The future of publishing, part 1 of 2

The big talk in both the blogosphere and the traditional news outlets these days is that the publishing industry is at a crossroads. If you attended the DFW writers’ conference this past weekend, you heard that authors are embracing self publishing platforms and social media and that traditional publishing is on the ropes.  Those same folks said that you were a fool if you still chased after a traditional publishing contract. Traditional publishers are simply middle men taking a big cut of profits out of the pockets of authors. Why, they even showed us how we can become our own publishers and publish our own real books for nominal fees, promote those books to the right groups, and make out a pretty good living doing so.

But then you also heard that traditional publishers have fully embraced social media. They have the ability to maximize what social media has to offer. They will continue to promote their workhorse authors that have shown up on the bestseller lists for years as well as publicize new and upcoming authors that show promise.   

There were those that talked about eBooks being the Holy Grail, that they will put more books in more people’s’ hands for much less money . You also heard those that believed there will always be a market for real books that you can touch, smell and take along anywhere, wi-fi connection and power source be damned.

So, that begs one question: who’s right? I think they all are. I think that there has never been a better time to be a writer than right now. Sure, the emergence of self-publishing and the ability to publish an ebook for free on Barnes and Noble’s Pubit or Amazon’s self-pub service has definitely crowded the market, but it all comes down to one thing: is it a good book? Because whether you believed the agents at the conference that work hard to get their client’s a book deal with a traditional publisher or you are out there by yourself  hand selling each and every copy of that book that you sweated over for the better part of three years, one thing you must do to make sure you get the recognition you’re after is to make sure that book is your best effort. Have you reviewed it until you’re sick of looking at it? Has it been edited by a professional? Is the cover the most eye-catching it can be? And so on.  

Whatever route you want to take to get your book published, it seems you can take it these days. But, like I was reminded at the conference, make sure the book you’ve got is the best you’ve got. If not, then you’re just spinning your wheels. And whatever direction the publishing industry takes, if you’re spinning your wheels, you’ll go nowhere fast.

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Check out his novels at www.markfadden.com.

The evolution of self-publishing, a webinar

 

With all the changes in the publishing industry, and many scratching their heads to figure out where we’re all headed, self-publishing (aka taking matters into one’s own hands) is exploding. Many writers see it as a way to cut out the middleman (traditional publishers) and keep more of the money themselves. Others, like myself, see it as a springboard toward a traditional publishing deal. Still others still see it as  “vanity press” where the author can have at least a few copies of his book on display in his office to impress his clients with, or the 24 year old blond marketing assitant that was just hired.  

Whatever you view it as, self publishing isn’t going away. Here’s a link to a recent webinar on Digitalbookworld.com about the evolution of self publishing. The panelists had many different viewpoints/thoughts to offer, as well as tips to consider if you’re thinking of going the self-pub route. It’s about an hour long, so grab a beer or glass of wine, find a comfy chair and enjoy!

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Send him an email at mark@markfadden.com.  

New Ereader? Download the eBook version of The Brink in seconds, for less than $8

Need a unique gift? Buy a signed copy of The Brink for the book lover in your life. 20% off the cover price + FREE SHIPPING

Why you should self publish in 2011

Yesterday, we talked about some of the possible negative effects of self-publishing will have on the publishing world. Today, a more positive view of it. Here’s a link to thriller writer J.A. Konrath’s blog post on why he thinks you and I should self publish (hint: it’s all about the Benjamins!). It seems that his post has hit a nerve, with 427 comments and counting…

Your thoughts about self-publishing? To the keyboards!  

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Here’s what people are saying about Mark Fadden and his latest award-winning thriller The Brink:

“A masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest
“He’s the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas                                                                                                                 
The Brink grabs the reader by the throat and doesn’t let go until the final page.” – film producer Don Phillips

Send Mark an email at mark@markfadden.com.  

New Ereader? Download the eBook version of The Brink in seconds, for less than $8

Need a unique gift? Buy a signed copy of The Brink for the book lover in your life. 20% off the cover price + FREE SHIPPING!

Do writers make good publishers?

With the advent of eReaders, it seems that everywhere you look, there are opportunities for writers to become their own publishers. Amazon.com has Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Barnes & Noble has PubIt, and Borders has a deal with BookBrewer, which also has deals with amazon.com and iBooks. 

