Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Marketing 101" Indie versus Traditional publishing, what's in it for me?

...In response to a recent Amazon (author/book/publisher) online discussion forum...

In sharing news of Indie vs Traditional publishing on a recent Amazon forum, one member quoted a Publisher's Weekly column released earlier this summer (see article), that revealed some interesting numbers. Independently released titles now outweight those of the traditional publishing companies. My question is this: Should we celebrate this news as independent publishers & authors or fear the fallout as we compete in an overly crowded, competitive market???

I have noticed a pattern when collaborating with other indie publishers/authors online over the previous five years. It seems indie authors, in their efforts to get published hold a professional disgruntled attitude towards the "big" traditional powerhouse giants. For every one manuscript that is rejected, there is a new author trying to find a quick means to publish their content and do it with a vengeance. It seems [that] because one organization denies their request--either on quality or simply lack of marketability within that respective publishing house or timing--there is a vendetta to hurry up and release a title, by any means necessary (sometimes without thorough research and study), only to be on the attack towards those who "did not publish my work!"

I thought I would share a different perspective for those who consider their passions--their heart's blood--as more than simple "joyful passing."

Melissa M. Williams

In Response to the Amazon Discussion Post:
I know many of us may be celebrating the news [that] indie publishers now dominate the market on new releases over traditional institutions, but I want you to consider this very important perspective.

With the release of so many indie titles every year and the ease-of-use for potential "authors" to publish a new title, yes, it does make it harder for traditional publishers to compete with new sales BUT it makes it (now) even harder for indie publishers and authors (like myself and YOU) to market your work when the market is now flooded with so many new titles. So, before you celebrate the news and feel confident that we are making a statement against the big publishing conglomerates, be aware that you are now competing with MORE authors on a wide (online) scale and if you consider selling a few books for less than a dollar "making it" in this business, then perhaps you might try another business? Publishing (selling books) is a business after all, and if you consider your time, your passion and your efforts to create the best work you can, not to mention any investment (in time & dollars), then your business may not be as successful as you hope. To take the opposite approach is simply that of a writer who exposes their passion and gifts to the world, and if so, then there is no need to ever compare what you do as an indie publisher/author to the big corporate giants, because you are not comparing apples to apples. One is trying to make money in the book business and the other perspective is simply trying to share some joyful art.

We are going to have to discover new means and new approaches to selling our products or become one of the many (285,000+) potential products for people to purchase when they are looking for something good to read.

Just a thought to consider...

See my latest article, first in a series, that helps you determine your "brand" and marketability as you move to create a successful, profit generating, business: "Just What's In A Brand?"

~Bobby Ozuna
Book Marketing  Consultant
Online Marketing Manager, LongTale Publishing
Co-Founder, READ3Zero
Literacy. Creativity. Learning.


cherie foster colburn said...

Being involved with a small publisher, I am seeing a bit of both sides of this coin. A small publishing house most assuredly does NOT go into it for the money. However, to get their books out, it is necessary to spend money, thus necessary to make it in order to promote their tiny stable of authors/illustrators. All publishers - big and small - are feeling the bite of an unstable economy with fewer expendable dollars for books. My experience has been very positive with a publisher though. We've become dear friends and I know they are vested in my sucess, and therefore in me as a person.

Bobby Ozuna said...

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this particular subject. You are right, in order to sell or market a product a business (contrary of reasoning) has to spend/invest money, somewhere. I think too many indie authors--want to sale books but aren't willing to do the "work" involved in establishing yourself to a consumer.

Thanks again!

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