It is no longer possible for an independent bookseller in the United States to remain in business based on in-store book sales alone. Okay, maybe a handful are doing it in high traffic areas with low rents, but not many at all. The old way is no longer the new way, and unless the bookseller understands that, the bookstore goes out of business.
But readers do want their paper books. And readers love browsing bookshelves. Sometimes readers “window,” meaning they look at books on the shelves, then order them online. Readers recognize that they will discover books that are new to them in person more often than they’ll discover them while shopping online. So book people venture into any place with books.
Once I separated out the Big Five from all of the other traditional publishers in the U.S., I came to a happy realization. There are a lot of good publishers doing the kind of work we readers want publishers to do—curating books with a voice and an attitude, so that we know what to expect from the company, marketing those books to the best of their ability, and making the books available in all formats.
In 2014, I wrote a year end wrap-up, looking at all aspects of publishing. I had done that for me more than for any other reason. You see, in 2014, I wrote six books of the Anniversary Day saga and the project ate my brain. I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. I had stopped doing the blog toward the end of the saga because […]
If you want to sustain your writing and publishing businesses, you have to stop thinking like a manufacturer.
Burnout. I’ve been hearing that word a lot in the writer community. It took a while for the word to penetrate. I’ve had my own things to deal with this year, and I really haven’t been looking outward as much as I usually do. But a friend who traveled to a number of conventions this year mentioned that avoiding burnout was a topic at every […]
I’m almost terrified to write this post. Shortly after I wrote the last one, my year imploded—and it had been a tough year anyway. Until today, I had actually forgotten that I had written the third process blog. All of the things I developed lasted about two weeks, before I tumbled off the edge of the universe into real life for a while. I […]
I blame Marvel. As I finished my Kris Nelscott/Smokey Dalton novel, Stone Cribs, I realized that the victim in the book, Valentina Wilson, was one amazing woman. And she needed a story arc all her own. I knew how she was going to end up, and who she would be years after the events in Stone Cribs, but I needed to write the story […]
I remember how overwhelming it was for me to make the transition to mostly indie. I’m not entirely indie. My short fiction is still hybrid, as is all of my work in translation. But I can’t see any situation where I would ever go back to a traditional publisher for my novels. The contracts are awful, the lack of support profound, and the benefits nearly nonexistent.
The traditionally published writers who are being cut loose or who are being offered terrible deals are just beginning to realize this. And they’re at a complete loss as to what to do.
I feel for them. I really do.
Most writers—most businesses, in fact—believe that they must actively grow their audience. And that belief is a mistake.
In your writing business, as in all business, there is no one-size-fits-all model. That goes to everything from building a business to building a brand. Even if you’re in the same field as someone else, your business is different. What you do with that business is based entirely on your goals for that business.
Um, what? you might ask.
Yep, expanding an audience fits into your business goals, not just into branding. Change happens all the time in business, but growth happens only when a business actively pursues that growth….