Tag s | readers

It’s All About The Reader

No matter the issue, everyone is on the lookout for the one new thing that will make everything that preceded it obsolete and make their lives simpler and better.

The miracle pill, the new technique, the new technology, the killer-app, the new diet, plug in whatever new, shiny thing you like and life will be better because of it.

The reason we look for the one thing is the feeling that if only all the myriad of options could be eliminated and we didn’t need to make so many decisions or have so many choices, life would be better.

We yearn for a simpler day.

For example, there is still a limited market for audiocassettes and vinyl records and not just for nostalgia freaks. Some people prefer them to the newer formats.

People still take aspirin and gargle with Listerine.

You can still buy horse-drawn carriages with fringe on top.

Some simply prefer manual transmissions.

Bookstores and public libraries are still functioning.

In book publishing, we just need Facebook to promote and Amazon to sell.  Simple, perfect, easy-to-manage. No problems.

Unfortunately, complete simplicity will never happen in this life, including book publishing.

If anything, the future will be more complicated, with more options and even more decisions to make every day. Whether you are a traditional or self-published author, as every day passes, life gets more complicated with more options and more things to consider.

New things rarely completely and permanently replace the old things. Every new thing simply adds more options.

MySpace still exists. So does AOL. They didn’t completely go away when Facebook and Gmail rose to prominence. They were diminished, but they didn’t disappear.

The duo of Facebook and Amazon are great if you want to keep things simple, but not everyone uses Facebook or buys from Amazon. Limited sales means limited stress, but I don’t know too many authors who think that purposely limiting the sales of their book is desirable.

What does the future look like for book publishing? A mix of everything new and everything that preceded it.

In book publishing, a mistake made by just about everyone is believing the most important party in the process is the publisher, or the author, a website, an ecommerce solution, a mobile app, an author platform, a marketing strategy, the writing quality, etc.

But the focus is misplaced.

The most important element in book publishing is the reader.

Everything else is simply the tool or the path to reach the reader. And readers want things on their own terms, in the format they like, at the price they want, when they want it, on the subject they want and obtained where they want.

If Rick Warren wrote a book titled, The Purpose-Driven Author or The Purpose-Driven Publisher, the first words would still be, “It’s not about you.”

(I am leaving out an application for The Purpose-Driven Agent because this is my blog post and I feel pretty good about myself today and didn’t want to ruin it.)

Publishers and authors alike begin a long, dangerous slide to ineffectiveness when they believe it is really all about them.

The most important skill every author, agent and publisher can develop is to understand readers who are not exactly like them.  Living outside of your own limited point of view is essential for everyone. Seeing the world through the eyes of a reader is different than doing what is convenient and comfortable for you.

So, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news if you are hoping to work towards a life filled with simplicity and control.

Publishing has never been simple or controllable and never will.


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How to Be A Reader’s Favorite Author

Last week in this space, I wrote about how you could become a publisher’s favorite author (other than selling millions of books).  Today, we’ll go a little different direction and talk about what you would need to do to become a favorite author to your readers. A key difference between …

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E-Readers, Tablets and Bears, Oh My

The latest data from the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project released this Fall and confirmed in solid data what we all know to be true…that e-Book readers and tablets are becoming more prevalent in American society.

In a scientific survey conducted five times since May, 2010, the Pew Research Center concluded as of September 2013 that 24% of Americans age 16 and older have a dedicated e-Book reader (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc.) and 35% have a tablet computer (like an iPad, etc.).  Furthermore, 43% of those 16+ have one or the other, so a number of people have both.

Compared to the last survey taken in November 2012, this one reveals a 26% increase in ownership of e-Book readers and a 40% increase in ownership of tablets in the last ten months.

So who owns these things anyway?

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Getting Our Books Into the Hands of Readers

Guest blog by Debby Mayne

Our guest today is Debby Mayne, an accomplished novelist with over 30 books and novellas published since 2000! She has also publshed over 400 short stories and a slew of devotions for women. She has also worked as managing editor of a national health magazine, product information writer for HSN, a creative writing instructor for Long Ridge Writers Group, and a copy editor and proofreader for several book publishers. For many years she has judged the Writers Digest Annual Competition, Short-Short Contest, and Self-Published Book Competition.

You can visit her web site at www.debbymayne.com.


Before I sold my first novel, I dreamed that once I wrote a book good enough to publish, an editor would call me immediately, tell me how brilliant my book was, offer to buy it, and maybe request a few revisions that’d I’d joyfully do (after I deposited my humongous advance that would cover hiring a publicist and purchasing a big house on the water). Then the publisher would print the book, and the marketing team would make sure it was available for people to purchase. I envisioned full window displays of my book at my favorite stores with people lining up to buy them…and of course I was sitting at a table signing my books as quickly as possible to keep the crowd moving.

I know, but remember this was a dream.

Eventually, an editor did call and say she loved my story, but I needed to address a few issues—and we talked for almost an hour before she sent pages of revisions.

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Harris Poll Surprises Authors

Today the Harris Poll released the results of a survey of America’s Reading Habits. Every writer should read the article and think about the big picture.

The Harris Poll Article

I normally eschew poll results. The sampling is always so small to proclaim far reaching pronouncements about whatever topic is at hand. In this case there were only 2,775 participants.

Regardless, I found it fascinating that the Mystery/Thriller genre was named the number one choice for reading. The general rule of thumb is that Romance is the #1 genre. We could argue that one all day long.

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