Friday, August 28, 2009

Re-inventing the Book Business- Step by Step

In all corners of the world, people are re-inventing the book business, they're trying to find new ways of making money with books. I've collected a few of the interesting ideas I've come across and thought I'd share.

1. Melinda Blau is co-author of the book Consequential Strangers: The Power of People Who Don't Seem to Matter...But Really Do. In an interesting marketing ploy, she has asked her Facebook friends and other fans to go into bookstores where her book is being sold and take a picture with her book. Then they should send the photo to her and she will post a collage on her website. I'm not sure if this will necessarily sell more books, but it will definitely generate a bit of hype.

2. To add money to publishers' and writers' pockets, most American publishers have set up speaker bureaus. Festivals, universities or other institutions or events which might need a particular author for speaking now have the process streamlined. Authors can earn between $5000 and $20,000 per engagement with the money divided between the publisher and the author.

3. The self publishing business is booming. Many authors, especially those with an established platform around non-fiction books find self publishing highly effective. Their marketing strategy is already in place either through speaking engagements or websites. 80,000 self published titles in one year? Wow! Read this interesting and informative post from self published author Enid Wilson about easy ways to make polished looking covers for your self published book.

4. Though this idea came from someone who was trying to rip authors off, if you do it yourself it is an excellent way to market your book- make postage stamps with the cover of your book as the design. Here's a website where you can buy the stamps.

5. Ebooks are the new wave. The internet is a fantastic way to sell ebooks and we all have access (at least if we are here). Setting up an ebook is also not that difficult. Check it out here. For African authors published in Africa who want their books read overseas, ebooks are proving the only way to compete price-wise. We need to get on the boat- it's sailing already. Here is a new start-up for African writers wanting to sell ebooks in the United States. It's called Little WhiteBakkie.

What interesting book-y ideas have you heard about recently? I'd love to hear about them.


Unknown said...

Lauri, you seem to be on fire! Your updates are so consistent and good! Well done!

Book-y ideas!!! Well, something that helped my books here in Nigeria was the radio stations. I noticed that radio stations were always giving away gifts to callers; gifts like top-up call credits for their mobile phones, tickets to shows etc. I sat with 2 of the most popular stations and told them I would give them some copies of my books to give away on their popular shows. They were delighted. I got free airtime marketing and created an instant buss for my books. The sacrifice to my publisher was like 20 books... not bad for the mileage I got. I was also granted a pre-recorded interview that was aired repeatedly.

Lauri said...

That's a great idea Jude! I am noting it now. Everybody loves freebies.

And thanks for your compliment, it means a lot. I figured out I can schedule posts and that has made all the difference. I sort in my head what sort of things I want to write about and then write when I have time and set-up maybe two or three days in advance. Before I was trying to force myself to write something when I wasn't really in the mood or had other pressing things to attend to. It was basically my techno-idiot side, I suppose everyone else realised they could do this a long time ago.

Helen Ginger said...

Great ideas Lauri. I love the community of writers online. Your ideas can travel across oceans when we all unite and share! Thanks.

Straight From Hel

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Great post. Keep up the good work, I love the idea of scheduling time to write posts. You don't mind a copy cat, do you?

bonita said...

Oh dear, the e-book site leaves me queazy. Although the following is out of context, the site says: "In all cases, you can re-write the content and put your name as the author. PLR content is much easier to source than public domain content." This seems to run dangerously close to plagiarism for my taste.
And what will the e-book look like? Like pdf files printed from my home printer? I would wish for a 'real' book—cover stock, proper binding, and pages of book stock, not 20 wt bond.
If I won the lottery I'd organize a way to ship book files from one continent to another and then print them in the same manner used by original publisher. A real book, beamed up by Scotty.

Lauri said...

Helen- I agree I love the interaction with writers all over the world. It keeps my mind going.

Elizabeth-Please copy.

Bonita- I think you've hit on a fantastic idea. That way we don't lose books (I'm with you on that, though necessity is pushing me to ebooks) but we still get our books cheaply to other markets.