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Your Reading Experience > Getting books - the changing face of publishing

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message 1: by S.A. (new)

S.A. (suerule) | 7 comments I've just got back from this year's Winchester Writers conference. It's quite clear that the world of books and publishing is changing rapidly. The future belongs to the world of independent publishing; so we need to find ways of helping readers sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to self-published works.

Anyone got any good ideas they'd like to share with us poor beleaguered authors about how we might do it? This one-man-band approach isn't easy. I don't have a thick skin. I get upset by continual moaning about spamming and self-promotion, when there are no other ways left to get in touch with readers. Those of us who have to work for a living simply don't have time to engage in the discussions, much as I'd like to. I just want to be able to tell people about my books, so they can decide if they're interested or not. But posting to a "ghetto thread" just for self-promotion is not communicating anything!

S. A. Rule

message 2: by Sam (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 596 comments I'm signed up to Smashwords (a very similar site to Feedbooks) where authors can self-publish and one thing I've noticed is authors providing free tasters or short stories as e-books or free downloads related to their larger works. I've tried a few of these 'tasters' and I'm now on the hunt for the full books themselves so for me it works.

However on that vein I'm not one for trying free chapters of books, the tasters I've tried are short stories from an author's collection or one written using the characters of a longer book designed to stand alone but still whet the appetite (as it were).

I think there's a way to make e-books/downloads available through GR itself but I'm not sure how that works, but that may also be worth looking into. After all books are our common passion on here :-)

Does that help?

message 3: by S.A. (new)

S.A. (suerule) | 7 comments Thanks for the feedback Sam. My three books are all available on Smashwords, and in fact are included in the July promotion at reduced prices - in the case of Book 1, Cloak of Magic, free (for one month only)

The short story taster is a useful tip - but how does that actually reach a wider audience?

Its not the mechanisms for publishing or distributing books that's the problem. Its bringing the books to the attention of likely readers that's the problem.

message 4: by Sam (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 596 comments S.A. wrote: "Thanks for the feedback Sam. My three books are all available on Smashwords, and in fact are included in the July promotion at reduced prices - in the case of Book 1, Cloak of Magic,..."

I tend to gravitate towards free e-books so I'll try short stories and such like before buying the full version (for me preferably as Dead Tree versions). So my thought was that it may get readers to try genres/authors they haven't before, grab their interest and get them buying. I've discovered a fair few new authors this way and have only been on there for a little over a year.

The only other way I can think of is to make use of the GR giveaway scheme as I've found well over 200 books I want to get as a result of looking at (and entering) the competitions.

message 5: by June (new)

June Ahern (juneahern) | 67 comments My books on smashwords do give free 20% of the book but from what I see above readers want more. Reminds me of Readers' Digest condensed books. I'll definitely look into this for my new novel. Thanks for the it.

I'm w/the big smashwords' sale but opted out of free, but have a small token price as an author has to eat a few crumbs too. Will see where the sale takes them.
plus The Timeless Counselor

But will do the condensed next time. So Mote it Be.
The Skye in June

message 6: by Sam (new)

Sam (ecowitch) | 596 comments I have considered paying for e-books but as I don't own (nor do I really want to) a proper e-reader I'm put off slightly. I don't expect to get full books on free download, but I do enjoy the little short stories or little novellas that authors put up, so I can try their work, from which their full work often gets added to my wish list (assuming its published as actual books as well as e-versions) for purchase when I've got a bit of spare cash, so for me it seems to work anyway.

message 7: by Simon (Highwayman) (last edited Jul 31, 2011 06:29AM) (new)

Simon (Highwayman) (highwayman) | 35 comments I see Cloak of Magic is available on the Kindle. I think if a book is not avaialble on Kindle it is missing the best opportunity. Over at the Kindle forums, price is discussed continually and it seems that the Indies are getting their publicity from the free or sub £1 offerings. My Kindle reading group recently read a 90p offering from an unknown author and it was extremely well received. The author hit number two in historical fiction as a result of being featured and I think has got the attention of a publisher, so keeping the price low did work for him. Of course the book has to be good at the end of the day or a low price just exposes you to a less than adoring audience....

