Saturday, December 22, 2012

Writing And Publishing in 2013: How To Survive And Thrive

Writing And Publishing in 2013: How To Survive And Thrive

I've been reading various pundit's predictions for 2013, what the New Year has in store for writers.

Today I was going to write about Mark Coker's predictions for 2013 and take a closer look at what future the large traditional publishers have, especially after they tied themselves to the millstone of Author Solutions.

Somewhere along the way, between draft and finished piece, I lost heart. Avarice isn't new or interesting; on the contrary, it's relentlessly depressing. That a business only cares about he bottom line is hardly news. So let's talk about things we--whether we're traditionally or independently published--can do to help ourselves, and each other, in the coming year.

What follows are my opinions. You may have different opinions and that's great! I'd love to talk to you and find out what they are. The fact is, I've changed my mind about a couple of things this year. That was partly a response to the world changing and partly a result of talking to other writers and being persuaded by the evidence.


1. Where Should We Sell Our Books: Is Amazon KDP Select Worth The Price Of Exclusivity?


Yes, I think so. In certain cases.

If you are a writer just starting out, you have no following. If no one has the slightest inkling who you are then I can't think of a reason not to take advantage of Amazon's KDP Select program.

That said, I believe it would be a mistake to put all your books into Select and leave them indefinitely. There is a lot to be said for not putting all your virtual eggs in one basket. Also, writers don't want to alienate any potential readers. We don't want to require them to jump through hoops to buy our work, and forcing readers to buy from only one store is a pretty big hoop.

If you already have a following, the benefit of Amazon's KDP Select program is going to be markedly less. If you are releasing the first book of a series or if you are branching out into a previously unexplored genre, you might think about releasing the book with Select to pick up a few readers. After the three months are up, though, you'd probably want to pull it out of Select and make your book available on all platforms.

Other articles on the price, and benefits, of exclusivity:
- Does Amazon KDP Select Drive Away True Fans?
- Amazon's KDP Select: The Best Long-Term Strategy?
- Amazon's KDP Select Program Has A Lot To Offer New Writers, But What About Established Ones?
- Kobo Becoming a Player for Self-Published Ebook Authors, Lindsay Buroker


2. How much should ebooks sell for?


I don't think you should price your ebook under $2.99.

You'll probably want to try experimenting to see what the best price point is for you. I think $2.99 is the minimum you should offer your ebook for, but the maximum is up to you. I've seen indie published books for as much as $9.99 selling relatively well.

That's not to say you can't make a book free, or dramatically lower its price, for brief periods of time as part of your marketing strategy.

Also see:
- Writers: How To Use Permanently Free Books To Increase Sales


3. Should I Blog?


The answer for me was: Yes!

Before I started blogging it was difficult to write every day. I knew that in order to get better one must write but it was difficult to find the "butt-in-chair" time I needed. When I made the commitment to post one blog post a day--then two--writing every day became part of my life.

Blogging Helps Newer Writers


I think blogging benefits newer writers more than established ones. Old pros have their community, they have their routine, and they've written well over 1,000,000 words.

1,000,000 Words And Competency


There's a notion that in order to learn to write saleable fiction one must first write 1,000,000 words. That's an approximation, certainly, but 1,000,000 words is ten 100,000 word books. That seems about right. But there's another way of looking at it: One thousand 1,000 word blog posts! If you did two 1,000 word blog posts a week by the end of one year you'd have written about 100,000 words.

Blog posts count toward your 1,000,000 words, so after one year, just by blogging regularly, you'd be 1/10 of the way there!

Your Blog And Serials


I can hear someone say, "But wouldn't it be better to use those 100,000 words and write a book?"

There's no reason blogging and writing fiction can't be combined. I think one of the big things in 2013 will be serials. Every week you could do one non-fiction blog and and one episode of your serial. Start building up an audience for your fiction writing, get more eyes on your blog, and then--when your story is finished--publish all the episodes on your ebook platform of choice.

A number of writers are taking up the challenge of writing serials. Recently I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of one of them, Ben Guilfoy. Ben wrote an excellent article about his experience with the art form as well as how he structures a serial.

Here are a couple more articles on the subject of serials:
- Serial Fiction: Is It Profitable?
- Is Serial Fiction Profitable? Hugh Howey Says: Yes! Even With Absolutely No Promotion


To Be Continued ...


It turns out this post is going to be a bit like a serial! I try and keep my word count under 1,000 so I'm going to break off here and finish my list of 'things writers should do in 2013' tomorrow. (Update: Click here for the rest of the list: Writing And Publishing In 2013, How To Survive And Thrive: Part Two)

In all things, do what seems right to you. If something I wrote resonates with you, great! If not, that's fine. It was nice having you stop by, I hope you'll come again. :)

Other articles you might like:

- Writing Links: Blogs For Writers
- Ready. Set. Write!
- How Many Drafts Does It Take To Write A Novel?

Photo credit: "Another Pillow!" by CarbonNYC under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

6 comments:

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with the blogging point(as evidenced by my own blog). It gets your name out there and allows you to practice the craft in a more informal setting.

    However, I disagree that a newbie should use KDP Select. To me, it's limiting. I intend to market across all digital platforms, and even though I'm a newbie, I think Select could keep me from grabbing folks with other devices.

    Just a difference in philosophies. Hopefully we can all find success in our paths.

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    1. Thanks RD! And a great blog you have too, I see you've put up some of your fiction. Great stuff!

      About KDP Select, if we all did the same thing we wouldn't be able to learn from each other. Different writers do different things and then share their experiences. That's how we learn and grow as a community.

      Best wishes for the New Year, I'm looking forward to hearing more about your writing and publishing journey. :-)

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  2. I really enjoyed this post! I never knew about the 1 million words part... man, that's a lot! Thankfully, I'm working on that part now!

    I'm very interested in serials writing, and I'll be following those links you provided. I think this would be a great way to practice, build up a following, and work on a growing piece all at the same time.

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    1. Thanks Kim! I hope you start a serial. If you do, please let me know, I'd love to read it.

      Love your blog by the way. I've subscribed and look forward to reading your work. :-)

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    2. Thanks! I always felt I should write a "soap opera" as a child because I never wanted to end a story. Now I think serial would be great cause it gives me that drawn out feel, but I still end it.

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    3. I hope you try! Let me know if you do, I'll want to read it. :)

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