7 PUBLISHING TRENDS THAT COULD IMPACT YOUR CAREER No need to take notes. To download this presentation go to: eddiejones.org/category/bootcamp/ DISCLAMER Any hypos associated with this presentation are soulely the respectability of Eddie Jones and in know way refract the quantity of work offended by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas or Christian Devotions Ministries and it’s bored staff. 1 - EBOOK GROWTH SLOWS The stunning increases in ebook sales from 2012 to 2014 led many to wonder if print books were about to become obsolete. Some predicted ebooks would soon represent 50% to 70% of all book sales? Then late in the first quarter of 2014, the growth rates slowed. After years of double and triple-digit increases, ebooks remain at around 30% of revenues for the publishers who report their sales through the Association of American Publishers. Rise of the Machine With dedicated e-readers, consumers could only do one thing – read. But with tablets and phones, the distractions of email, social media updates, and video on demand, pull casual readers away from ebooks. An estimated 80 percent of 18 to 24 year olds own a smartphone. The growth in smartphone and tablet use offers more eReading opportunities but also more distractions. Apple Owns the Tablet / Smartphone Market In tablets, Apple continues to dominate the U.S. market with about 80 million users. Consider: • A third of tablet owners use them for reading. • Tablet owners are the source of 42% of ebook purchases. • An estimated 21 million people read books on their phones but account for only 7% of ebook purchases. So Where Do eBooks Go in 2015 The biggest threat to new authors and new titles is the glut of high-quality low-cost ebooks. The quality ebooks – especially self-published ebooks - has dramatically increased competition. A decade ago, publishers constrained book supply by publishing a limited number of new titles each year. Not anymore. With the introduction of ebooks, every author can be found on Amazon. This rapid growth in the supply of ebooks has eclipsed demand. This means most new ebooks will sell substantially fewer copies than previous new releases. Where Does eBook Pricing Go in 2015 Down. During the first years of the ebook revolution, large publishers refused to discount their ebooks. Most tried to sell in the $14.95 to $19.95 range. Meanwhile, small publishers and self-published authors were happy to earn royalty rates of 70% and budgetconscious consumers loved the low prices. FREE and 99 cent ebooks allowed unknown authors to gain new readers and establish careers. No more. In the last year, large publishers have stepped up their pricecutting and begun offering temporary promotions on titles from big-name authors. In 2015 these temporary promotions will give way to permanent lower prices on backlist titles from big names and more aggressive discounting on recently released titles. Will Free work in 2015 As the market becomes flooded with free ebooks FREE will lose influence. With the glut of FREE, high-quality books, good isn’t good enough anymore. To reach readers, an author must deliver an emotionally satisfying read. This holds true for both fiction and non-fiction. If readers aren’t giving your book four or five star reviews and using words in their reviews like, “wow,” “incredible” and “amazing,” your book probably won’t stick and sell long term. Books that wow readers turn consumers into evangelists. 2 – PRINT IS BACK While ebook sales plateaued in 2014, print books staged a comeback. According to Nielsen BookScan, print sales rose 2.4% in 2014, with total units topping 635 million. The 2014 figures provide evidence that print books are selling better than they have since sales of e-books took off in 2010 and Borders closed its doors in 2011. • Trade Paperback increased 4.3% • Hardcover increased 3% • Mass Market Paperback declined -10.3 • Audio remained flat at 0.2 • The mystery and romance categories had the largest market shares at 32% and 36% The Revival of Bookstores After several solid years, independents are beginning to add locations and taking back some of the physical bookshelf space they lost during the Great Recession and the ebook explosion. Some are focusing on underserved towns where Borders once flourished. Other stores are creating reading environments by partnering with local restaurants and coffee shop in order to increase foot traffic. Used bookstores fill a void by offering popular titles and discounted prices. For the author, local bookstores remain a bright spot and many will find their local bookstore eager to host an author event. Print and ebook Live On Declines in print revenues will slow over the next five years and, in the long term, the market will plateau, with printed books still seen as desirable to own. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) As the economy continues to improve, consumers have demonstrated a willingness to spend money on print books. That said, the struggles at Barnes and Noble might continue to drive consumers towards online sales and independent bookstores. 3 - PUBLISHERS EMBRACE DIRECTTO-CONSUMER SALES Publishers have considered direct-toconsumer sales for years but the Amazon / Hachette dispute of 2014, combined with continuing concerns regarding Barnes and Noble and independent bookstores, has prompted many publishers to take a fresh look at these new sales channels. MR. PUBLISHER, MEET MRS. READER Last year HarperCollins relaunched its website to sell its books, e-books and audiobooks directly to the consumer. Meanwhile Hachette partnered with Gumroad to see if the Twitter platform could sell books direct via social media. For publishers the benefits are obvious: greater control of profit margins, a database of customer profiles, customer contact information, and the ability to data mine (learn insights into consumer buying habits). What Does This Mean for the Author? Direct-to-consumer sales will allow publishers to focus more on mobile marketing where the emphasis is on the author and less on the publisher behind the author. For years trade and academic publishers have used online communities to market and sell to consumers. Expect this trend towards social engagement to continue. A recent study commissioned by Bowker Market Research (BMR) reveals that: 84% of publishers plan to expand their online community involvement 64% of publishers with online communities felt their investment paid for itself 73% of publishers interviewed felt that online communities helped or would help them to engage better with their audiences 72% of trade publishers said their online communities helped or would help to increase direct relationships with customers 45% claimed they provided or would provide good marketing support to sales channels How Can Authors Take Advantage Of This Sales Shift? By signing with a house that understands the importance of a strong online community, and remaining socially engaged – even if you’re a social media klutz. 