A Changing Industry?

Dear Bill…

You sure do need to get your head out of that box. Plenty of experts are struggling to do the very same thing as technology develops and readers pick their favorite mode of book delivery. In fact, Publishers Weekly ran an interesting array of answers to your question in its article “What’s Ahead in 2011” a couple of weeks ago. Traditional publishing, self-publishing, eBooks… there are plenty of valid ways to produce and deliver a book, and the big players are duking that out as we speak. The individual writer’s issue isn’t so much the production and delivery. Heck, the more formats, the better. Your challenge is letting your audience know that your book exists regardless of format—and that means getting your whole body out of that box. During this industry shake-up, you should be focusing your non-writing energies on exploring ways to market and promote yourself and your books. That is where you have power. For your 2011 New Year’s resolution, commit to turning yourself into a forward-thinking self-marketing expert who can tell the world about your books regardless of what business model sits atop the smoldering heap when the battle is over.

Happy writing!

The Editor


  1. “Getting your whole body out of that box” How apt. It’s a somewhat scary new world of writing and publishing, but exciting. I think I can put on my publicity hat as well as my writing hat. I only hope there is enough energy to do what is necessary.

  2. Dear Editor:
    As someone who is in the midst of marketing non-stop on all fronts a just-published YA/Middle Grade novel, I can only say that Dear Editor has just given us a right-on answer. It doesn’t matter what the shake out will be in terms of the business model. What does matter is that we be constantly self-marketing and forward-thinking: whether you are self-publishing or just won the Newbery or the Caldecott. Speaking, talking to librarians and teachers, sending out postcards, doing email blasts, formatting for EPUB and/or MOBI, doing podcasts on podiobooks.com, sending out review copies in print or ebook format, selling your ebook on smashwords.com, we have to do it all. The only thing that matters is that you do whatever it takes to make people aware that you and your book exist and are deserving of a reader’s time and eyeballs. This is one of the best pieces of advice out there.

    • Good grief, Steve. I think you just became my new BFF.

      Your Marketing To-Do list may seem intimidating to those who haven’t immersed themselves in that side of things yet, and yes self-marketing requires some serious time, but once you get into it, these things start seeming surprisingly doable. Would you agree? Of course each writer will determine which and how many of these items they are willing to take on as part of their own strategy. But the first step is educating themselves about them—and that’s often the hardest. This is a great list with which to begin that education. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. I’ve been busy thinking outside the box in that I always dreamed my first book, a middle grade “high-tech” novel, should have been an e-book with built in video games so that the reader could do what the character was doing. Technology didn’t really exist to do it until the iPad. My book as an e-book with built in apps, my dream come true…just don’t know programming so have to find someone who does. Could be cool if it ever worked. Outside the box.

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