From the most recent issue, May 2016, I learned (among many other things) that:
- According to Amazon.com, “On average, 39% of a single-author publisher or indie publisher’s revenue goes back to the author.”
- According to Digital Book World and AuthorEarnings.com, “Traditional publishing routes yield an average of $6,000 for the author,” while “self-or-indie-published authors earn $24,000 in revenue.”
Plan from the Outset for Multiple Formats
From Deb Vanasse’s article, “Updates from the Digital Frontier,” I learned a new acronym: MVP. No, it’s not “Most Valuable Player” (although it may be an apt alternative), but “Minimum Viable Products.” What does that mean?
According to Eric Ries of The Lean Startup, “A Minimum Viable Product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.”
The article quotes Joe Wikert, whose blogs on digital content strategieson Typepad: “Organizations need to fully embrace agile and lean models, focusing on creating minimum viable products (MVPs), getting them in front of customers quickly, learning as much as possible from those customers, and producing rapid, iterative updates to those MVPs.”
And speaking of multiple formats, Michael Tamblyn, CEO & president of Rakuten Kobo, has a terrific (wonderful, witty) article in this issue on how we read, the understanding of which is an important element of learning how to publish better. Quoth Tamblyn: “Finding time to read in the midst of this distracting world of work, kids, social media, smarphones, and TV is like trying to wash your hair while sharing a bathtub with live octopi. It can be done, but requires persistence, agility, and great effort. (Did I mention we sell a waterproof e-reader?)”
Hang in There
In a motivational vein, Josh Brody, CEO of Pronoun, reminds us that, “Just because a book doesn’t immediately reach its audience, doesn’t mean the audience isn’t there. The publishing industry is [full of] examples of books—like 2012’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette–that sold moderately at launch, then later took off after some repositioning.”
Books (and Book Design) as Branding
Mary Alice Elcock, VP for content at Shelfie: “Publishers need to see their books not only as artifact, but as advertising. One of the ways that we’ve seen drive the most sales for Shelfie is through a bookplate on the copyright page. Who knew that many people were reading copyright pages?”
Finally, Jenny Bullough’s article, HOW TO UPDATE METADATA TO IMPROVE DISCOVERABILITY reminds us, among other things, that metadata, which is all about “discoverability,” should not be set-and-forget. For example, a book’s description, or “cover copy” can (and should) be updated as circumstances change–a new review, another book in the series is published, et al. BISAC codes are constantly changing as new subgenres develop.
In a similar vein, in a section called “Navigating the Digital Revolution,” Lynn Rosen compiled interviews with five leaders in digital publishing. Here are a few salient quotes:
- “Publishers are grossly underestimating the impact of metadata…. Metadata should express everything that the author and publisher want to communicate, be it an author Q & A or a semantic abstraction of the text. Publishers sould be paying far closer attention to metadata’s power.” — Thad McIlroy, Principal, thefutureofpublishing.com
- “Using tredning keywords to refresh a book’s subtitle, descriptive copy, and author bio can increase sales as much as 55 percent, according to a 2012 Nielsen report.” — Charlotte Abbott, Strategic Communications Consultant (linkedin/in/charlotteabbottnyc)
- “Metadata is more crucial than ever to book discovery, sales, and marketing, and needs to play a more central role in publishers’ internal workflows. Too often, publishers treat metadata as basic title information they can ‘set and forget,’ without fully understanding how accurate, upt-to-date metadata ensures that books will be visible at the online retailers, and how much it can drive sales…” — Anne Kubek, Executive VP/General Manager INscribe Digital inscribedigital.com
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