In a previous, shortened post from January 20 entitled “Escape from New York” I linked to an article about how many authors are choosing to go the self-pub route because they keep more of the money. In that same post, I mentioned that one of the publishing house reps said that pubishing houses were “venture capitalists for authors.” More than the fact that they can help us market our books through their long established marketing channels and relationships with the big book chains, literally thousands of independent stores across the globe and therefore millions of book buyers, lets not forget the editing staff. Will the ability to self pub an ebook for free muddy the waters of the publishing world with horribly written books filled with grammatical errors, typos, and just plain wandering amounts of crap? Yes. Will it, like American Idol has done, provide a platform for those few talented and hard working authors that may have gotten missed by the publishing houses to show their stuff? Absolutely. Welcome to the brave new world of publishing.

Your thoughts on eBook self publishing? The wave of the future? Or will that wave drag in with it a bunch of hidden crap into the pristine white sands of the literary beaches? To the keyboards!

Tomorrow’s post – why you should, absolutely, positively, self publish an eBook in 2011…in the words of an internationally known author.

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Signed copies of The Brink are available 20% off the cover price at www.shop.markfadden.com.

New Ereader? Download the eBook version of The Brink in seconds, for less than $8.

So what does it take for a virtually unknown author to sell books? Get an insider’s look at a book marketing campaign using social media.

July 23, 2010

 Day 39 of 365

Books sold so far (as of the end of May 2010, which is my first official month – sales reports in this industry lag big time!): 157

 In this issue:

  •  FB ad round-up – the goose egg X 3
  • Library conference networking
  • Looking for readers? Let’s get viral

 FB ad round-up – the goose egg X 3

 All three FB ads laid the big goose egg today. I don’t even want to talk about it.

 Library conference networking

Tomorrow is the big North Texas Regional Library System (NTRLS) conference and I’m very excited. This is a chance to meet the movers and shakers of all the libraries in North Texas. So, what have I done to prepare?

First, I have a table at the conference and while I can’t sell copies of my books, I am using this opportunity to promote the book AND most importantly promote myself as an author. We will do the full recap on Monday, but in the meantime, here are the things I’m doing:

  1. Handing out as many bookmarks as I can. I was going to design a bookmark suit where people could just pull off bookmarks themselves, but that would be a little too obvious on the shameless self promotion o’ meter.
  2. There are going to be several lectures and workshops and I will attend them all, acting like a sponge and trying to absorb as much info as I can. I’m especially looking forward to the social media workshop and I will post all the exciting news.
  3. Here’s a copy of the flyer I created to hand out at my table. Again, I’m not selling books here, I’m selling myself as an author in the trenches who can share his experience with others that these folks know (book club members, other writers) that I can give a lecture to. Again, talks and lectures are great ways to sell books:

 I’ve also got a signing in Denton, Texas tomorrow at Hastings from 6-8pm, so if you’re in Denton, I’ll be at the Loop Hole Tavern enjoying a beer with my chicken fried steak beforehand. Swing by before going to the signing and the first round’s on me.

 Looking for readers? Let’s get viral

 By now, some of you are probably saying, “Mark, all this work you’re doing is great, but it seems like an assload of work for not very much return. Why not do a video that goes viral with millions of views?”  Great idea. And I’m working on it. In fact, we all should. To inspire you, here are two that went viral and got millions of views:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnUEcG4iH34 – Banned 2007 Super Bowl Bud commercial

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI – Double Rainbow – Oh My God!!! He’s really excited about the double rainbow.

 So, what can you make that will make millions watch? Ponder that one over the weekend and we’ll talk again Monday night with results of the library conference.

 The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

The Nightstand Diaries – 1 year, 5,000 books, and an (almost) anything goes approach to marketing a political thriller

July 16, 2010

Day 32 of 365

Books sold so far (as of the end of May 2010 – sales reports in this industry lag big time!): 157

In this issue:

  • FB ad round-up – a new Borders coupon means a new ad for this guy        
  • Having fun with Girls in the Stacks.  

FB ad round-up

You gotta love the big bookstores. Like waves rolling into the beach, one sale ends and another is right behind it. Borders has been good to me, letting me sell myself at their stores around the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, so I’m sticking with them for the Facebook ads. Here’s the new one I created as part of their July 16-19 25% off sale. It incorporates last night’s video interview with the Girls in the Stacks (GITS):

Need a good book?

Check out Mark Fadden’s latest interview about his new award-winning thriller and get the promo code for 25% off his books.

I’m keeping my $20 a day budget and I did a $.49 bid CPC (cost per click).  By the way, the 25% off promo code for Borders.com is BHN7798F. Enjoy! But hurry, sale ends 7/19.