4 - RISE OF THE HYBRID AUTHOR Not long ago, literary agents sold books to publishers, publishers sold books to booksellers, and booksellers sold books to the reading public. But as the book publishing industry continues to consolidate and contract, mid-list authors find it increasingly difficult to land contracts with their previous publisher. Enter the new hybrid author. While the definition of hybrid author remains fluid, the term generally means a traditionally published author who occasionally self-publishes when the project is served best by taking full ownership. When To Go Hybrid First, make sure you have a platform to sell your books. Successful hybrid authors know their readers, have access to their reader’s contact information via newsletters, emails, fan mail, and usually have an extensive social media reach. If, as an author, you are doing the bulk of the marketing and moving the majority of the books, hybrid may be a good option for you. Here are three publishing options for hybrid authors. What Is A Traditional Publisher • Large advance (any figure over $1000) • Heavily invested in bookstore distribution • Submits your work to prestigious review outlets • Physical location with salaried employees • Prints books offset press and stores them in distribution centers • Pay royalties on a quarter or semi-annual basis Advantages of a Traditional Publisher Traditional publishing remains the gold standard. Often you receive an advance, validation or your work (the house is paying you to write), and the prestige of reviews, bookstore distribution, and hope that your book will become a best seller. While the number of slots continues to dwindle, remaining loyal to a house (and waiting longer for a contract) may pay dividends later. Small Press • • • • • • • • • • None or a very small advance ($50 to $200) Very little bookstore and library exposure Few salaried employees Virtual staff Ability to adjust or adapt a title after its release Agile marketing Treat imprints as consumer brands Use print–on-demand Heavily promotes ebooks Higher royalty percentages than with traditional houses Advantages of a Small Press Small press publishing gives debut and mid-list authors the chance to write and sell more books provided their titles sell a reasonable number of copies. With a lower overhead, a small press doesn’t need to sell as many copies to recoup its investment. Many mid-list authors find that a small press is the best option since the author does not pay for the book’s production yet still retains some input in the book’s title, cover, and marketing. Self Publishing Company You pay for the production of your book, marketing services, and / or may be required to purchase a certain number of books. According to Bowker, the number of self-published titles in 2013 “increased to more than 458,564, up 17 percent over 2012 and 437 percent over 2008.” Bowker’s data is based on ISBNs issued. It’s widely acknowledged that self-published authors frequently avoid buying an ISBN, so the number of titles is certainly larger. Advantages of a Self Publishing Self-publishing give authors the most control over their books. Authors can often buy books for much lower than what a small press might offer. This is important if you are a speaker and expect to move most of your books at the back of the room. Many self-pub firms offer extensive marketing for a fee. With self-pub, you risk your money but have more control and receive a greater share of the profits. 5 - EBOOK SUBSCRIPTIONS MAY REACH A TIPPING (OR BREAKING) POINT In 2014 Amazon launched its subscription service, Kindle Unlimited, joining ebook subscription services like Oyster, Scribd, 24Symbols, Mofibo and others. With so much of our lives tied to subscriptions — newspapers, magazines, gym memberships, streaming media the opportunity to deliver ebooks on a weekly or monthly basis may seem like a logical step. From the content standpoint, publishers have been slow to partner with subscription services for fear of cannibalizing their title list. Will this trend benefit authors? First, let’s explore how ebook subscriptions work. How Do Ebook Subscriptions Work? With an e-book subscription, you get unlimited access to a library of books for a monthly fee. You can read as many books as you want, for as long as you want. Unlike a traditional library, there are no due dates. But like a library, you do not own the books you read. If you cancel your subscription, you lose access to any titles you saved. Now let’s look at three of the most popular ebook subscription services. KINDLE UNLIMITED Unlimited costs $9.99 per month, and offers around 600,000 books. KDP Select authors and publishers supply many of these books. You will also find many popular and best-selling books, including the "Hunger Games" and "Harry Potter" series. There are also plenty of classics, such as "Animal Farm," "Moby Dick" and Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." In order to read a book, you download it to your Kindle device. One of the biggest drawbacks to Unlimited is that you will have to search the Amazon's website for all books and select those designated as Unlimited titles. This can become tedious. Unlimited works great if you already have an Amazon device and don’t mind wading through thousands of titles to find the book you want. OYSTER Oyster's main selling point is its legacy of being an early entry into ebook subscriptions. Oyster has a library of around 500,000 titles, few of which are from self-published, Amazon Kindle authors. Since it’s a dedicated ebook