OFFICIAL BLOGHER '10 LIVEBLOG: Writing Lab: The Evolving Publishing Ecosystem

BlogHer Original Post

Introductions by Kamy Wicoff, Florinda, Penny Sansevieri and Carleen Brice.

Publishers now expect a lot more from the author than they used to when publishing a book.

Kamy Wicoff, founder of She Writes (shewrites.com) speaking now:
How does an author run a start up company with every book that is published? A writer needs to come up with a marketing plan. She Writes was supposed to be a place where we could share information on what they need to do and a leg up in a competitive landscape.

Opportunities with self-publishing

Authors are using short stories and bits of their novel to sell on amazon (ebook) or on their website to give readers a taste to tease them to buy.

JA Conrath "A Newbies Guide to Publishing" is an excellent book and resource for Amazon.

Platform
Kamy speaks--platform is really important. Recently spoke with a publisher who liked a book but when she googled the writers name nothing came up so she passed on the book.

To prepare--think about everything you would need to do when your book comes out. Comment on blogs, get out there and network, write about other writers. Get to know other writers to shortcut some of the things you're doing.

You should "start" at least 2 years before your book comes out.

When you look at publishing as a business you need to do your research. Know your competition, know your landscape, you should know this information. If you were opening up a yogurt shop; you'd do your research.

Kami speaks--do you have to build a platform for fiction?
Carleen answers--yes, it's becoming more of a theme. They are having platforms. They like stories based on true stories, etc. Not all fiction books have to be based on true story but they're looking for a way to sell your books.

Kami asks--how do you "afford" writing (on all the levels, time, financial etc)

Carleen--if you want someone to read what you write, it's worth it. What I write matters to me. I want my publisher happy with me when they see how I treat my book. If you publish a book and it fails, it's very hard to get the next one to publish. It's really one book, MAYBE two books and you're out. You can't afford not to take care of that.

You have to invest in your own success. Kind of like sending your kid off to college. There are many ways to do it right and there are many ways to do it wrong. Ask lots of questions and research.

"Do not measure your success in book sales."

Opening up to audience for questions.

Q: Can you tell us clever/creative ways to publicize your book.
A: Do events in non-bookstore markets; pet stores, gyms, and other venues other than bookstores. Most books are sold at those venues than book stores. Either order them yourself or have a local bookstore bring them so that you can get the best royalty rate.

Take video of the event. Share that video event on youtube.

Q: How do you measure success in book sales.
A: It really depends on what your advance (the size). If the advance is low, your measurement is lower than if you get a large advance. You get about 6 weeks and then the publisher is on to something else.

Comments: If you read a book and like it--put it on your blog! It really really does help authors.

Q: There are so many book bloggers--which do you find most established?
A: A lot depends on what you're "in" and what type of book. Try this one: Florindas, http://www.3rsblog.com/ Kami says she'll start a thread on she writes w/everyone's favorite book blogger.

MyFriendAmy.com
Bookbloggerappreciationweek.com

Q: Is self publishing a good idea? Publishing seems like a bleak place to go.
A: That's not the case anymore. Many agents will pick up a book that's been self-published and selling. A publisher's name is not the major "stamp" of approval into it. The people who have done really well in self publishing put a LOT of money into it. It looked exactly like a published book.

Q: What are ramifications of publishing books very cheaply or free? (Kindle, ebooks)
A: JA Conrath makes $3,000/month just on his $2 ebooks that he sells on kindle. It's a great way to start building an audience. There are many tools out there for you.

Kami--we created She Writes as a way of helping each other. There are a lot of people who are ready to take advantage of writers and take all your money.

Comment: Publishers don't do research. They sell to the book stores, not the customers.

Q: When I present to an agent or a publisher, can I use the copy from a blog? Do I need to recreate copy.

A: Gretchen, The Happiness Project, was sold based on blog. It's not so much about the repetition of the copy. It has to show that this can feel like a book which is different than a blog. Even the people who had read the blog all along I had to sell my book as being "really different" than my blog. In a blog you're thinking in 500 words but a book is very different.

Michael Larson's book, How to Write a Book Proposal is a good resource.

Comment from a Publisher
"We are not all evil. We DO make market research. We love our authors and they even like us. We do ask the authors to do market research since they know their readers."

Comment from Panel
When it comes to publishing you have to figure out what works best for you. Traditional publisher or self-publisher.

Q: How do you feel about Amazon and the impact that it has on book sales and how we can support independent book sales.

A: Carleen, we have to say EVERY store that we sell the book by supporting them. Amazon is also a trusted source and people can find your book easily. You need to link with Amazon.

411247 text ame authors and your email address and you'll get a publishers' reference.

Rita@blogher.com is looking for more content for BlogHer (and they pay). Send me 4 or 5 of your best blog posts for the last 12 weeks and I'll get back to you in 2 weeks.

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