Writing in the Online World: Changes in Publishing:
• Writers are their own marketers, with brand and platform: Traditional publishers now want authors to come to them with a developed brand and platform–and therefore a guaranteed audience and proven readership base. And they also expect authors to do the vast majority of their own marketing. When writers submit their queries and/or proposals, the publishers want to know how broad a “following” the author already has—either through fame or other strong public recognition or through a well-developed following on social media (eg. tens or hundreds of thousands of social media and/or blog followers; or writers whose self-published titles have sold, at minimum, at least 10,000 copies per title, and who have new titles ready to go, preferably in a new series). Traditional publishers are helpful with distribution, getting titles onto traditional bookstore shelves and online bookstores, with e-book and often audio options also available, but they expect the authors to do the majority of marketing
• Growth of self-publishing and internet marketing: Because it is increasingly difficult to get traditionally published, and because self-publishing, if marketed successfully online, can actually be more successful monetarily, self-publishing now accounts for at least two-thirds of new titles, and almost all self-published best-sellers are now marketed through the internet. It is therefore very difficult for self-published authors to compete and have large sales if they are only doing traditional bookstore and other off-line marketing.
• Bookstore profitability: In addition to decreased book sales in brick-and-mortar bookstores, these traditional outlets have had to find alternative ways to maintain profitability. They now keep individual titles in smaller numbers for less time and are removing books in order to sell more non-book products. If authors do not have a strong marketing plan and presence, their books won’t last long on bookstores shelves.
• Competition with e-books, e-subscriptions, e-textbooks, and more: Amazon and other online booksellers are now selling more novels in e-book form than in paperback. Libraries, too, are turning to e-books and e-subscription services instead of buying more copies of traditional books. Schools are providing students with tablets with e-textbooks and other educational books and materials on them rather than using traditional textbooks and novels. Authors must keep these changes in mind and incorporate them into their marketing plans.