ENTRIES TAGGED "Byliner"
The last four steps for platform and authoring success
For the last couple of days (see part one here and part two here) I’ve been sharing what I consider the new paradigm for DIY book marketing–a kind of cart-before-the-horse strategy where you market yourself first, and then publish later.
Yesterday we looked at the planning behind this kind of marketing strategy. Today we’ll look at execution.
Laying the foundation for vision, branding, and social channels
In yesterday’s article I gave you a tantalizing introduction to what I consider the new paradigm for DIY book marketing–a kind of cart-before-the-horse strategy where you market yourself first, and then publish later.
Here’s what I think it could look like for any writer approaching the publishing process for the first time. (Warning, this a 1-2 year strategy…)
Collect an audience then make a product for them
Given what we’re working on at Bookigee these days, and the awesomeness we’re putting together for the February 12th TOC Author (R)evolution Day, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the future of book marketing. What’s working? Where’s it going? WTF?
One of the things I’ve been tracking for awhile now is something I’m calling the “marketing inversion.”
Ease of delivery plus time constraints add up to new opportunities
2012 may be remembered as the year that digital publishing brought serial fiction back to the reading public. Readers in the 19th and early 20th centuries often read fictional stories in installments in newspapers and magazines: books were simply too expensive for many people. But as affordable paperbacks flooded the market in the mid-1900s, serials lost popularity. Now, however, the ease of delivering installments to digital devices, combined with the limited time people have to devote to reading, is leading to a resurgence of interest in serial fiction.
The serial publishing social opportunity is huge, but not if it's done exclusively
The Kindle Serials program was one of the more interesting aspects of Amazon’s big press event a couple of weeks ago. We’ve done a few serial publishing experiments at O’Reilly (e.g., Every Book Is a Startup and Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto) and we’ve confirmed that this approach can help authors and publishers connect with readers more than they might through a traditional book.
I also think a serial publishing model could be just what it takes to bring more of a social element to reading. Since the book comes out in segments customers will be reading it at the same time. Depending on how much time passes between installments there will be plenty of opportunities for readers to talk about the story so far and speculate on what will happen next. Amazon is well positioned to capture that conversation as they note at the end of the Serials description:
…and discuss episodes with other readers in the Kindle forums.
This works best during the writing/installment phase since synchronous reading across the entire audience pretty much ends once the whole work is available. It’s like weekly TV shows. There’s a nice rhythm where the audience shares laughs from a comedy or speculates what will happen next in a drama. Serial publishing can bring that same phenomenon to ebooks.
What I don’t like about this model though is the content exclusivity aspect of it. As Laura Hazard Owen notes in The serious business of Kindle Serials, some authors are rejecting Amazon’s exclusivity requirement. Good for them. The last thing we need is to see is even higher walls around the Kindle platform.
The Kindle Remorse article I wrote earlier talked about how consumers probably don’t even realize they’re gradually locking themselves into a platform. That’s because Kindle Serials is just the next brick in Amazon’s walled garden.
The social engagement needs to extend much further than any one retailer’s platform. That’s why a service like ReadSocial has always been so appealing to me; it’s open and offered through an API that any content provider can leverage.
Amazon feels it’s in their best interest to create a closed model that also features exclusive content. That’s why I was disappointed (but not surprised) when they forced Findings to shut down their Kindle Highlights sharing feature. I’m hoping that more authors will take the same stance that Byliner did and say no to Amazon’s exclusivity requirements for Kindle Serials. We need more open digital content platforms and fewer closed, closely-guarded ones.