Writers' Forum 2022 - June
The Hybrid Publishing Debate Continues
U.S. Book Show 2022 Top Digital Marketing Takeaways
How to Market Your Book Without Social Media
The Hybrid Publishing Debate Continues:
In “The Hybrid Publisher Debate: Do You Have the Right Mindset?” on Jane Friedman’s blog Debbie Weiss discusses the expectations of the author side of the publisher-author partnership and recommends that an “author do a deep self-analysis about what they are willing, and want, to do in support of their work.” Which, frankly, is good advice no matter what type of publishing path you pursue as traditionally published authors are often not given very much marketing support.
In “Is Hybrid Publishing Ethical?” (also on Jane Friedman’s blog) Meghan Harvey details the nuances of hybrid publishing and the costs associated with bringing a QUALITY book to market. Frankly, I was a little surprised at the costs quoted in this article. (Mainly, because I know how incredibly hard it is to sell books and begin chipping away at this investment to hopefully – eventually – make a profit.) If you’re willing to go the indie publishing route and hire all these services, you can certainly publish for less of an investment; however, that requires taking on the role of ‘general contractor’ when you might just prefer to partner with a reputable hybrid publishing company. All of these paths to publication are legit . . . you just need to do your homework to make sure you are choosing good partners.
Interestingly enough, in April the Society of Authors and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain published a joint report “exposing widespread practice among companies that charge writers for publication.” In particular, singling out the hybrid publishing industry, stating that “the word publishing has been hijacked.”
U.S. Book Show 2022 Top Digital Marketing Takeaways
The U.S. Book Show was hosted virtually by Publishers Weekly from May 23 – 26 and AJ Jack summarized the key takeaways about digital marketing. His summary includes that hybrid and virtual promotional / book events are here to stay—which is not surprising. Other points include the how digital privacy measures are impacting advertising, causing a reset of expectations for digital advertisers—although Facebook remains a big player. Read the whole article for more info on email marketing, social media focus, and how to authenticity on TikTok is essential.
How to Market Your Book Without Social Media
And in a completely opposite take from the previous article, Penny Sansevieri tells us how to market our books without social media on the Author Marketing Experts blog. In the article an author explains how she gave up social media in 2020 and what tools she uses now to market her book like her blog, newsletter, guest posts, a podcast, a YouTube channel (which I would argue is a very specific type of social media platform), speaking engagements and more. On the one hand, I kind of admire her guts in going cold turkey on social media – but on the other hand – other than direct advertising, we should know that social media (except for perhaps TikTok) doesn’t really sell books but mainly serves as a way to engage with fans. I will agree, however, that with limited time—perhaps this IS a good strategy.
PUBLISHING INDUSTRY NEWS
The New Copyright Claims Board
In mid-June the new Copyright Claims Board began accepting its first cases. Initially, conceived as a more “user-friendly” way to avoid expensive legal cases, there’s now concern over the constitutionality of the system and whether it puts people at a disadvantage if they’re accused of copyright infringement. Read Mitch Stoltz’s article analyzing the situation on the Electronic Frontier Foundation website and Victoria Strauss’s assessment on the Writer Beware blog.
Spotify Closes on Acquisition of Findaway Voices
Not much to say here – except Spotify is now in the audiobook business. Read the full story here: https://newsroom.spotify.com/2022-06-16/spotify-closes-acquisition-of-findaway-a-global-leader-in-audiobooks/
Publishing Contract Contradictions
The Writer Beware website has an excellent article this month about how to spot conflicting clauses within publishing contracts.
WRITING CRAFT / PROCESS / PRE-PUBLICATION
My Kristen Lamb Love Fest
Yes, I wholeheartedly love Kristen Lamb’s posts on writing craft . . . Why?? Because she makes me laugh while teaching me something. I have so many “ah-ha” moments when reading her advice. She's brilliant!
In “Why Writing Mastery Should Matter to Authors” Kristen discusses why authors should strive for better writing, always learning how to perfect their craft. And she laments how many writers/authors are focused more on marketing mastery than on craft. This is a very good read!
In “Write FAST & Furious: Outrunning ‘Spock Brain’” she discusses the finer points of fast drafting—which encourages writers to complete a novel in as short as two weeks. I will say that there’s something magical that happens when you’re fully immersed in creating a story. I think my fastest drafting has produced some of my best writing. Agree? Disagree?
