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The Publishing Market is Changing: Are You Ready?

Courtesy of Pixabay

Let’s face it, every market is saturated. Every market requires entrepreneurs to be able to adapt to an ever changing market. Refusal to do so could result in a massive loss of sales.

We will be brutally honest. The market is becoming harder for Indie authors to get a foothold in the publishing industry. Doors once open are now closing due to a lack of care in editing, cookie cutter plots and just downright bad writing. By no means are we saying it’s impossible but you must be willing to accept some hard truths.

In a recent article we came across published by Author Publisher magazine titled The 10 Major Publishing Trends of 2018ten of the major shifts in the publishing market were outlined.

To begin, if you’ve been in the self-publishing or writing industry in general, you have become aware of the recent acquiring of Amazon’s KDP rigorous changes in rules for getting and keeping reviews.

Amazon’s new policies have made it to where if they find one hint a person leaving a review knows you in any way, your review will be deleted.

What does this mean to the market? It means that authors will have to get smart and reach further into methods they may not traditionally have used in order to reach more readers and build a readership.

The truth may be harsh, but here it is.

Authors have to realize that writing with the goal of reaching any sort of publishing deal, must treat their writing as a business. You are a brand if you produce a product. Apple is not only known for its products but also its logo and as a brand trusted by a vast amount of consumers willing to pay hundreds of dollars to make sure they have the newest model.

You may have also noticed, traditional publishers are becoming much more selective to unsolicited manuscripts. They are tightening their reins and requiring authors to reach out to agents in order to pursue contracts with them. Agents are harder to come by (at least those who are accepting queries) and often make authors wait long periods of time before inevitably rejected them.

The types of books — audio, ebook, paperback, hardback, etc — are becoming more widely distributed in a constantly fast-paced world. A few years ago, one might have been able to produce only ebooks but once again, there’s a shift.

Readers are shifting back to desiring to hold a paperback version of the books in their hands. Book bloggers are no longer accepting “self-published” books.

Paranormal romance (or the romance genre in general) books are a saturated, yet highly demanded genre, but one must see the underlying cry for thrillers, horror and mystery. The market is once again showing a subtle shift. One merely must go to Amazon and search through the best sellers to see what the highest ranking titles are.

Best seller rank on Amazon is no longer entirely dependent on reviews. We have seen many authors who have been able to play the AMS system so well, they break the traditional trends of publishing and are reaching the top seller list with as little as three reviews. For example, Bella Forrest’s A Shade of Vampire 68: A Purge of Nature.

Reviews are a great indicator for customers to understand what they’re buying, by no means am I saying they aren’t important. I’m saying obtaining best-seller’s status is no longer solely dependent on them.

Although these shifts might be terrifying in nature, especially to young authors or authors just now getting feet wet in the industry, it is a necessary part of economics and commerce. Those who fail to shift will be weeded out, thus leaving the market to grow with those who followed the marketing shifts.

However, adapting is a part the economy, the economy is built of those who fail, learn, adapt and start anew.

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NaNoProMo Day 29: Why Good Editing Is Good Marketing by @Alexandria_SZ

Day 29 of NaNoProMo is all about editing and how important it is in marketing your book by Dr. Alexandria Szeman.

Editors are there to make your writing look cleaner and more professional The hard truth is, unless you are willing to do some of your own, it can be hard to market your book.

This has become such a problem, especially with indie and self-published authors. So often, we see manuscripts that have not been looked at by a beta reader or read by another to spot preliminary problems. It can and most likely will result in an automatic rejection.

We require our authors to have their manuscripts read at least twice before they even submit to us.

Editors can be expensive, we know this, however, there are other ways to have editing done or get your manuscript cleaned up. Beta readers, critique partners and friends who have some editing experience can also help.

The point is, there is indeed, no excuse for good editing.

Excerpt:

Why IS Good Editing Good Marketing?


