Tag Archives: marketing

Self-Publishing Reaches the Summit

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 talks about his experience of participating in the 2014 New Generation Publishing’s annual Self-Publishing Summit in London, and in the article Self-Publishing Reaches the Summit, he features several themes of the new trends in self-publishing, which include “starting to self-regulate” and “emphasising on quality”.

Going beyond the dichotomous argument of “traditional publishing vs. self-publishing”, the 2014 conference shifted its focus to seeking possible routes to a successful writing career. Writers seemed to start reflecting on their self-publishing experiences (and each other’s sharing) with a critical eye, “acknowledging the huge potential challenges” and hopefully preparing themselves for the tough road ahead. When commenting on the quality of self-published books, Chalmers states,

It is ultimately that and nothing else that will provide self-published writers with long and successful careers.

Finally, authors at the conference generally expressed their concerns (and possibly anxiety) about marketing, to whom Chalmers suggested that they should not be too “hung up on social media” but should turn to physical copies and try to sell them through local bookshops instead. Sensing an increased degree of self-regulation and professionalism, Chalmers will not be the only one who feels positive about the future of self-publishing in the industry.

Image Credit: She Writes Press

More on Hybrid Publishers: An Innovation to Success?

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David Vinjamuri presents his view in the article How Hybrid Publishers Innovate To Succeed on Forbes. He introduces the rise of hybrid publishing, who is considered to be a combination of both traditional publishers and independent authors who are digitally skilled. It is a new and controversial model of publishing in the industry, but Vinjamuri outlines three characteristics of successful hybrid publishers, including offering small advances, operating on voluntary contributors, and speeding up on product development cycle. He concludes that “agility” is the biggest advantage of hybrid publishers in their competition with traditional publishing houses and self publishers.

I agree with Vinjamuri that a fast response to the market — sometimes achieved through the use of social media platforms — can often get you in the upper hand of sales, which is one of the biggest challenges for traditional publishers, who may get stuck in the slow motion of product development cycle and are considered ot be losing “coherent brand positioning with consumers”. While the traditional publishers enjoy prestige and the self-publishers enjoy freedom, hybrid publishers seem to face lots of obstacles in terms of long-term success, despite their increasing impact on the industry.

Among the discussions that my last post about hybrid publishing (Partnership Publishing: A ‘Third Way’?) has triggered in my LinkedIn connections, Jeremy Soldevilla, a hybrid publishing practitioner,  argues that they do take up “all the other functions of a traditional publisher”, but unlike traditional publishers, hybrid publishers “are willing to take a chance on new authors whose books might not sell thousands of copies, but deserve to be published”. However, George Williams insightfully points out that we should look more closely at “the assertion that this company under spotlight is “modeled on a traditional press……. I came across the following gem on the company’s website: ‘only two things differentiate us from a traditional small press: the author pays, and we don’t have in-house publicists.’ Saying the only thing that makes this different from a traditional press is that the author pays is like me saying the only thing that makes me different from an MD is the fact that I never went to medical school.” Is hybrid/partnership publishing really a successful innovation, or has this “model” which makes its money not by selling books to readers but by charging fees to authors actually been around for years? And is it necessarily a bad thing for the entire publishing ecosystem?

Image Creidt: The Rabbit Books

Gender Split in Self-Publishing: Female Domination

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Maggie Brown reports in her article The Fifty Shades effect: women dominate self-publishing on the Guardian that “middle-aged and well-educated women […] dominate the growing e-publishing market”. However, the article does not really give any satisfactory explanation to the finding, but rather goes on discussing self-publishing and how it causes change in the publishing industry. My personal postulation comes from Alison Baverstock’s comment that lots of self-publishers have been very collaborative and share information with each other; sociology and linguistics studies have revealed that prototypically, women are considered stronger at building interpersonal relationships and attending emotional connection, while men are considered more keen on establishing hierarchy and seeking power. Although these claims can be quite overgeneralised and may not apply to every aspect of human behaviour, they might still offers a perspective into examining why women, presumably to be stronger at collaborating, outperform men in self-publishing.

My favourite quote in this article comes from Michael Tamblyn’s “how people engage with books has been an undiscovered country”. If publishers cannot get timely feedback about (the change of) readers’ interests through marketing research, most publishing endeavours are likely to end in vain.

Image Credit: Ohio University