E-book Marketing: the lesson for print

Monographer writes: I’m pleased to publish the latest in our occasional series of guest posts, this one kindly contributed by Angelita Williams.

Sites like Amazon make self-publishing e-books relatively easy: independent authors who want to sell an e-book simply have to upload it to a few websites to give readers access to their work. On the other hand, independent authors who self-publish paper books have to deal with printing and distribution, which can be quite costly and time-consuming. This means that there is, in many ways, less risk involved in e-book publishing. Essentially, you don’t have to put much effort into publishing if you’re an e-book author. You do, however, have to put a good deal of effort into is marketing.

Of course, those who self-publish paper books have to market themselves as well. Indeed,  many print publishing houses don’t offer much marketing assistance to authors these days, unless those publishing houses have the capital and desire to do so because they really believe in a book. So, most authors, regardless of how they’re being published, have to promote their work.

What’s different and interesting about e-book marketing is that it’s almost exclusively digital, and marketing is just about the only thing an independent e-book author has to worry about when it comes to selling a book.

Someone who is self-publishing a print book has to first and foremost concern himself or herself with distribution. If a book isn’t on shelves, consumers are less likely to find out about it and buy it. Distribution involves marketing a book to bookstore representatives and setting up product pages on sites like Amazon. Once distribution is taken care of sufficiently, a self-published author might go on a book tour, attend conferences, start a website, and try to connect with online and offline book reviewers.

A self-published e-book author, on the other hand, won’t have to market his or her book to bookstores or go on book tours. In fact, trying to connect with people offline in any way for marketing purposes is simply inefficient for most e-book authors. E-book marketing is almost completely digital. It involves blogging, tweeting, trying out giveaways, and connecting with potential readers on forums and sites like Goodreads.

It’s possible for an independent e-book author to make a living promoting his or her own e-books online. For instance, people like Amanda Hocking, an independent romance author have made millions from their self-published e-books.  Just as a blog post or video can go viral online, so can an e-book. For authors who are self-publishing their works, this is a major advantage.

The internet is obviously a valuable tool for publishers and self-published authors of print books. In fact, the publishers who haven’t embraced the internet over the last several years have been the ones who have faced the most challenges. Similarly, self-published authors of print books can’t expect to exclusively promote their books offline, no matter how many connections at independent bookstores they have.

The internet is rapidly changing publishing, self-publishing, and book promotion. Authors and publishers who don’t adapt will be left behind. While e-book authors, who have no choice but to go digital, will continue to find new ways to flourish.

Because digital marketing is becoming such a vital part of publishing and self-publishing, it’s essential that we begin to teach each other internet marketing techniques. Students at creative writing MFA programs should be taught how to build their online reputations as writers online. Interns at publishing houses should be exposed to digital marketing best practices. Self-published authors should get together on forums and at conferences to discuss what they need to do to achieve financial success in the digital age. Education is the vehicle publishers and authors need to use to stay ahead of the curve.

Unfortunately, this means that print publishing is becoming even more challenging, as proper distribution remains critical and learning about digital marketing becomes crucial. Consumers almost chiefly find out about new books online, and there’s no way around that.

Angelita Williams is a freelance writer and education enthusiast who frequently contributes to onlinecollegecourses.com. She strives to instruct her readers and enrich their lives and welcomes you to contact her at angelita.williams7@gmail.com if you have any questions or comments.

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About Anthony Haynes

Director, Frontinus Ltd Communications Associate, FJWilson Talent Services

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