Monday, September 24, 2012

Myth: One publishing format is better than the other

Let's pause the Marketing Myths for a moment and consider the Publishing industry evolution. Rachelle Gardner explores a few myths to rethink on her 8/29/12 blog post.

At this time there are three primary choices for publishing a book:
  1. Traditional - agent, editor, layout, format & cover, marketing & sales department, distribution & promotions. An advance and semiannual or quarterly royalty payments are all included in the contract between the author and publisher. (The "traditional" or "legacy" publishing classification is currently evolving. Recent marketing for this publishing venue is "full service.") There are so many layers to this process an agent is highly recommended.
  2. Indie & small press - editor, format & cover, promotion & distribution. There is seldom an advance to the author and monthly or quarterly royalties are included in the contract. Legal review of the contract is recommended.
  3. Self publication - no contract except for services directly purchased, including the sales percentage agreement for electronic storage and distribution.This is a more viable option than printing books to sell out of the trunk of your car.
These choices are all changing drastically and The Myth is - ONE will rise above the others as the format READERS will choose for quality stories - at a price point READERS will pay - that pays the author well enough to continue writing more quality stories that will sell well.

Hogwash. A recent panel of agents and editors recommended that novelists explore all publishing formats. An author should plan to maintain a long term career that will include many books. All the above publishing formats will continue to be choices and the career author will be best served by considering ALL these options in tandem with the other.
Here's a great example: Delle Jacobs published historical romances through #2 during the 1990's, then #3 during the 2000's, and now is in the #1 stage with many of the same books which were already published in both other formats. 
The traditional (full service) publishing format includes the expectation that an author's career will have a "breakout" novel, one that will get extra marketing and promotions from the publisher. The author's back list will also be positioned for a surge in sales with this "breakout" novel. This strategically chosen novel used to be about five to ten years into the authors career, when there were a few previous titles already in print. Now authors are being encouraged to explore all publishing avenues because whenever that breakout novel happens (in whatever format it was originally published) ALL of the authors books will get a jump in sales from new readers.

It's the READERS that make a book a viral best-seller. The only way for a novel to "breakout" is for it to be found and loved by READERS who are willing to try ANY format in their search for a great story.

Any marketing questions can be posed in the comments on any post. If you have a question, others will too, so we can address our answers to all. Our posts are myths and tips we want to share but we love to target our answers to questions.

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