AUTHORS: Important information to consider

PublishersWeekly.com posted an article on September 16, 2011 with some staggering sales figures that the Association of American Publishers collected:

Sales of print books in the major trade categories fell 22.9% in the first six months of 2011 at the houses that report figures to the Association of American Publishers. The declines were greatest among the adult segments, with sales down by more than 20% in the hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market paperback categories. While e-book sales jumped 161.3% in the six-month period, the gain was not enough to offset the decline in print, and combined e- book and print book revenue fell 8.6% at the reporting trade publishers.

June was an especially bad month for the print trade segments, topped by a 63.8% decline in sales in the trade paperback segment at the 16 reporting houses. E-book sales rose 167.1% in the month, to $80.2 million.

The numbers tell a huge story - the way people consume books has drastically changed. And this isn’t the only change that is taking place. The way people discover books and authors has changed too. With this drastic shift in the marketplace it only makes sense that the way we market to consumers has to change as well.

I recently came across the following blurb from best-selling author Seth Goden:

You can see the marketing problem of every business just by glancing at the plight of the typical author.

Once a year, once every other year, he has to come out of his university office/ hovel/apartment/rural enclave and go on the road. He has to do Leonard Lopate and the Today Show, a spate of blogs, book readings, Tedx appearances and sleep on whatever couch he can find, use whatever media will have him.

Why?

To reach strangers. To reach people who, if they only knew about the book, would gladly buy it, read it, share it, listen to it, download it.

Selling a book to friends is a totally different story. You send an email to your fans and you’re done. You blog it on your blog or tweet about it once or twice and you’re done.

Selling to strangers... that’s getting harder and harder and less effective every day.

According to a 2009 Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey, 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations and only 14% trust advertisements. This information speaks volumes and echoes Seth’s statement: selling to strangers isn’t effective.

So what does this mean? You might have a few hundred or a few thousand people that know you and want to purchase your book. But what if you made it easy for those people to share your book, your message and information with the people THEY know and and so on to get the word out about you and your book? And better yet, what if you were able to foster trusted relationships with these people to develop a community of “fans” that want to read other books that you put out? I’m happy to say that this is absolutely doable.

It’s about developing a CAREER rather than just a PROJECT.

People discover, discuss and purchase products online. And this is where we will go to develop a community, foster relationships, develop trust, distribute products, and where fans will go to purchase the product. It’s all done online.

The way that we used to market a book or project was one dimensional. We blasted information out to the public through the media in hopes that someone would catch on. In today’s world one dimensional marketing does not work. Online we are able to be multi-dimensional through various social media outlets (conversational & relational), your website & personal blog (informational), blogs & webzines (trusted recommendations), and selling your book through Amazon.com (trusted resource).

AMAZON.COM & CREATESPACE:

In the past, authors had no choice but to find a publisher to provide them with the production of the book, distribution, pricing, marketing and sales. Now an author doesn’t need to rely on a publisher to do any of that...they can do it themselves online.

With print sales taking a nosedive it’s important and vital for authors to embrace the e-book movement. Amazon’s e-book sales outsell print books and Barnes & Noble also reported that their e-books outsell physical books three to one. USA Today stated in a recent article that 20 million people read e-books last year.

Amazon.com enables authors to easily self-publish their books through a variety of formats: print, digital and audio recordings. Through Amazon’s Kindle Direct program authors can create e-books easily and name their own price point. They have a host of online resources that enable authors to do everything a traditional publishing house would do but the author is now in control.

With Amazon’s connection to CreateSpace Self-Publishing tools, print books on demand are also available and can be sold through Amazon.com. 

If you are an author questioning if you should self-publish your book, do your research and see what the best fit for you would be. In today's day and age it is easier (and more practical) than ever to publish your own book with more success than with a traditional publishing house.