A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Is The Book World Fair & Open To All?
there a sense of democracy or fairness to how the book world works?
no one can stop a voice from being heard.
If you want to write a book, it can be published, whether by traditional
publishers, hybrids, or self-publishing sources.
you want to share your message with the masses, you can do so through traditional
media, digital media, advertising, or social media.
one would say that democracy thrives in the book world, but does it?
the vast majority of best-sellers come from five huge corporate book publishers,
does this mean the only way to really get your book distributed and sold is
through three five mega-publishing conglomerates?
one is published by a publisher, whether a big or smaller one, the author will
still need to have a great book and a marketing plan to make it a success. Of course, he or she would have to work even
harder when self-publishing. So what’s
the equalizer to having a big imprint behind your book? Money.
money can’t just buy your way to success.
It gives you a chance though.
can buy ads and pay for some reviews. It can
buy the hiring of a book publicist, who can peddle your message to the
media. It can be invested to make
elements of your brand look great – an awesome web site a quality business
card, book giveaways, other premium giveaways, etc. It can buy your way to a best-seller list.
if your book isn’t good, or its message has
limited appeal or you do a poor job at book signings and media appearances – or
if the book is not priced right, is packaged poorly or the cover is ugly -- you
will likely fail.
reviews in one of the many ways one can raise a book’s profile, but that
process can be tied to money and politics.
A company that advertises in a book review publicationmay
have a better chance of getting its books reviewed. Same goes with the media. If a book is sent to a newspaper from Simon
& Schuster, it has a better chance of getting attention than a small indie
imprint or a self-published author.
in theory, there is free speech and opportunity for all to succeed when it
comes to the book world, but all access is not equal nor are all books treated
fairly. The book world may mirror most
of American industry. Every industry has
its giants or leaders that dictate what consumers get access to and how the
media covers things. But anyone can be
an entrepreneur in a business, the way anyone can self-publish, and anyone can
pay for advertising, use social media, or seek to get product reviews.
there’s something about the book industry that needs to be different from the
rest of the nation’s businesses. It’s a
vital industry one that cuts into all aspects of life. Without books, society is ignorant, dull,
uninspired, and operating in the dark.
We need to ensure the free flow of books, the ability to get published and have one’s access to the media and the citizenry it serves, to remain protected and
whole industry chain must be given a chance to flourish. Writers need fair
compensation. Publishers need more
bookstores and points of distribution.
Bookstores need educated communities to serve. The media must give its attention to books
and spread the ideas coming from our poets and authors.
the book world does have its pseudo monopolies.
Amazon and Barnes & Noble run the book retail world. Five book publishers rule the publishing of
many best-selling, awarded, and critically- acclaimed books. We need a reverse of such consolidation, but
thankfully there are still alternative choices.
are still more than a thousand other publishers besides the Big 5, from small
presses and university presses to larger indies. And though B&N and Amazon sell the vast
majority of books, there are several thousand indie stores and other retail
outlets one can purchase from. More than
70% of all book titles published are self-published, so there is a wide variety
of choice available.
thing that does still exist in the book world is competition and merit. If your book is truly great, a literary agent
or book publisher should recognize that, right?
sometimes agents and publishers make mistakes.
Or politics get in the way. Or
commercialism pops into the picture. Publishers
want books that will sell so they will publish a thriller over poetry, and
amongst the thrillers, they look for authors who will buy books, invest in
publicity and marketing, show testimonials from high-profile people, have big
social media followings, or have connections to distribution points (such as an
author who can sell books to members of an organization that they run).
not every publisher looks for the same thing – and not everyone publishes based
on sales potential. Some publish books
they feel deserve a voice, that offer something meaningful to the world.
can make a lot of sense, especially if:
have no other way of getting published.
believe you can sell books.
message will appeal to the media.
have resources to market your book.
and this doesn’t get said often, but some books simply should not be
published. You know what I am talking
about. They lack editing. They add nothing to their genre. They are boring or lack any creativity. They contain bad advice, fake facts, or views
that are nothing short of hate. Everyone
has the right of free speech, but everyone should also exhibit a little
responsibility, self-control, and ethics when deciding what to publish.
consumers help democratize the book industry.
If you like a book, tell everyone.
Same if you hate it. The consumer
can influence which books win or lose, which one is resonate with them and
which one is not worthy of attention.
every step of the way, books have to pass some kind of test and win someone
over, from literary agents and publishers to news media, bookstores, and the
consumers. Will the best books make it