August 7, 2017

August #InkRipples: Author options in Publishing

A quick side note before I get into this month’s topic of author options in publishing. Several lovely bloggers helped my alter ego, LA Dragoni, celebrate the release of Guardian’s Touch with a blog tour and giveaway. Be sure to stop by their blogs TODAY to read my words of wisdom and enter to win one of three great prizes. Today, Monday, is the last day.
Katie Carroll http://bit.ly/2f12JKI
Meradeth Houston  
http://bit.ly/2hgUo6o
Beverly McClure  
http://bit.ly/2vbfZTF
Patricia Lynne  
http://bit.ly/2f1uHpU
Joan Curtis  
http://bit.ly/2uR2Ooj
Erin Rhew  
http://bit.ly/2wlC52M


I’m going to try and take a different approach to this month’s Ink Ripples topic and see if I can address how the expanded options for authors in publishing has impacted the reader. At least from my viewpoint.

Back in the day, not all that long ago, authors really only had one option to achieve successful sales in publishing. The big six (there used to be six, now there are…five?) Anyway, since Amazon paved the way to making self-publishing not only affordable and attainable and others like Smashwords, and Draft to Digital, etc, followed, it also opened the gates to achieve sales success, all sorts of possibilities have opened up, including many small press publishers, and as a result more books are published each month than ever before.

What does this mean to readers?

Selection. Just doing a generic search on Amazon for a few genres I come up with more books than a reader could browse in a lifetime, let alone read. Paranormal Romance: 122,765. Science Fiction & Fantasy: 382,555. Oh, here. I might have stumbled upon a niche market. Young Adult Contemporary only pulls a result of 43,446. Ooo – wait, even better is Time Travel Romance, which only returns 13,130.

I have books published/to be published in each of these categories. Let’s say a reader is interested in my Super Villain Academy books, but can’t remember the name of any of the books – or they heard someone talking about my time travel romance and can’t remember it’s title or the pen name I write under. How are they supposed to find it?! Sure there is a lot of selection, but how do readers narrow it down? Eenie meanie, miney, moe? Throw darts at the screen and see what they hit? Selection can be good and it can be overwhelming.

Price. Competition often drives prices down. Maybe not so good for the authors, who would like to get paid for all the work they poured into that book, but it’s great for the readers. 99¢ is the new black and readers are taking full advantage of it. It isn’t even too disappointing if they end up with a poorly written book or a one that wasn’t edited at that price. And it is a good way to see if you want to invest a whole $3.99 on one of the author’s other books. However, because authors aren't making money, they are more likely to stop publishing altogether, which will impact that author's fan directly.

Services. This is actually a pretty sweet deal for readers. There are now a ton of FREE newsletters readers can join where, when the reader signs up, they tell the newsletter what types of books they are most interested in and they get a daily/weekly email with a list of books in those categories. That helps the reader find new authors or even publishers who they can then stick with. The reader can weed out the newsletters that don’t send suggestions they are interested in and only continue to receive the ones they deem more reliable. Bloggers are also AWESOME. If readers take the time to try a few different bloggers who review books they are interested in, they’ll find one or two they can rely on to feel the same about a book as they do.

Quality. Back in the day it used to be that only quality books were found through publishers and self-published work was generally crap. The waters have been so stirred up now that you will find self-published crap, small press published crap and crap from the big five. But guess what – it also means you can find quality work across the board too.

The interesting thing is most of the time the reader isn’t really aware of how the book got into their hands. They just know that the cover or the blurb or a recommendation from a friend/bookseller/librarian caught their attention. Most readers don’t say, “Ah, but who published it?” before deciding to pick it up.

What do you think? How has the expansion of authors’ options in publishing changed life for the bookworms out there?

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

4 comments:

  1. Kai, I like that you took the POV of the reader. Indeed there are more options out there, but what concerns me as a reader is that there is less quality control. Furthermore, as readers we get so many choices that I often feel overwhelmed. Actually I do look at who published a book because I have less confidence in self-published works. They tend to be poorly edited. So, while there are more choices, I sometimes wish there was better quality control. Otherwise, readers are buying at their own risk. Fortunately, as you pointed out, we are not spending much on our mistakes.

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    1. I absolutely could be wrong that readers don't look at the publishers, I came to that conclusion after watching several poorly written books (both self and traditionally published) soar up the charts. As well as some very successful self-pubbed that were well done. Thanks for stopping in!

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    2. I like how you took a reader approach here. The growing options for publishing have certainly changed the reader landscape (even if readers don't realize this themselves).

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  2. With all the different options today, it is easier to get a story published or publish it yourself. Saying this, to me, means I need to do the best I can to make sure my work is equal to books published by the big 5. This means write, revise, revise, get edited, critiqued and everything I can do to make my book the best it can be.

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