You’ve probably heard at least one fellow writer claim that s/he doesn’t have to worry about spelling or grammar or even plot-holes because, once the book is accepted by a publisher, the editor will fix any errors. Maybe that was true before typewriters were invented, but it wasn’t true when my agent was sending my first novel out to publishers 27 years ago.
The hard truth is that, unless you’re already a bestseller or a major celebrity with an established audience, no agent or editor will even look at your book unless it’s already well written and well-edited.
In traditional publishing, agents and editors are marketers: agents “sell” manuscripts to editors, who “sell” the books to the rest of the editorial staff before making the author an offer to publish. (Once the book is published, the bookstores, not the publishers, are the ones that literally sell the books to readers.) Agents and editors simply don’t have time to edit a book, especially not for unproven authors. And if you self-publish, your readers will expect your work to have the same quality editing that traditionally published books have.
That means whether you’re looking for agent representation, submitting directly to publishers, or planning to self-publish, anyone who reads your book has to be completely engaged by your story, has to like your writing, and should never notice that there’s anything that needs to be changed, i.e., edited. Good editing is essential for all books, but there are lots of different kinds of editing, only some of which is done by traditional publishers.

Dr. Alexandria Szeman, Why Good Editing Is Good Marketing

Where to find Dr. Alexandria Szeman:

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NaNoProMo Day 28: 5 Reasons Authors Should Market Themselves With Email by Conor Kelly

Day 28 of NaNoProMo (founded by Rachel Thompson) is all about emails and why authors should be willing to market themselves via email.

Email lists are used widely here at FyreSyde. We use them for our street teams, our blogger list and of course our newsletter. Having email lists can be crucial if social media should suddenly become useless. Where would you find those readers or get in touch with them?

Excerpt:

Email. We love it, we hate it.  We like to complain we get too much of it, but we’re also addicted to our inboxes.  If you’re an author who’d like to build a following, sell more books, and be seen as the go-to person in your industry, then this article will show you how – by using simple emails.
Without further ado, here are 5 reasons why every author should market themselves using email:

Conor Kelly, Reasons Authors Should Market Themselves with Email

Find more about Conor Kelly:

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NaNoProMo Day 27: How to Pick a Bestselling Title by @BarbaraDelinsky

Day 27 of NaNoProMo (founded by Rachel Thompson) is all about titles and why they make such an impact on book sales, courtesy of Barbara Delinsky.

Excerpt:

Your novel is done and you’re ready to start hyping characters and plot on social media, which is the current marketing tool of choice, right?
Only in part. Social media is important. Same with building hype with blog endorsements. Before you get to those, though, you need a good title. Studies suggest that the average reader makes a book-buying decision in less than three minutes based largely title and cover. Okay, the recommendation of a friend (or Reese Witherspoon) helps, or, if you’ve published before and have a devoted following, they may snap up your book on the weight of your name alone. A gripping plot description on the book jacket helps, but only if the shopper actually opts to read this summary.
How to make that happen?  How to get the reader to actually pick up your book and take a closer look?

Barbara Delinsky, How to Pick a Bestselling Title

Where to find Barbara Delinsky

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NaNoProMo Day 26: 3 Reasons Authors Need a Content Strategy Now by @AbbieMood

FyreSyde has a saying: “Authors don’t always have to be authors.”

Why we say this has everything to do with one little word: content. Often, authors think they have to talk about nothing but writing and focus only on their books. This is not the case.

NaNoProMo Day 26 (founded by Rachel Thompson) offers three reasons why authors should focus on developing a content strategy courtesy of Abbie Mood.

Excerpt:

Why Is Content Marketing Important for Writers?


Over the past few years, content marketing has gained popularity as a marketing strategy. And rightfully so—businesses all over the world are successfully using blog posts and social media to gain customers, clients, and brand fans. In fact, content marketing converts people to paying customers at a rate SIX TIMES higher than other/traditional methods. While it’s becoming a no-brainer for businesses, content marketing and having a content strategy is just as important for solopreneurs, writers, and authors.
You might not realize it yet, but if you’re writing full-time or trying to become a published author, you’re running a business and it will greatly benefit you to think of it from that perspective. And that’s why a content strategy is integral to your success as a writer.

Abbie Mood, 3 Reasons Authors Need a Content Strategy Now

Where to find Abbie Mood:

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NaNoProMo day 25: How to Work With Book Bloggers (By a Book Blogger) by @Girl_Who_Reads

Book bloggers are crucial to the writing community. They offer their reviews free of charge (in most cases) and are willing to often take more than they can handle.