In “Neurodivergent: Being ‘Different’ in Life and Fiction” Kristen openly shares that she is on the autism spectrum and has mild dyslexia, dyscalculia, and severe ADHD and discusses how hard it was growing up in a world that didn’t see value in those differences—well, unless “someone wanted to copy my homework,” she says. This is a brilliant presentation that will help all of us with writing characters that are neurodivergent (and possibly recognizing our own neurodivergent traits). I love her last bit where she shares her theory that “many writers are neurodivergent and write people so well because we spend so much time studying them.”
How to Get into Ghost Writing
Have you ever been curious about ghost writing? It can be a lucrative money-making endeavor. Daniel Parsons details what you need to know to get started! https://selfpublishingformula.com/how-to-get-into-ghostwriting/
The Julie and Julia Formula: How to Turn Writing Envy into Success
Catherine Baab-Muguira writes this fun post for Jane Friedman’s blog detailing how she turned her admiration of Edgar Allan Poe as a perverse hero into writing a book that encouraged “reading Edgar Allan Poe for self-help and call it How to Say Nevermore to Your Problems.” There are other fun examples in her story.
How to Craft a Stunning Book Cover
Vasylysa - a content writer at MiblArt (a book cover design company for indie authors) – gives great tips for why book cover design matters, how to make sure you’re matching the expectations for your genre and more. https://selfpublishingformula.com/how-to-craft-a-stunning-book-cover/
BOOK PUBLICITY, MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
Want to Grow Your Platform? Do Less – from Dan Blank
This is an article about focus—about how focusing on one area of your platform and going deeper with your engagement on that platform can be beneficial than being superficial on a number of platforms. Check out his suggestions and strategies here: https://wegrowmedia.com/want-to-grow-your-platform-do-less/
Get More Author and Book Publicity
Sandra Beckwith of Build Book Buzz provides an excellent blueprint for finding publicity opportunities and shows you how to approach journalists with a unique pitch that will get you noticed.
And, in “Sell More Books in Your Backyard with These Publicity Tips,” Sandra Beckwith focuses her advice on gaining attention in your local media outlets.
If you’re looking for a more in-depth course on creating your media kit and strategy for approaching traditional media, check out my course: How to Promote Your Book with Traditional Media.
Amazon Ads for Authors: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide
I was simply blown away by the thoroughness of this print (non-video) tutorial for Amazon ads by Matt Holmes (posted on Jane Friedman’s blog). So, so detailed! He notes different tools that can help you master Amazon ads—including my favorite Kindlepreneur’s Publisher Rocket system, that helps you identify keywords, categories and more for targeting. If you are hoping to start Amazon ads or you’re struggling to make ads currently running profitable, take the time to read through this tutorial. Don’t skip the steps you think you already know, there are important details in those sections you may have overlooked.
How to Run a Powerful Book Promotion (Freebies)
This article is all about how giving your book away for free can work as a promotional tool – but only if you have a system in place to take advantage of all those new readers, like having more full-priced books in a series, having a way to encourage them to sign up for your email list and more. A free promo must have a purpose! There are lots of details here for you to check out on how you can use this strategy for each launch.
BookBub: How to Use New Releases for Less and How to Test Target Authors
In “How 12 Authors Used New Releases for Less to Support a Book Launch” Carlyn Robertson shows the price point, readers reached, and number of sales for books in a variety of genres. This is interesting because there are some higher price point books in this mix—at 4.99 to 6.99 along with the typical lower priced ebooks you find on BookBub. This will help you strategize if you’re planning to use a New Release for Less deal as part of your book launch promos.
In “Why Testing BookBub Ad Targets Pays Off” Robertson provides a very specific methodology for choosing author targets for your BookBub ads and also walks through ad creation, bidding, budgeting, and the analysis of the data gained from the ad test. If you’re adding BookBub ads to your marketing mix, this is a must read.
If you’re new to BookBub ads entirely and want to start off with a beginners tutorial, head over to my post: https://valeriebiel.com/blog/advertising-your-books-part-one-bookbub-ads
49 Essential Social Media Statistics for a Successful Online Strategy in 2022
This infographic from Barb Drozdowich gives all the updated demographics and usage statistics for social media. This is interesting, and you might be surprised at how your assumption about age group usage, and such are no longer correct. Check it out!
Happy Writing (editing, marketing, and more!) - Valerie