Tag s | ebooks

Change, We’ve Seen You Before

Change always seems to occur faster than you think but often slower than you think.

Most things in society or life are at the same time dramatically different than they were a few years ago, but eerily similar to fifty years ago.

If you are an observer or participant in the book publishing world, you can completely ignore certain trends and not be harmed at all. In fact, when you ignore the changes happening every day, publishing actually slows down, and becomes much simpler to understand.

For a while.

But ignoring change for too long will make you complacent and susceptible to becoming a victim of the changes you’ve ignored, making your work irrelevant very quickly and unexpectedly.

Like not upgrading your computer software until the day nothing works.

On one hand, you don’t want to respond immediately to every wind which blows. It would make you unstable, unfocused and unable to function. But ignoring changes altogether for too long is done at your own peril.

The Amazon Kindle first appeared in late 2007. Within a year, many people predicted paper would start to become unnecessary, so we didn’t need to print books at all five years from then.

On the other hand, many people predicted eBooks were just a passing fad and could be ignored entirely.

The truth? There is an appropriate place for both in the publishing market because the most important person in publishing is the reader, and they decide how they want to consume a book, on screen, paper, or in audio.

Publishers or authors don’t decide these things, readers do. Readers have the real power in the publishing world, not the authors, publishers or might I add agents.

One group might desire change to be fast, the other want no change. Reality always resides somewhere between the two.

In publishing, the reader decides.

Not long ago, I received a proposal from an author who wanted to write a book about their vision of heaven, to pick up on the “current” trend of books in that category. Books like it still sell, but they are the classic backlist titles, not new books. This author wasn’t paying attention to what new books were selling today.

By the way, every author, traditional or self-published, takes time to write a book and is playing a perpetual guessing game of what readers want to read one or more years into the future. Good luck hitting an invisible, moving target.

The secret to deciphering the “change code” and deciding how to respond is found in a very complicated process which takes immense knowledge, education and courage. It is best described in two words:

Pay attention.

Maybe I overstated the prerequisites a bit, which are probably more on the work and discipline side of the pendulum swing. But still, I can’t explain it any better.

There are two kinds of change in publishing. Knowing the difference is key.

  1. True changes – involve progress, movement forward, systemic shifts, technological advances and anything which disrupts and causes permanent havoc to what we are accustomed.
  2. Cyclical events – involve things visible only to those who pay attention, but invisible to those who think everything important occurred since 2007 or those who haven’t paid attention since.

Did you know the discussion of eBooks and their effect on the market is similar to the release of what are called “mass market paperbacks” in the 1930’s? (Mass market paperbacks are the slightly smaller, inexpensive books you might find in an airport or grocery store)

In the late 1930’s, money was not plentiful and World War II created opportunities for inexpensive and smaller size books which could be easily purchased and carried.

Book aficionados hated them as they were “not a real book.” Some publishers hated them because the price was low, and it affected the perceived value of a published book.

Any of this remind you of anything?

Mass market books were the “true change” and eBooks are part of a cyclical event. And all this time you thought eBooks were so cutting-edge.

The internet is true change. It is redefining everything. Until the next thing.


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Print and Prejudice

For the last ten years, since the unveiling of the Kindle reader, there has been a constant conversation about reader’s preferences. Print or Ebook? While ebook sales grew exponentially and paper sales stagnated many declared victory for the ebook. I have a number of friends who have not purchased a …

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News You Can Use – June 4, 2013

Special Days in June to Market You Book – Edie Melson does it again! Did you know this week is “Fishing Week”?

Publishers Should Invest In Authors, Not Just In Books – from Forbes magazine online. What do you think of what she is saying?

The Seven Deadly Myths of Digital Publishing – I found myself nodding in agreement while reading this article by Bill McCoy the executive director of the International Digital Publishing Forum.

Are You Ready to Contact an Agent? Take This Short Quiz and Find Out – A clever way to ask yourself some key questions in your pursuit.

 – This is an ongoing debate within the publishing community. What is the value of a book? $2.99? $5.99? $0.00? $9.99? The implication have enormous economic consequences.
Note how one self-published author uses Pulsing and Pacing in her ebook pricing strategy.

21 Platform Building Insights from Authors and Experts Who Excel at It – Wow.Far too much good advice to absorb in one sitting!