However, there is a right and a wrong way to work with book bloggers. Unfortunately many receive backlash for their honest reviews.

Thankfully, NaNoProMo day 25 (founded by Rachel Thompson) brings a book blogger to the table. In her article, Donna Huber offers details how to communicate properly with book bloggers.

Excerpt:

Make Friends With Book Bloggers
One of the top questions I hear from authors when discussing book discoverability and marketing is “What can I do that doesn’t cost a lot of money?”


My Response Is Always: Make Friends With Bloggers


Unfortunately, I see way too many authors only using bloggers as review generators and failing to make any kind of personal connection with them beyond the review pitch. Bloggers are an awesome resource to have in your toolbox, but one too many authors do not properly know how to incorporate this tactic into their marketing plans.
As more and more bloggers close to review requests, it is important for authors to find new ways to leverage the impact a blogger can have on a book’s success.
I have a number of publishers and publicists that contact me about traditionally published books. I can almost always tell when an email is from the traditional side of publishing from the first few lines. It is subtle, but it sets them apart from the indie and self-published pitches. Pitches from traditional publishing rarely begin with a request for review. Bloggers are pretty smart and already know that if an author/publisher/publicist is contacting them, they are hoping for a review.

Donna Huber, How to Work With Book Bloggers (By a Book Blogger)

More about Donna Huber:

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NaNoProMo Day 30: How to Create a Book Marketing Roadmap by @Beth_Barany

Marketing. We talk about it so much and find so much on the internet but still new authors struggle with how to go about it. It’s intimidating, horrifying and can, at times, be confusing.

NaNoProMo day 30 (founded by Rachel Thompson) offers a great roadmap on how authors can go about their marketing. Beth Barany shares some steps you can take to make marketing your book a bit less daunting.

Excerpt:

Why Market Our Books?


We writers want to be read. Otherwise, why would we publish our work? Well, it is so gratifying to hold the book and see it on the shelf. But it’s the readers’ joy in reading is what it’s all about. Otherwise, why publish?

To be read, we must market our books. How to do that can be overwhelming and feel like a big black box you can’t open because:
There are so many choices out there on how to market
There is so much advice on the “right” way to market that clashes — confusing! and
You may be afraid to actually to do the work because of well, many reasons. (I’ll address this aspect more below.)
To bring some clarity and offer an overview roadmap, let’s start by defining our terms.

Beth Barany, How to Create a Book Marketing Roadmap

Where else to find Beth Barany:

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NaNoProMo Day 22: How To Grow Your Author Platform by @KatBiggie

Day 22 of NaNoProMo (created by Rachel Thomson) offers more insight on how to develop your author platform. Again, we here at FyreSyde believe in building a platform much earlier than when you hold your book in your hand.

Check out this post by Alexa Bigwarfe, a leading name in the publishing industry about how to begin building your platform.

Excerpt:

There is nothing worse than doing all the things to have a well-written, edited, fantastic book that completely flops when you launch it. That’s all of our biggest fears as writers, right? Okay, creatives have a lot of fears, but this one: “What if nobody buys my book?” is at the top of the list.

Many writers think the hardest part about publishing a book is the writing, the editing, and all of the steps to produce and publish a high-quality book.


Once you’re done with that – you market!


Uh oh. The realization quickly sets in that either you don’t really know your target audience and where to find them, or you haven’t spent the time growing an audience of true fans.

Alexa Bigwarfe, How To Grow Your Author Platform

Find more about Alexa Bigwarfe:

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NaNoProMo Day 24: Tips to Grow Your Author Platform by @IolaGoulton

You’ve heard it preached so many times. Having an author platform is critical before your book even releases. Some will say you have to wait to have the book in hand, but we here at FyreSyde tell our authors to market themselves first.

On average, platform building should begin six months before your book is even released. Some (like us) begin the process (if the author has not already done so) of building a platform fifteen months in advance.

NaNoProMo day 24 (created by Rachel Thomson) has a wonderful post by Iola Goulton on how to grow your author platform.

