinking are just what everyone's looking for. Especially smaller publishers.
This is one of the reasons Red Portal Press was founded. It is an imprint of Scarletta Press and was designed to offer authors the ability to self-publish their books electronically with the professional backing and services of an actual publisher.