We are asking a few author friends a question: How do you see the world changing from a writerâ€™s point of view?
Here is Josie Brownâ€™s answer -
“The literary world is beginning to look a lot like the music and entertainment industries, at least as it pertains to the future distribution of its products: online sales and downloads, as opposed to instore CDs and vinyl (music industry), DVDs (film/TV entertainment), or paper (book industry.)
As technology moves by leaps and bounds, all these media are struggling to establish a viable revenue model that fairly compensates those who create the product (writers, musicians, directors) and those who bring it to market.
That said, short of having your book written on Charmin toilet paper, I’m guessing most authors will welcome any and all new media that allows their stories to reach new and or loyal fansâ€“
That is, if the fair compensation model can be upheld.
Aye, there’s the rub.
The advantage to technology is also its Achille’s Heel: pirating copywritten material is very easy to do when it’s put online. The Google lawsuit Â and settlement opened up a Pandora’s box of legal issues that we all will be struggling with for quite some time,
The current compensation model used by the original eBook publishers is as follows:
(1) to attract readers, offer Â books for a price cheaper than printed ones. This was something they’re able to do since they don’t have printing expenses. And because eBook publishers sell primarily online and promoted their books there as well, they have no shipping expenses, retail discounts, or returns: all of which gouge a publisher’s return on his investment .
(2) To entice authors, pay higher royalty rates: 40-50%, Â as opposed to the print standard of 8-15%, depending on formats and formulasâ€“albeit small or no advance. (“We’re all in this together, right? And besides, since New York won’t publish you, we’re your BFF….”)
(3) Pay authors on a monthly basis, as opposed to twice a year. (That’s the real advantage to the digital era.)
Now that eBooks are predicted to be the norm as opposed to the anomaly, traditional print publishers are seriously reconsidering the eBook’s role in their business model. However, this sea change change in product distribution will affect print publishers’ role in an even more profound way:
They will no longer serve as the gatekeepers of what is printed. Their role will shift to that of brand manager: that is build, promote, and manage the brands of their authors their books, both the front and the backlist.
Ideally, promotion will begin much earlier – perhaps even the minute the book’s contract has been signed â€“ and continue much longer than 60 days beyond the launch date. This is a model used in both the music and entertainment industries (both of which have much more expensive production costs) â€“ so why not for books?
(Oooooh…..sorry! I got tingles just THINKING about this!)
And much of this promotion will happen online as well â€“ because much of the traditional media previously used to promote books Â â€“ newspaper reviews and magazine excerpts â€“ is also disappearing.
Or going online.
An promotionally aggressive media-savvy author can use this to his/her advantage. Blogging daily and uploading content to your blog that entices daily visits from your fans, utilizing social networks to reach out to them, offering contests and excerpts, posting events Â â€“ all of these marketing endeavors define your voice and your brand.
And in partnership with a publishing house which see you as a viable brand and treats you as one, this brave new world will be a great place to sell our books.”
Josie Brown‘s novels are IMPOSSIBLY TONGUE-TIED and TRUE HOLLYWOOD LIES. Her next book, THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO FINDING MR. RIGHT, will be released September 2009.