Friday, June 19, 2015

The New Bookstore

In past blogs I’ve mentioned the many book promotional sites that have popped up during the last five years. These sites are changing the landscape of the book and publishing industry. Primarily driven by the fantastic growth of ebooks, these promotional sites allow the author/indie-publisher/traditional publisher to more easily access the reading public and place their stories in front of an interested buyer.

Simply these are pay to play. For a fee (that is wide ranging) the author requests that their book be scheduled on a specific date at a specific price to be listed on a web site (usually through a subscription) that is broadcast daily to thousands and even millions of interested readers. The author (and/or publisher) picks the genre, the price, and the commercial site where the books can be purchased (Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iBook, etc.). In most instances the promotional site is a pass through, you do not buy the book directly from them. For the security conscience reader/buyer this is looked-for.

Each of the promotional sites has their pluses and minuses. Some are focused on specific genres (or more heavily oriented), especially romance, mystery, and young adult. Some have good to great visuals for displaying the books, others not so much. Most reputable sites do not charge the reader to join their subscription service. They make their money buy charging the author/publisher a fee to post. I’m not going to get into the fees or their relative pricing structures, but the reputable ones, such as BookBub, list the number of readers that their service reaches on a daily basis, the cost to reach those readers (varies whether the book is free or at a discounted list price). As I said some are very expensive (relative). Hundred of dollars to post (if accepted) but may reach millions of eyeballs. How much would it cost you reach that many with book tours, newsletters, and magazine ads.

For the new author, the toughest challenge is to be found and discovered. I can go to a dozen book club presentations, or try and flood the region’s bookstore with book signings, and I still will only reach a few hundred people—at best. The cost per unit sold is very high – gas, overnight stays, printing books, handouts, gimmicks and do-dahs, cost money.

Over the last month I have, through listing four of my titles at various price points, had my books downloaded (primarily Amzon-Kindle) almost 7,000 times. The total cost was approximately $300. The goal for a new author (or even an experienced writer with a large backlist) is exposure. Every day there are thousands of new readers joining other enthusiasts in romance, sci-fi, thriller, mystery, and a dozen other genres. The author needs to remember that there is a wealth of new customers coming to the ebook industry every day – regardless of what naysayers say about the ebook industry. If you’ve written a great book, especially a series, the goal is to have the buyer buy the others.

I honestly don’t know how many of these promotional sites are out there. Some are personal blogs that weekly post a few books that interest them, some are just getting their feet wet, and others, such as BookBub (founded in 2012 – GO HERE for info on one of the founders), receive millions in venture capital to keep expanding their digital footprint.

I will over the next six months or so post progress blogs about my experience with these sites. I’ve already found that some need work on their business model, their payment systems (credit/PayPal, etc.), and customer interface. However, they are learning. Some are intensely curated and filtered. Some only want titles that have shown a track record (i.e. number of posted customer reviews – minimum of 100 I’ve heard), some tend toward the traditional publisher and their backlists, and others are beginning to develop their own internal review and acceptance procedures.

Here are just a few:

More Later . . . . . . . . .

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