Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Interview With Bestselling Author And Digital Book Club Pioneer MJ Rose

1.      As a best-selling author what do you feel is the secret to your success? Spending as much time as I can in my imagination and not giving up.

2.      Why did you give up a career in advertising to write fiction? I didn’t. I left the NYC ad agency I worked for but I opened AuthorBuzz which is an ad agency /marketing company for authors – and publishers too. I wanted to write the fiction I wanted to write not what anyone thought would sell and I didn’t want to ever compromise what I wanted to write to make a living. So I continued and continue still to do both.

3.      Why do so many authors write great books but drop the ball when it comes to book marketing? For the same reason so many authors write great books but drop the ball when it comes to being their own dentist. Marketing is a skill like anything else and there is no reason any author should know how to do it or be expected to do it.

4.      How does your marketing company work? AuthorBuzz.com is a marketing service that puts authors directly in touch with readers, reading groups, booksellers and librarians. Since 2005 we have provided the foremost opportunity for authors to make personal connections and offer extra perks to the people who buy, sell, read and recommend their books.  As an author, AuthorBuzz.com is an author or publisher’s marketing partner. We get book buzz out by partnering with successful online publications including Shelf-Awareness.com, DearReader.com, BookMovement.com, PublishersMarketplace.com and KindleNationDaily.com.  We work with fiction, non-fiction and, through our KidsBuzz.com service, young-adult as well as middle-grade and picture books. We also offer Blog Ads Plus campaigns using a combination of blogs as well as Facebook, Goodreads, and other online services depending on your budget and needs.

5.      You have been profiled in Time magazine, Forbes, The New York Times, Business 2.0, Working Woman, Newsweek and New York Magazine. What are a few tips you can give to authors looking to step up their book publicity efforts? Make news. It’s called the news for a reason. And the biggest mistake authors make is hiring PR firms when they don’t have any news. The PR firms can try hard but if there’s no there, there won’t be any press there either.

6.      Any advice for a struggling writer? Focus on your craft and take your time.  Love the process don’t focus on the goal.

7.      Where do you see the book publishing industry heading? Into the future. Seriously - we are in the middle of a revolution - the hardest time to predict anything. What I can say for sure is no matter what I believe readers and writers will still be alive and well and feeding each other.

Will You Subscribe To BookFlix?

For decades, Book of the Month Club hooked in millions of members with crazy offers of eight books for a penny.  Once those books were delivered, members received a new book each month at a discounted rate.  It was a little bit like a magazine subscription. Or Netflix.

It looks like publishing is strongly considered the Netflix model for magazines and perhaps eventually books.

The growth of tablets, thanks mainly to the iPad, has led to more people reading magazines and newspapers online.  For $10 a month, purchasers of the Next Issue App, will have access to 27 magazines.  That’s about 38 cents per magazine.  The magazines are big ones from a consortium of five large publishers—Time, News Corporation, Conde Nast, Hearst, and Meredith.

What’s interesting is not that the price is so low—which it is---but that multiple publishers are banning together to sell their magazines.  In essence, they are bundling their brands and creating cooperation rather than competition.  Where’s the Justice Dept. on this one?

No doubt this move to sell online subscriptions will have its pros and cons.  Will this steal from newsstand sales?  Possibly, but it’s more of a shift from paper subscriptions to digital ink.  Is the fee cheapening the value of the content?  Absolutely! Will all of this content compete with book reading time?  How could it not?  Will it allow publishers to survive?  Sure, especially where this allows them to sell advertising and market other products and services to their subscription lists. 

Publishers of books show some signs of embracing the monthly subscription service approach.  Amazon already offers an annual package that includes a certain number of new e-books being made available to its subscribers.  Now Sourcebooks, a 25-year-old midsize publisher that releases a dozen national best-sellers last year, is offering an online readers club, where members can access a number of its digital books for a monthly fee.  Sourcebooks will also allow subscribers online access to its authors, so a live chat can take place.  Check out www.discoveranewlove.com for details.

The interesting part is not just that publishers will sell books this way, but that they will do it directly to the consumer bypassing Amazon or other booksellers.  It also further threatens brick and mortar stores. 

It is likely we’ll see more BookFlix-type sites and it’ll be one of the many ways that books will be sold—as well as movies, magazines, and music.  But can consumers continue to absorb all of this content, sent in bulk or made available for free?

Time will tell as to what the marketplace can handle. 

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s leading book publicity firm. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person

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