subscription service, searching for and finding a particular author or title is faster than Unlimited. Oyster is a great option for your iPad, Android tablet or smartphone. SCRIBD Scribd is similar to Oyster, with a catalog of more than 500,000 books that you can borrow for just $9 per month, one dollar cheaper than Kindle Unlimited and Oyster. The app is simply designed, with books organized into genres and categories. Scribd recently added around 15,000 new e-books from publisher Harlequin, which is best known for its romance novels. With Scribd you also have access to thousands of documents, from court cases to scientific studies. Scribd is a great choice if you want to read books on your computer, as well as an Android or iOS device. How Does This Help the Author? By signing with a house that participates in ebook subscription service, your name and books may be seen by thousands of new readers. While an author may not see substantial royalty checks from ebook subscription “loans,” the exposure could lead to increased print sales. Look for Oyster and Scribd to merge in 2015 or 2016 as they battle Kindle Unlimited for dominance. 6 - CHRISTIAN FICTION STRUGGLES TO REMAIN RELEVANT Of all the categories in publishing, print book sales of Christian Fiction declined 25% from 2012-2014. This follows recent announcements that: • Abingdon Press suspended fiction acquisitions, (removing 25-35 titles per year from the market) • River North (Moody Publishing’s fiction imprint) will reduce its title offerings to 3-5 books per year • B&H Publishing Group has “realigned” its fiction strategy to only publish novels tied to its films • And Harlequin’s “Heartsong Presents” closed its doors in January Combine that with news that Family Christian Bookstores, the nation's largest Christian retail outlet, has filed for bankruptcy, and you have a perfect storm of catastrophic proportions for Christian Fiction authors. What Is Christian Fiction [Christian Fiction] is a genre of books [that] typically promotes values, teaches a lesson, always has a happy ending (good prevails over evil in all books), [and] adheres to a decency code (certain boundaries such as sexuality, strong language, and topics of such cannot be crossed). Deborah Bryan of the Kansas Library Association Bryan also notes that a Christian Fiction author must comply with certain restraints such as: • Accept the truthful authority of the Bible • Address dilemmas through faith in Jesus • Believe that Jesus died and rose for sins of all people • Avoid writing about certain ‘taboo’ topics. Christian Fiction’s Narrow Market As Ron Benrey notes in his book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Christian Fiction, “Readers of Christian fiction in America are Caucasian women, of childbearing through "empty nester" age, who identify themselves as evangelical Christians.” Given that this demographic represents such a narrow slice of the reading public and the recent decline in sales, Christian authors may ask: Are we witnessing the end of the inspirational genre? Before we answer, let’s consider the obstacles Christian authors face (and at least one advantage). Can Christian Authors Relate? First, too many Christian authors cannot relate to (or in some cases even tolerate) secular readers. From an agent’s perspective, many faith-based writers simply don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to writing for nonChristian readers. They aren’t part of the non-faith world, they don’t hang out with non-Christian people, and they don’t watch non-religious TV shows. In essence, they CAN’T speak to that group, because they don’t know the language. Literary agent Chip MacGregor www.chipmacgregor.com/blog/current-affairs/is-crossing-over-from-cba-to-the-general-market-possible/ To reach readers in “Samaria”, Christian authors need to spend more time at the well in the heat of the day. Write Stories – Not Sermons Second, too many Christian authors would rather preach than teach. Judging from Amazon reviews, large numbers of readers - even Christian readers - are turned off by such words as, “prayer, pray, Jesus, Christ, conversion, salvation, and sin.” Stories that emphasize a conversion experience may come across as manipulative and “preachy.” On the other hand, those same readers express similar discomfort with stories that overtly include and promote violence, promiscuity, and profanity. Regardless of the message and author’s agenda, it seems most readers want a story, not a sermon. Christian Authors Have an Advantage Third, Christian authors have an advantage over secular writers. We already have plenty of examples of great stories that move readers to action and leave them pondering God’s truths and challenge us to change. The Prodigal Son – a story of a parent’s unconditional, longsuffering love. Themes: trust, hope, and the importance of home and family. The Good Samaritan – a story of inclusiveness. Themes: tolerance, institutional pride, religious hypocrisy, service, and generous giving. The Hidden Treasure – a story of one individual’s journey to find his purpose. Themes: Passion, perseverance, risk and commitment to a noble cause. I’m sure you can think of other ways to spin Jesus’ parables. The point is, a great writer can shape the story to move the reader without relying on “Christian” words. Will Christian Fiction Go Away? Probably not. But if you want to write to a larger market and expand your chances of publication, consider focusing on story above all else. Do that and you may find God’s Spirit working in the hearts of readers eager for your stories. 7 -MANY AUTHORS WILL QUIT IN 2015 Writing a book is hard work. Writing a great book is really, really hard work and requires a team of editors. Turing a manuscript into a best selling book demands a detailed marketing plan and word-of-mouth buzz. Most authors don’t want to work that hard, become discouraged by weak or slumping sales and give up. This is good news for those authors who recognize that writing isn’t a game of chance but a game of change – that as an author you must adapt or die. If you write for the joy of writing, focus less on the sales numbers, and understand that “instant” successes is rare, you may find God speaking readers through their words for years to come.