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News You Can Use – Oct. 9, 2012

Waterbrook Launches Christian Fiction Reader Hub – Check out Novel Crossing a very exciting and dynamic new site for all readers of Christian fiction. To quote their mission statement, the site “is dedicated to bringing Christian fiction readers the latest news, book releases, author commentary and reviews from a range of writers including authors, professional reviewers, fiction book editors and fans of Christian fiction.”

What Do Harvard Business Publishing and Harlequin Have in Common? – Nick Morgan answers in this article in “Forbes” magazine.

Meeting a Troll – This chilling story from an active blogger shows the dangers of social media and the ease with which users can be terrorized. In case you don’t know, a “troll” is someone who posts inflammatory comments on your blog or uses direct messaging on Twitter or Facebook for nefarious purposes.

The Last Thing Ray Bradbury Wrote – This brief introduction to a collection of essays is a celebration of reading and of books. Enjoy!

Dean Koontz on “The Triumph of Good” – This bestselling author talks about faith in his writing in an interview with Publisher’s Weekly. (link may expire or need registration)

Tyndale House Publishers declared not a “religious publisher” by the Obama Administration – This Washington Times article details the ruling last week that Tyndale House must comply with the new Health Care mandate regarding birth control saying that the company is not a religious organization.

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Ebook-Originals, the Next Step in Traditional Publishing Strategy

Guest Post by Sue Brower

Our guest today is Sue Brower. She is Executive Editor at Zondervan in charge of fiction and thinks she has the best job in the world…she gets paid to read all day!  Zondervan is currently looking for completed manuscripts to fill the Zondervan First fiction eBook platform.  The ideal stories will primarily have romance-driven plots and vivid, realistic characters.  We are also looking for proposals in the Contemporary, Historical, Suspense, and Romance categories for our print program.  Sue lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband Todd, dogs Pepper and Ollie, and cat, Shep.


Lately, I’ve been thinking about how much the book market has changed in just a few short years.  Some bad, but mostly good because of all the new opportunities for innovation and creativity in publishing. Traditional publishing (print books sold through retail stores) is holding its own, but now there are so many more vehicles for authors to get published: print, epub-only, self-pub, etc.

A diehard fiction fan, I swore I would never give up my printed books and I didn’t believe that there would come a day when I wouldn’t be able to spend hours in a bookstore just browsing.  I love the way books smell; I love the way they feel.  Then the company I work for, Zondervan, gave me an IPad so that I could get comfortable with the format and so I could experience books electronically.  For a while everything I read was on my IPad; current books, as well as manuscripts I was considering for publication.  I thought it was so cool…for at first.  Then, a book was being released by my favorite author and I just had to have it in hardcover.  It wasn’t enough to have it loaded in perpetuity on my IPad, I wanted to be able to hold the story in my hands.  I enjoyed it more, become involved in the fantasy just as the writer intended.

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News You Can Use – May 1, 2012

Amanda Hocking is Happy with her Publisher – An update from the woman whose self-published ebooks garnered a monster traditional deal.

10 Best First Lines in Fiction – Chosen by editors at the Guardian (UK). Do you agree or disagree?

How We Will Read in the Future – An excellent interview with Maria Popova, the curator for the great BrainPickings blog. (The article is about 2,500 words long so take your time to absorb her thoughts.)

The Return of the Novella – “The Atlantic” article things this art form will have a resurgence. I contend it has been around, but not in a sizeable way. Try presenting one to a publisher and then talk about how easy they will eventually sell to the public.

How Do You Know You’ve Made it as a Writer? – Steve Ulfelder attempts to answer the question right after being nominated for an award for his first novel.

Market Your Book Through Google Ads – Ever wondered if this is a good use of your money? And if so, how you would go about it? Vikram Narayan does an excellent job introducing the idea. If it works, let us know!

The Most “Kindled” City in the U.S. – The answer may surprise you. The analysis of the whole article is fascinating.

Four Best Twitter Tools – Agree? Any you want to add?

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News You Can Use – April 3, 2012

The Spirituality of Rejection – Chris Able asks “Can rejection be good for you?”

In Case You’ve Been Asleep – The Harry Potter franchise is now available in ebook form on the Pottermore web site. It will be interesting to hear sales data if they are willing to share.

Twelve Blogging Mistakes to Avoid – Jeff Bullas gives great advice.

15 Twitter Hashtags That Every Writer Should Know About – if you know what that headline means this is a helpful article. If you don’t? Click through to find out.

The Instant Art Critique Generator – Impress your friends! Type in any five digit number and get a phrase to use to make yourself sound intelligent.

And here are the cliches most used to describe art. Do you use them to describe your book?

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