Excerpt below:

This might seem self-evident, especially if you’ve followed most or all of the#NaNoProMo posts this month. But I do come across published authors who don’t even have the basics in place: website, email list, and basic social media links.
It annoys reviewer-me when I want to promote an author but can’t, because the author doesn’t have anything for me to share or promote beyond an outdated Facebook page.

Iola Goulton, Tips: How to Create Your Author Platform Basics

Find more about Iola Goulton:

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NaNoProMo Day 20: How to Improve Your Email Newsletters Right Now by @SugarbeatBC

What would happen if social media suddenly went black? We’re talking no more tweets, Instagram death, Facebook crashing apocalypse. What would you do?

Enter your email list – one of the most powerful marketing tools in any business’ arsenal. These are the people who receive newsletters every month with exclusive goodies (or we hope you include them).

For NaNoProMo Day 20 (created by Rachel Thomson), Barb Drozdowich offers some insight as to how you can improve your newsletters. Don’t miss out on this valuable information.

Excerpt:

Many of the experts in the field focus on aspects of this communication which in the big picture don’t really matter. Or in some instances are detrimental to your ability to communicate with readers. In fact, it is my assertion that many of the experts in the field haven’t actually read any of the research in the field of communication with readers. They often repeat advice from others – assuming if someone is talking a good game, they must know what they are talking about.


In today’s post, we are going to mention two points of proven research and then talk about some ways to harness the power of that research to up your game.

Barb Drozdowich, How to Improve Your Email Newsletters Right Now

Find out more about Ms. Drozdowich:

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NaNoProMo Day 16: How Working With an Author Assistant Helps Writers by Guest @TheRuralVA

Here we are again (still a bit behind) but hey we promised to deliver NaNoProMo (created by Rachel Thomson) and come heck or high water, we are.

Today is something special. Here at FyreSyde, we know nothing is more important than learning to delegate. As human beings who carry jobs, have kids, go to school and somehow still find time to write, finding someone to help can mean a world of difference.

Emilie Rabitoy brings to you how important it can be to have an author assistant. Read the full article about it here.

Have a juicy excerpt:

When it comes to hiring an author assistant, it can be difficult to know where to start. The possibilities are sometimes limitless, so it’s hard for an author to know which tasks they should hand off to their assistant or which they should continue to do on their own.


One of the first things I ask my clients is if there is any task just they cannot stand, or feel is necessary but don’t have the time or skills to do. These are absolutely the most important tasks to give to your assistant, because either they currently aren’t getting done at all, or aren’t getting done very well.


The most important part of the relationship between an author and their assistant is communication, so finding a style that works for both parties is crucial. Though many writers don’t feel they can afford an assistant, they’d be surprised by how reasonable the cost is.

Emilie Rabitoy, The Rural Virtual Assistant

Find more about Emilie here:

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NaNoProMo Day 13: How to Best Prepare for Book Marketing by Francis Caballo

Here we go again with the whole marketing thing. Heck yes! Marketing is scary, intimidating and is so easy to lose so much money if one doesn’t follow a…wait for it……PLAN! We know, we’ve done it with some our earlier titles.

Well, one of our favorite gurus, Frances Caballo has just the cure to the marketing blues as part of NaNoProMo (created by Rachel Thomson) Day 13. Check out Ms. Caballo’s article for some really good advice on how to prepare for book marketing.

Juicy excerpt alert:

Book marketing involves so many steps. When people come to me, they erroneously think that all they need is social media marketing.


Au contraire.


Social media alone won’t cause your books to start flying off the proverbial bookshelf. So, take this quiz and see if you’re ready to tackle book marketing on your own.

Frances Caballo, author of Social Media Just for Writers

Find more about Frances Caballo at her links below:

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NaNoProMo Day 12: How to Make Your Book Marketing Plan a Success by Maureen Joyce Connolly

Marketing can be daunting if you don’t know what you’re doing. Trust us, we’ve been there. We know how you feel. Breaking it down into a marketing plan can help ease some of strain, especially for Indie and self-published authors. Here’s the kicker, bashing people over the brain with “buy my book” tweets is NOT the way to go.

