First, up, Meg Wolitzer’s essay bemoaning the second-shelf status of literary fiction by and about women is a must-read for members of RWA’s Women’s Fiction Chapter. Thanks to Pamela Morsi for the link.
The information spigots opened all the way this past week. To better organize the data, I’ve separated this column into categories. Read everything or pick and choose according to your areas of interest.
Pottermore, the website J. K. Rowling founded to sell Harry Potter e-books, may offer Big Six publishers a way to counter Amazon’s influence, says digital-book consultant Mike Shatzkin. Pottermore convinced Amazon to refer customers to it and accept watermarked rather than DRM-protected e-books for Kindle. “What would happen if Random House or HarperCollins (or one or more of the other four) told Amazon, “we’re taking off the DRM and we’re going to serve all our ebooks ourselves; you’re welcome to continue to sell our books on a referral basis” Shatzkin asks.
Jane Friedman reveals what she finds joyous and despairing about publishing in a Paper.li article entitled “How to Get Published.” The article’s wide-ranging and offers many links, including one to a how-to-get-published article on Friedman’s blog
Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords, an e-book distributor, told Department of Justice investigators (The DOJ has threatened Apple and five of the big Six publishers with a lawsuit alleging collusion to raise the price of ebooks.) that agency pricing doesn’t keep the price of books artificially high. In fact, according to Coker, natural market forces caused a 25 percent drop in price of the average Smashwords e-book title between October 2010 and now. “As I explained to the DoJ, I think it’s fallacy to believe that agency pricing leads to higher prices. That’s like blaming cars for drunk driving accidents. The driver behind the wheel is responsible. If the Big 6 publishers are pricing their books too high (and I think they are), blame the publishers.”
Mediabistro’s Jeff Rivera interviews self-publishing-phenom Amanda Hocking about her decision to sign with a traditional publisher and asks what self-pubbed authors must do to reach readers.
At paidContent.org, Laura Hazard Owen points out publishers’ revenues are flat but their profits rose thanks to e-books. “Flat is the new up,” as used in the article’s headline, accounts for a lot in publishing these days.
“Flat is the new up” may have spurred agent Rachelle Gardner to post a three-part series on making a living as a writer. In part one, she advises writers to plan on multi-book careers. Advances alone won’t replace the paychecks from a full-time job, but, eventually, advances and the royalties from the sales of new and backlist books might pay the bills. In part two, she suggests novelists write “shorts,” ghost-write, write in mutiple genres, craft press releases, marketing copy, and magazine articles—or keep the day job. In part three, she discusses the challenges that may limit writers’ incomes, including non-compete clauses and the amount of time it takes to write and promote each book.
Writer and publisher Bob Mayer offers seven keys for creating unforgettable characters. (My friend, Karen McFarland, hosted Mayer on her blog, which made it a cinch for me to spot this link. Thanks, Karen.)
Chuck Wendig posts a list of twenty-five lies writers tell themselves. Unless you’re the Dalai Lama, you’ll recognize your excuses time and time again.
Writers must learn how to market themselves and their books, so it’s helpful to see how a pro, namely publishing sales rep Vanessa Di Gregorio, goes about her job.
Meanwhile, consulting editor Alan Rinzler buttonholes three book-marketing professionals and asks them, among other things, what authors could do to help market their books.
On Facebook, where should an author draw the line between her private and public selves? Alison Presley, online marketing manager for Chronicle Books, offers advice.
The Women’s National Book Association hosted a panel of book marketers on how to combine book promotion with social media. The upshot? “One of the main takeaways stressed by the panelists was that social media is about conversation, not just dissemination.”
Speaking of conversation, social-media expert Kristen Lamb, who believes writers can connect with readers via blogging, returns with the second of her series on author platforms. In this one, she compares writers to start-up bands that perform for free to build audiences. “Blogging isn’t a chore, it is a demo tape of our artist voice.”
Have you over-used your artist voice? Do you find blogging a chore? Read this post by Michael Hyatt, chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers and a longtime blogger. In it, he counts the ways blogging has enriched his perspective.
Happy reading and writing.