Showing posts with label publishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label publishing. Show all posts

Thursday, February 19, 2015

KDP Select FTW!

Greetings Fellow Readers,

I listed Shadow Galactic's relaunch on Amazon KDP, Apple iBooks, Nook Store and Google Play.  Only Amazon came through for me. As someone who knows very little about how to effectively market anything (let alone a self-published ebook), I made use of Google's and Apple's promotional tools.  Sales were not impacted at all by the either promotion.

Whatever else Amazon is doing, their KDP Select promotional tools have been highly effective.  So while I had resisted returning to the shackles of Amazon-exclusivity, it has provided the only effective promotional tools I have used to date.  As such, my amazing wife and partner in crime has pulled all but the Amazon link down.

I was going to write something about pay-to-play and its effect on the music industry then juxtapose that against the free to self-publish model, and the effects (both good and bad) that such models have had on both industries, but then I realized I'm not really qualified to rant about that.  =)  Happy Thursday, everyone!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

When Amazon Invaded Goodreads...


As I mentioned last week, traditional print houses are going to need to take a page or two from the Amazon Playbook, if they want to survive.  Jeff Bezos is brilliant, and his acquisition of Goodreads confirms it.  With that social cornerstone, he is primed to control the vast majority of available digital reader information.  Reviews?  Amazon's.  Product placement?  Amazon's.  Opinions?  Amazon's, too.

The tides have changed, and traditional printing is the whale, beached due to inaction.  As print houses cling to the old ways of making money through paperback and hardcover sales, Amazon is strategically placed to crush them, utterly.  In the days to come, they'll offer assistance to select houses, but with zip ties around their wrists.  Other houses will flounder and fail, and those remaining in the Amazon Club will be forced to do Amazon's bidding.  They'll be reduced to figureheads or worse.  Sound unlikely?  Take a look at how Microsoft assisted Macintosh, or even more dramatic, how Wizards of the Coast lent TSR a hand.  It's a tried and true method for consuming a bloated corpse before it spoils.

The knells will toll for traditional printing, but it will have been completely avoidable.  Sadly, print houses suffer from extreme rigid thinking, like so many good old institutions.  They've convinced themselves that if they just scream loud enough, eventually everything will go back to the way it was.  If they just hold on tight enough, the ship will suddenly stop sinking.  But that's never how it works.  Again, don't get me wrong, I LOVE Amazon's KDP, but competition is good, and a lack of it has always -- ALWAYS -- been bad.  

Change is scary.  Age-old institutions are stubbornly inelastic, and it's precisely that tendency that brings about their demise.  But it doesn't have to.  When TV came along, the radio stars slipped away, but the music industry adapted.  It thrives, because it changed with the times.  If printing wants to survive Amazon's onslaught, it needs to create writing and publishing communities of its own.  It still has Big Money, and has the resources to create and nurture such communities.  Goodreads belongs to Amazon now, but TOR, Doubleday and Penguin can stake their own claims.  Unlike other wars, there are no physical boundaries to heed.  There is still an infinite number of countries that can be created to do battle with Amazon, as long as the money is still there.  But money goes where it can grow, and like the One Ring, it will abandon its bearer at a most inopportune time.

Printing can survive, but it needs to come down off its throne and reach out to the bourgeois.  It needs to, or it will become yet another entry in the history books, like the telegram or the radio star.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Hangman and the Print House

For those of you who follow this blog AND my Facebook page, sorry for the effective double post.  With that having been said...

I had a really good talk with my close personal friend and editor, last night, about how hard it is to get anything published through traditional channels (e.g.: the Del Rey's, the Penguin's, the Baen's...).  I personally chased that dream for 20 years, until one day a good friend of mine at work (and a fierce warrioress!!) suggested I give KDP a shot.

Yes, I love Kindle Direct Publishing.  LOVE it, but this isn't a plug for that system.  Not a vulgar one, anyway, so you may read further without fear of being bathed in corporate sycophanaticism.

We came to some interesting conclusions about the state of the publishing industry.

1) eBooks are real.  They're not a fad, and they're not going away.  Ever.  It's created an interesting environment for people with Kindles or the Kindle app, because it's a sea of largely unfiltered creative types who finally have a channel to get their work out to a large audience and make a little money on the side.  Most Kindle authors can't really afford to hire a professional editor, but still there is an expectation of professionalism from the readers who are posting reviews.  It's an interesting convergence of old expectations meeting current available quality.

I foresee the Amazon feedback loops helping authors to write better, but I also foresee overall standards taking a slide.  A lot of books that are poorly rated do very well in Amazon's rankings, because more and more of the masses are moving to eBooks.  The same criticisms that make it to the reviews are not going to be observed as keenly by most readers who just want to read *something*.  It is my opinion that Internet prose plays a big part in this.  When readers are accustomed to deciphering "brb," "smh" and "lolwut?" on the fly, piecing out a poorly edited book isn't as much of a hurdle as it used to be.

In the Kindle market, it's the concept that's king, and Amazon is banking on it.  Of course, a professionally edited work will stand on much stronger legs, but there's still lots of money to be made from a good idea and the dedication to see it through to completion.

2) Traditional print houses need to adapt and FAST.  For those of you who don't know, I work in the mobile advertising business, and the key to making a profit is staying ahead of the game.  Right now, traditional print houses face some dire straits: unless it's the next Harry Potter, Twilight or Hunger Games, they can't afford to take a chance on anything that doesn't have blockbuster potential.  In the past, taking a chance on the professionally presented little guy was par for the course, but now, it's a risk they can't afford to take.  They count on the hard-copy readers for their revenue, and those same readers are turning more and more to eBooks.

Sure, print houses list digital versions on the Kindle store.  They also charge the same price (usually) for the printed version as they do for the digital version.  And they have to.  But that won't make them enough money to stay afloat for much longer.  It can't.  Not with their demographic becoming increasingly more divided, more willing to take a chance on a $3 eBook from an unknown author.

In the next few years, we're going to see more major print houses closing their doors unless they can get out in front of this train.  And they can, but they're going to have to reinvent.  Scraping Amazon's successful authors isn't going to get the job done fast enough.  If the big print houses want to stay profitable, they're going to have to learn a thing or two from Amazon and create programs that encourage new authors to submit.  New blood is the new black.

'Nuff said.

Thanks for reading!