Often times, as authors, we forget that our readers are people too. As part of NaNoProMo (created by Rachel Thomson), Maureen Joyce Connolly offers ways to make your marketing plan successful. Check out the full article here:

And to get you interested:

The very core of my approach was to learn as much about launching a book as quickly as possible, to compile a strategy and to execute it with support if I needed, but for me to be the driver of my plan. I also understood instinctively, that I would need to identify my personal strengths and use them to my advantage since I had no social media presence – nada, zip – as my business had flourished via referrals.
In the social media arena, I wasn’t starting from the ground floor; I was starting in the basement. But I have a bulldozer work ethic and creativity. Two killer strengths.

Maureen Joyce Connolly, author of Little Lovely Things

Find more about Ms. Connolly:

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NaNoProMo Day 11: Why Writing Your Truth Is an Effective Marketing Strategy by Jackie Cioffa

So many times, we receive questions about what it means when we say that the author is a brand, not a book. We have written on this in the past but are pleased to see it brought back up as a part of NaNoProMo (created by Rachel Thomson).

Authors, whether you want to admit it or not, you are a brand. Do not fall into the trap of riding the coat-tails of a single title. Like the iPhone (and many other pieces of technology) a book title has a lifespan. Let it live it and move on but make your face (or name if you’re a recluse) the reason people know you.

Jackie Cioffa does an amazing job at keeping things real when it comes to book marketing in this article.

As always, here’s an excerpt:

When Bad Redhead Media’s Rachel Thompson reached out to me to write a post about promoting and marketing my books, my immediate thought was is she kidding? I have been an avid follower and fan of Rachel for nearly a decade, trying to emulate her badass self-publishing skills and as much of her marketing expertise as I could.


Luckily for me, Rachel is both a friend and respected colleague who willingly shares her pixie dust book magic and marketing strategies through BadRedhead Media, where many of her tips and tricks are free.
That’s right, free. I keep her article, How to Create Pre-launch Buzz For Your Bookbookmarked on my computer and her book, BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge right next to me.


When I finished the manuscript for my third novel, The Red Bench, and began hyperventilating, I knew I needed guidance. I turn into a toddler when it comes to all things promotion and marketing related. I reached out inquiring about a possible formatting contact, and Rachel kindly suggested Barb Drozdowich, from Bakerview Consulting, a wizard who turned my pulp fiction into an exquisitely formatted memoir.

 
I never quite understood what Rachel said over and over about the author is a brand, not the book until the release of The Red Bench, and the importance of building social media relationships, engaging, interacting, and not solely about your book. I had tried countless promos in the past with The Vast Landscape and Georgia Pine. I used Freebooksy, BookBub, Amazon Giveways, MailChimp, BookMarketing Tools—all with moderate success, yet becoming more and more frustrated.

Jacqueline Cioffa, author of The Red Bench

Find more about Jacqueline here:

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NaNoProMo Day 15: Here’s How to Use Medium to Build an Audience for Your Books by Shaunta Grimes

Blogging is something we’ve found works wonders in growing an audience. It shows that authors are more than books with a body. It shows we’re human and that we like to share content we don’t charge for.

Here at FyreSyde, we preach to our authors to always and we mean ALWAYS have free, EVERGREEN content. What is evergreen content? It’s content that will always be relevant to someone.

Shaunta Grimes does an excellent job at showing how Medium can be used to build an audience as part of NaNoProMo Day 15 (created by Rachel Thomson).

Now, something we get a lot of (and we mean A LOT of) is “I don’t know what to blog about.” As authors, your first reaction is probably to go straight for the jugular right? You write books, why not talk books? The truth is, just because you’re an author, it doesn’t mean you have to talk books and writing. We will have a segment on this in our future posts.

For now, enjoy this excerpt from Shaunta’s post:

Building an audience is one of the hardest parts of being a writer.
It’s hard for a lot of reasons. We want to create. We don’t want to be marketers. It feels weird and wrong to sell these stories that we’ve poured our hearts and souls into. We want to just write our books and leave the rest up to fate.


Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. At least not most of the time. For most of us, building an audience and learning how to interact with that audience is an important part of our job.

Shaunta Grimes, author of The Astonishing Maybe

Find out more about Shaunta: