Last fall, I attended the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference in Dallas Texas, and had the opportunity to present a seminar titled: ‘Authors and Retail – How does it all work?’ During the past 18 months, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a number of author’s groups at industry events about the ‘business side of publishing,’ which is a subject that most authors do not understand.
Publishing, after all, is a business. Authors whether or not they are getting the opportunity to publish through a traditional publishing contract,
or are choosing to self publish their work, need to understand how the business works, especially when it comes to retail. Authors have the opportunity to dramatically affect their sales by working with retailers and understanding their needs. I will write about this topic in next week’s post.
While at the ACFW conference, I had the privilege of hearing Michael Hyatt address a room full of authors, and his topic was encouraging. I recently ran across my notes from Hyatt’s session where he shared five reasons why TODAY, is the best time to be a writer.
- It is easier than ever to do the writing. More than ever before, there are conferences to attend and books to read, that teach writers how to craft their projects. Word processing and other computer programs have made is easier to get the words on paper, and go back and edit and polish without have to start over.
- It is easier than ever to do market research, and engage with readers. The internet has provided a virtually limitless supply of research tools, and Google has made it possible to find almost any information a writer might be looking for. Social media, through platforms like Facebook and Twitter, have made writing and engaging with other writers and fans, a personalized experience.
- It is easier than ever to get into print. Traditional publishing with its royalty advances, editing schedules, marketing cycles, and traditional distribution channels, is no longer the only option. Self publishing is a viable and thriving industry for writers who choose to go this route. Self publishing is not the best option for everyone, but the same can be said for traditional publishing. Traditional publishing is also far from dead, however, the model must continue to change with the times rather than run from new ways of doing things. Both of these models are providing writers with new opportunities, which translate to more readers in more places.
- It is easier than ever to build a tribe. Authors can talk to their fans and have direct access to them through blogs, websites, and social media. Reading has now become a social activity and people engage around content like never before. Authors are engaging readers around their book platform.
- It is easier than ever to build a business around author content. This is only true, however, if authors take the time to understand the industry, and how to build their business model. The first step in the writing process, before outlines, character development, and research, must be a business plan that helps an author identify a sustainable market (group of buyers), where they can be reached, and what they are looking for.
This is a great lead-in for next week’s topic on the publishing business. Would you add anything to this list?