Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Day, New Year, New Goals

A recent online article noted that e-book sales declined last year and suggested this trend would likely continue, based on quarterly sales reports by the big five publishing houses. Whether or not that’s so in the long run, e-books still appear to be a viable industry, one that invites us to reach out to the myriad readers who use electronic devices to read. The author also stated that a large number of downloaded e-books go unread, in part or in whole, but that plot-driven novels are more likely to be read than ones driven by characters; young adult sales reportedly plummeted by almost half last year.

Gabor from Hungary
Will this article deter me? No. Why? First, it’s based on the big five. The other side of that coin is small houses and independent publishers that abound throughout the country; no practical way I know of exists right now to bring them into this equation. Instead of succumbing to doubt, I am venturing into the e-book arena for the first time, beginning this month — in addition to hard copy, of course. It’s upward and onward with the new year plans.

Considering my shortcomings in the world of technology, I rely on others to format my completed manuscript for the various small screens (Kindles, iPads, tablets, phones, etc.). Because quality must prevail no matter the format, I’ve brought an experienced formatter onto my team, one whose presence, I believe, equals that of beta readers, cover/book designers, and editors in importance.

Secondly, I have come out of my short-lived retirement to resume editing on a part-time basis. Interacting with fellow writers always brought joy and satisfaction when the job was completed and they were ecstatic with the finished product. I’ve missed that connection so much since retiring. My years of editing produced friendships I never expected and writers who stay in touch long after their books have gone to market. I really like this wonderful side benefit.

Dodgerton Skillhause
An exciting new goal is releasing my books in audio. This has been lurking in the back of my mind for some time, and its day has finally arrived. Offering readers three choices — hard copies, e-books, and audio books — maximizes potential for sales.

Adding a marketer to my team is also on the agenda. I write out of a love for reading, an interest in people, and headful of stories. Books have carried me to faraway places, given me perspective where I had none, and helped me view numerous situations in a new light. They’ve created joy, insight, and wonder. However, the business side of writing — selling my stories to potential readers — has long been neglected. That’s over. The year of marketing, 2016, has begun.

A final goal involves finishing several books started over the years and relegated to the archives of projects past. They still beckon me to take their characters out of limbo so those souls can get on with their lives. Also, the story that has been rattling around in my head for years should finally find expression on paper (or hard drive). It promises to be a busy year, and I’ve already started.

What are your plans for the new year? Are you delving into unfinished projects? Do you have a hot, new novel sizzling on the burner? Are you researching information for a historical tale, a nonfiction piece, a medical or legal story? Have you ventured into the e-book world or do you plan to do so soon? Will the reported downward trend of the e-book market change your new year strategies? What will make 2016 a memorable writing year for you?

Linda Lane and her editing team mentor and encourage writers at all phases of the writing process. To learn more about what they do, please visit them at www.denvereditor.com.

16 comments :

  1. Kudos, Linda, for taking the bull by the horns. Me ... I'm just trying not to be gored.

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  2. I've put so much off for so long that it's way past time for me to catch up with the times and technology. I would love for people to enjoy my books, so I need to put them out in the main formats to reach more potential readers.

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  3. I doubt they are tracking self-publishing numbers, and well-known authors are opting to do it too. You no longer need a Kindle or Nook to read e-books. You can get an app for any device. Notebooks and tablets have become more popular as well as reading/working on one's smartphone (and some phone screens are getting larger again). So, I believe the e-book is still alive and well as are paper books. I do encourage anyone e-publishing to consider a print copy through Create Space (free upload) for those of us who still prefer paper over plastic.

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  4. I found the idea that plot-driven books are more popular than character-driven books, so disappointing. To me, character drives plot and plot drives character, and that actually makes the plot more engaging. I can't comprehend someone not wanting that.

    As for the popularity of ebooks waxing or waning, I have faith that there will always be a market for books in one form or another. I read both at different times for different reasons, and I hope others do too.

    Thanks for an informative post, Linda.

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    1. I believe plot and characters are equally important. The best plot in the world falls flat if the characters are boring, mundane, or two-dimensional. Great characters are wasted in a dull, poorly written plot.

      I agree that books are going to be around for awhile in one format or another. The world still has a lot of readers. :-)

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  5. The misleading stats in that article is only about declining ebook sales for the big 5 publishers. For small pubs and idie pubbed authors, ebook sales continue to climb. But we all still need to do more and more to promote. It's like a second job.

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    1. Yes, I posted a link below pointing out the same thing.

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  6. Yes, the stats were from the big 5. You are right that we all must do more to promote our books. It's definitely a second job.

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  7. Fortune refutes those decline rumors.Fortune actually refutes the decline rumors. http://fortune.com/2015/09/24/ebook-sales/

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    1. I have no idea why that comment printed in duplicate. ;)

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    2. Thank you for these links that refute the claim that e-book sales are waning. Reality checks are almost always good. :-)

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  8. More commentary. http://www.npr.org/2015/10/19/450030372/why-the-battle-between-e-books-and-print-may-be-over

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    1. I opened up this topic for discussion because we always seem to have the naysayers, the pessimists, the ones who are sure something is about to fail. However, it looks to me like we have more and more options as independent publishers. That has to be a positive start for the new year.

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    2. I am hoping that some of our readers and perhaps even a few of our members will share what their plans are for the new year.

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  9. Great post, Linda. I have just written my blog post for this month, and realized why I'm not producing more books. (Check on January 20.) But I plan to keep writing. Ideally, I'd like to get two books out this year, but my average is one book a year, and I'm not starting off with a bang.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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