By Jane Friedman:
Most new authors, upon securing a book contract or planning a book launch, are advised they need to establish a Twitter account, a Facebook page, or [list social media channel here]. Why? To market their book, of course.
This presents an immediate dilemma: If the author is not already active on these channels, of her own interest and volition, she now has the mindset of using these tools to “market”—and the new author may have no idea what that means beyond telling people to like their page or follow them.
No one I know enjoys being a marketer on social media, not any more than people want to be marketed to. It poisons the experience, for everyone.
You might respond: Yeah, tell us something we don’t know, right?
Yet authors continue to use social media—and their online networks—as blunt instruments, posting things that beg people to pay attention and become a buyer or follower. Unfortunately, asking for such attention on a social media network is likely to ensure you won’t be getting any, except for those who already adore you or feel obligated to support you.
Here’s the much better alternative to begging: […]
samantha-shakespeare asked: Helloo, how are you? I'm writing a project about the development of literature from manuscripts to printing press to books to e-readers, and I was wondering, as an author, what you thought of physical books verses e-readers and digital books? Do you think it's changed publication issues for authors? Do you believe the quality of released works has changed or not? Your opinions would be really helpful. Thanks.
At this point, with print on demand, physical books aren’t more expensive for authors or publishers to produce than ebooks (excepting the price for more costly cover art for print versions). However, paperback books are more expensive for consumers to buy. Also, ebooks offer consumers convenience that paperbacks can’t match. I read ebooks in my kids bedroom at night when I put them to sleep. My friends read ebooks when they commute on the bus or train. If the ebook you’re reading disappoints it is easy to download another from the cloud in minutes. It’s important to note that you don’t even really need to purchase a dedicated device for ebooks; Amazon and Barnes & Noble have free readers for cell phones and tablets.
Has this changed publication issues for authors? Yes, with the start-up costs for publishing being as low as $0, many more authors are skipping the traditional route and jumping in head first—whether they are ready or not.
Which brings me to the quality issue of your question. I think that ebooks have increased the variety and quality of books at both ends of the spectrum. On the one hand, there are a lot of books with authors who break the most basic of writing conventions—switching multiple POV within one paragraph is not uncommon! On the other hand, you get niche authors who could never make it in the traditional publishing world. When it came to publish I Bring the Fire I didn’t even try to go traditional. It isn’t the traditional paranormal romance, it has some heavy sci-fi elements, and along with magic it also has dinosaurs (they’ll be important in the final installment of the series, promise!)
Because ebooks cost so little, consumers are willing to take a shot on unknowns like me. So far my reviews have been good, and I’m building a loyal fanbase (the hardest part of self-publishing is getting name recognition). I think within a few years time I might actually be able to make writing my main source of income.
Don’t publish an anthology of books 1-3 before your fourth book comes out. I’d done it thinking I’d advertise it, thinking under normal circumstances no one would want to purchase a book from an unknown author for $7.50.
I was wrong—not by a lot, but 2 or 3 sales a day on Amazon add up to a lot. It was kind of great that people had so much faith in me, but it drove down sales of books 2-3 and bumped them to the second page of my genre. I “unpublished” it yesterday, and Monsters and Chaos are climbing the ratings again.