message 8: by Editio (new)

Editio  (editiomedia) | 10 comments Amazon has heard people complain. In America we have a section on amazon called Amazon Indie bookstore. Amazon picks the best Indie books and put's them on their web site, so you know they will be good.

message 9: by Editio (new)

Editio  (editiomedia) | 10 comments Merlin wrote: "Hi Editio,

Thank you for the Heads Up and the even better news is that all three of the Inner Space Murder Mystery Books are there.

How Cool is that ? Must be doing something right."

That is awesome.

message 10: by David (new)

David Makinson (DavidMakinson) | 8 comments Ultimately, word of mouth has to be the best route to generating interest and a following for an independent author. Authors need to try to persuade paying customers to do reviews for them - not mates, proper paying customers.
Personally it worries me that authors feel that they should give their hard work away for nothing just to gain a few readers. If the author doesn't value their work, I can't see how they can expect potential readers to do so either. The joy of the e-book revolution is that the prices are sufficiently low for consumers to take a punt at an unknown author - in many cases they will be pleasantly surprised. Every writer starts as 'unknown' until their readership goes beyond 'friend of a friend'. Thereafter, it gets interesting.
Go on, try something new today!

message 11: by David (new)

David Makinson (DavidMakinson) | 8 comments Hi Merlin
Thanks for your comments. Tricky, isn't it? My point about reviews is a crucial one if we as authors are to persuade discerning consumers that independent authors are worth a go and, more importantly, worth paying to read our work.
Whilst laudible in it's initial conception, the star rating system can cause problems if a book receives a hatful of unqualified five star reviews given by fellow authors who are afraid that their peers 'will do unto them ....' if they dare give a lower rating. This tendancy to over-gild the lily not only potentially misleads consumers as to the likely quality of a book when we are are trying to entice them to buy and recommend our books, but it also runs the real risk of confirming in the consumer's mind what the traditional publishing world has always insinuated about independent authors, if indeed a book turns out to be significantly poorer than the ratings might suggest.
I don't know how to resolve these issues, but I do feel that if progress is to be made that we try to be as honest as we can whilst looking for the positives in each other's work. My way of dealing with it on (my recently launched e-book review site) is to score a book on its different aspects - title, cover image, blurb and content - so that the star rating has some tangibility. For example, five stars for me is 16/20 and over - 16 still being 20% short of perfection.
In terms of PR for the indie author, I think that authors should genuinely work much more closely together and use their collective creative ability to promote one book at a time. Realistically this can only be achieved within the confines of a specific committed and well organised group. I would be interested to garner some views on this to see how this might be workable, but fundamentally it strikes me that the only difference between authors managed by a publishing house and the indies is promotional muscle.

message 12: by Kimberley (new)

Kimberley (Trillianne) | 59 comments This is a worrying post and one I hadn't thought of. Having finished the first draft of my first book and going through editing it this is all new to me, while a friend of mine keeps mithering me to get in touch with publicists I have no idea about any of it and I'll be honest, like many I would love to see my book in print on a shelf in waterstones I have no idea about promoting it. I would also be gutted if it was a flop and no-one but me likes it.

message 13: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey (JeffreyManton) | 2 comments Yes, marketing muscle is what sells a book and the cosy little world of publishing - they don't like anyone to break in.
I think though, that publishers have a job to do - editing etc etc - you do trust in a book from a good publisher in terms of quality..but the content...I get through a book a week and come to the conclusion that publishers have, all too literally, lost the plot. Name writers are marketed. They all review each other. Dreadful books with sloppy plots and poor editing. So, roll on self-pubs provided they are quality and how you asses that I don't know..

message 14: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey (JeffreyManton) | 2 comments Thanks Merlin...Jeffrey M

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