Having fun with The Girls in the Stacks

When doing an interview, you couldn’t ask for a better duo than Stacy and Nancy. The Girls in the Stacks (GITS) asked great questions and the Colleyville Borders bookstore was extremely generous in letting us use their store for the venue. Plus, Stacy used a Flip camera to film us, a way cool little gadget. If you’re not familiar with them, it’s a plug and play video camera – just record your video, flip out the USB adapter and voila! Your video’s on the Internet! Okay, there’s a few steps between those, but if I went into them, I couldn’t have used voila! Here’s the link to the video:

While we covered the items that I suggested in an email prior to the interview, they also wanted to know what’s in my “stack.” I am currently reading Heat, an awesome book about a guy who spends a year being a cook (read “slave”) in Mario Batali’s Babbo restaurant. He also tells the stories of some of the other cooks and how they dedicate themselves to their craft, (i.e. spending 6 months at a restaurant in Italy for no pay just to learn how to make pasta the right way) Anyone who cooks would love this book.

But back to the interview. Stacy sent it to me this morning and I put it up on my website ASAP. (As you’ll see, I also changed the headline of my site to reflect the new Borders coupon.) Video is extremely important, and an interview shows a more human side to you. The more people that watch you on video and see who the human is behind the name on the book cover, the more likely they are to buy a book.  Unless you come off like a complete ass, so don’t do that.

By the way, how’d you do on your homework assignment? Did you do your list of 5 uses for videos to sell your books? Did you get 10?  Nice work!

I also emailed the video to my contact at Good Morning Texas. In a previous post, I mentioned how I’m trying to get on that show, hopefully on the same day I’m doing a signing at the Dallas Uptown Borders store (can’t you just smell the cross-promotion?) Why did I do that you ask? I wanted to show her that I wouldn’t crash and burn in front of a camera.

By the way, the interview cost me nothing to do. As Stacy remarked, GITS is a “labor of love” for them. God bless ‘em.

As always, I hope I’ve presented information today that you can use. If you’d like more, or have a question, by all means send it to me at mark@markfadden.com. 

Have a great weekend. No signings this weekend, but next weekend I’ll be busier than a cow’s tongue in a salt lick. We’ll talk on Monday. Till then…

 The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…  

The Nightstand Diaries – 1 year, 5,000 books, and an (almost) anything goes approach to marketing a political thriller.

July 15, 2010

Day 31 of 365

Books sold so far (as of the end of May 2010 – sales reports in this industry lag big time!): 157

In this issue:

  • FB ad round-up – is it getting ‘chilling’ up in here? 
  • Getting ready for the podcast, which is now a video interview 

 FB ad round-up

I think I need a jacket, ‘cause the “chillingly current novel” campaign is charging ahead like gangbusters. And yes, you do have to monitor your bid numbers, because they can change.  I had only 3 hits yesterday, but then I noticed the bid range changed from $.49-$.59, to $.72-$.92. So, when I changed it from $.50 to $.72, the number instantly rocketed up! Again, here’s the “CCN” ad:

 Chillingly current novel

Preview the year’s most controversial thriller and get a 40% off coupon at your local Borders bookstore good through July 15th.A

 So here are the numbers from the campaign:

Date Imp. Clicks CTR (%) Avg. CPC ($) Avg. CPM ($) Spent ($)
07/15/2010 154,824 27 0.02 0.70 0.12 18.94
07/14/2010 157,660 31 0.02 0.65 0.13 20.00
07/13/2010 132,073 46 0.03 0.43 0.15 20.00
Lifetime 444,557 104 0.02 0.57 0.13 58.94

104 clicks over 3 days isn’t bad. I just wish I knew if those folks bought books.

 Along those lines, I’m going to contact outside help to see if I can track down that info. More on that in tomorrow’s post.

Getting ready for the podcast, which is now a video interview

 The lovely and talented ladies from girlsinthestacks.com informed me today that the podcast is really a video interview. So I’m off to take the hedge clippers to my eyebrows in a bit. To get ready for the interview, I sent them a few suggestions of the topics we could cover. (As a freelance reporter, I find it very nice when your subject does this) I also spent some time doing research online about those topics.  So, tonight’s homework is to learn how to embed a video into tomorrow’s blog.

 Last night, we talked about how you can incorporate podcasts into your blog or site to get book sales. Well, videos are an even better way to do that. On my site, I have a book trailer on the home page that starts automatically. While it’s pretty basic, the music is really cool, very ominous and gets people in that thriller mindset.

 Try to make a list of 5 uses for videos to sell your books. Then expand that to 10. It’ll be easier than you think. Then all you need is a 17 year old to tell you how to edit and embed the thing into your blog and website and you’re good to go!

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow…