The Changes in Publishing — What’s Happening Out There?

As writers we all want to hear about the changes in publishing, and the good news is, that right now is the most amazing time to be a writer. That’s right–clappity, clappity.

There’s a revolution underway and opportunities are opening up for all of us. Along with traditional publishers, there are e-readers, e-books, indies, and POD publishing. The game is expanding, but most of all the digital age is upon us.

And this is where we as writers come in. We must evolve with the times. Sure our books are our babies, and the characters and stories feel like a part of us, but once we move on publishing our first novel, (and in any of the ways possible) we soon discover that writing is a business.

As authors we have to be social media savvy, and promote our own work, no matter which avenue of publishing we take. We have to be active in having a presence which aids in building our sales.

  • So if you don’t have a website–get one. You’ll find some great free website providers, one’s whose home page doubles as a blog roll. This all-in-one package is a tidy option.
  • Which brings me to having a blog. As a writer you should try it. You’ll be surprised what you can yak about, and it’s a great way of connecting with your followers.
  • Facebook author page–a must, and months in advance of publishing. Have fun with it, leaving comments which can create conversation with those who’ve liked your page. Think personal–connect with people on the same level that you’d want to be connected with.
  • Twitter account–heck yes. Absolutely. Essential–I’m not kidding you. Say you hate using twitter, but hey, you’ll get over it. LOL. I’ve met the best people on twitter, and formed friendships with like-minded people. I was petrified the first month I sent tweets out. I was so worried about saying the wrong thing, but before you know it, you’ll be speaking your mind, and having conversations with people and building your network platform. Whatever you do, do not underestimate the power of twitter. What I’ve discovered is it sets the stage for writers–that’s if you use it to its full potential.
  • Goodreads–hey, now this is a valuable tool to reach readers and writers. Join groups within the genre you write, and search out your favorite publishers’ pages, ensuring you interact with their authors. Get a feel for the bigger picture, because arming yourself with information is essential.
  • Building a rapport with Book Bloggers–of course. Support them on their blog in the weeks before you release your book, leaving constructive and valued comments. They’ll notice your repeated visits, and that’s setting your stage. You truly don’t want to ask a book blogger for a review, without being somewhere on their radar first. They’re busy people.
  • Pinterest–okay this one I’ll say if you want to, because even I’m fumbling my way around it.

And obviously I could go on and on–but these sites are the most obvious for you to begin with.

And for those aspiring writers reading this post who are only just beginning, I imagine you might now be scrunching up your face. There’s so much to do, but just tackle one job at a time. Just don’t pass over these terrific opportunities. Publishing is changing, and as writers, we need to get our books in front of readers, and the social media sites I’ve listed above provide that opportunity on a global scale.

You have to remember that with the explosion of technology, this has become the Golden Age for publishing. It’s vital you brand your name, and then get your first book published by whatever means you can. Don’t ever look back, because as writers, each piece of subsequent work we write, gets better and better. Just dive in–your skin will thicken over time. 🙂

I hope you’re feeling uplifted, and not too overwhelmed. Leave a comment or ask a question if you wish–I’m happy to elaborate. And if you’ve enjoyed this week’s post, then tune in next week for some more bite-sized tidbits. Simply check out the right-hand side panel, and enter your email address to “follow the blog.”  If you want, also click “like” on my FB author page to the right.  I’d love you to join me. (See–that’s me being savvy.) 🙂

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19 thoughts on “The Changes in Publishing — What’s Happening Out There?

  1. I do have a question I’d like to ask:

    What is the difference between PoD and Indie publishing? I have always thought they were the same thing called by two different names. Is that incorrect?

    Next, I loved this entry. It’s really useful and as usual you explain it simply and brilliantly 🙂

    I do wonder how a person is supposed to follow a lot of writer blogs and also, I wonder if I had a specific blog about writing, what I would write about as most blogs seem to cover similar topics, namely writing tips and I’d hate to just be a big repeat.

    Twitter and Facebook: for me personally (and this is just me) I feel one or the other is enough b/c, like blogs, how many can another person follow? Follow me on FB AND Twitter? I feel that’s asking a lot. I prefer FB b/c I can do status updates which are like tweets but also use the notes feature like a blog. If someone wants to “tweet” back, it’s as simple as replying to the status update.

    I…also feel that tweets have reduced people’s ability to converse and have already read articles that the young have a hard time with deep conversation due to social networking. If I have something to say in less than 140 characters it can’t be all that important OR, it can go on FB where at least I’m not restricted to the 140 character limit.

    As I said, it’s only my personal opinion so Tweeters take it in stride. To each his own.

    Again Joanne, always a pleasure. You are really good at creating conversation with your topics 🙂

    1. Hi Cadence,

      I’ll clear up your excellent POD publishing question first, because Print On Demand publishing is where new copies of a book are not printed until an order has been received, therefore traditional publishers can print one book at a time. It’s an economical model and means no wastage or returns for the traditional publisher. Sometimes POD publishing is referenced to vanity presses, but that’s really a missuse of its term. Indie publishing though are those individual writers who choose to self-publish.

      Regarding blogs, I personally follow around ten blogs. I sign up to receive their blog via email, so it’s nice and tidy, and when they publish, their new article comes straight to my inbox. They range from writers, to editors, to fledglings finding their wings in the publishing world.They all blog about something different, and I enjoy hearing advice, right through to other writers’ struggles and personal conquests when they make them. I feel like I’m cheering them on. I could almost imagine your blog though (maybe a fortnightly or monthly update.) And I could see it being about your videoing and writing experiences, and the tips you find work the best for you. Although at the end of the day, you only share what you’re prepared to so the control is always yours. If it helps, the website I use (wordpress.com) is free and the home page can double as your blog when you decide you want to branch out with it. I have to say though, that you should only ever do what you feel comfortable with–that’s really important.

      I also understand what you’re saying about asking people to “follow me on twitter, facebook, etc etc.” How many social media sites are too many? That’s the big question–and I’m not sure, because I think the answer will vary for all of us. I can only say that for me facebook has that wonderful personal feel, as you’ve elaborated it does for you. But also, for me, without utlising twitter to it’s full potential, I would have missed out on meeting 3/4 of the 700+ people who took twitter one step further and joined me as friends “likes” on facebook. Some of those new friends are supporting me in amazing ways–and I’d hate to think I’d never met them.

      Out of interest, I first started on twitter in December last year. I had no idea what it could possibly do for me. In fact, I only joined twitter because I’d entered a writing contest and it was the only way to get the updates as soon as they were issued. I found it annoying that I had to join a social media site, and I certainly felt I was being pushed into it. But oh boy, in hindsight, I am so glad I joined. That’s my experience, and I only hope it helped. 🙂

      I love hearing your comments. They’re always thought-provoking, and encouraging.

      Best,
      Joanne

  2. Thank you for this post! This really is an exciting time- especially for niche writers!

    I am struggling with knowing when to start with these social networking things. I am only halfway through with my book and as a stay-at-home mom I don’t know how long it will take to finish. Time is precious. LOL Should I wait to set up accounts until I’m actually done?

    1. Hi Jamie

      I’m so glad you’ve asked this question, and I can give you some fairly accurate breakdowns.

      Twitter takes around 2 months to start and find enjoyment in it, because you have to increase your follower base. I’d say four months, and your network platforms are building nicely.

      In regards to facebook, this takes no time to set up. (It took me just half an hour back in February this year, and I was done.) You can have your family and friends “like” your page, and then begin to use twitter to invite others to check it out, and trust me, they do. I get weekly reports on my FB author page, and it shows 3000 hits every week–it’s a staggering number, and still surprises me because it keeps growing as each week passes. You should begin this six months before your book’s release so those following you will get to know you.

      Also for website providers. If it’s of any help, I use wordpress.com and the reason I chose them is because your home page doubles as your blog, so if you decide to begin blogging, it’s so nice and simple. WordPress is also free–and I love free things. For your website I would also say six months before release.

      So definitely begin the process where it fits in around your kiddies. Time is so precious as you’ve said.

      Love your comment.

      Joanne

    2. That is some great information. Thank you so much. I actually made a facebook page for my book a while back when I was having friends and family review my first few chapters. I don’t ever know what to post about, though! I feel like I’d be spamming people. LOL http://www.facebook.com/goodanddead?ref=hl

      Thanks again! I’ll be following this advice for sure!

      Roll for initiative,
      J. Wahl

  3. A nicely written blog – well, you know I’m already doing some of this but the Pinterest thing is something I’ve seen about 2x today. Going to at least look at it. What do you think of LinkedIn? I’ve found a number of people there (I’ve been there for a few years myself – joined bc of a friend having an account and inviting me, and just got back to it recently). I do hear you about “how many social media sites is too much”… lol there needs to be SOME “non-marketing” time in a day!

    Still working on moving my website from a heavily-ad-cluttered one to a godaddy.com one.

    JA Howe

    1. LinkedIn is more for controling your online identity, so if you change jobs and locations, your address book won’t go out of date, and you can keep in touch with colleagues and others. So because you’ve got one, then you’d probably want to keep it up to date.

      Just as a note, in the writing world, publishers control their contact with their authors by creating in-house pages utilising “Google Sites” (or something like this) and addresses which link into a group scene. They are closed off to anyone other than their own staff and authors. This gives a private feel where authors can speak to each other and network. There’s a lovely family feel to it.

      Oh, and good luck with moving your website. That’s your true calling card where people will find you–so you’re definitely on the right track there.

      Love the comment–thanks.

    2. Good to know – you reminded me of a publishing company I was doing work with awhile back; I honestly didn’t have a clue that other houses did the in-house network thing. Thanks for the info!

  4. Hi Joanne, thank you for your reply! I meant to get back to this sooner but real life got in the way. If I can, I’d like you to elaborate on Indie publishing (b/c I’m slow like that) :p When you indie publish/self publish, aren’t you utilizing the services of PoD and/or vanity presses? If you’re doing it yourself you then need to find a service like that to publish for you right? Or is that wrong?

    I know about blogging and in fact I was doing that before the term existed via Yahoo Groups I was in for different interests. If I decided to blog I guess I’d find something to write about. Vidding is nice but readers likely wouldn’t care to hear about that.

    Twitter was a huge nuisance for me. I didn’t like all the tweets coming in but what *really* griped me was all the porno/pick/up requests I got. I reported them but they’d already been reported and were gone, but my email was still clogged up by them and the nasty profile pix that accompanied them. I closed my account and have been at peace ever since. That has really soured me on Twitter.

    As usual, I’m looking forward to your next blog. I absolutely love your blog 🙂

    1. Hi Cadence

      Of course I can elaborate–no problem. So for starters vanity presses are being left in the dust. They ask you for money up front and print off the number of hardcover books you require (Usually a minimum of a couple hundred.) You have to then sell your hardcover books yourself.

      Indies, or indie authors (as they call themselves,) have taken on the world of publishing through e-books, thereby bypassing vanity presses. Yes, they don’t use vanity presses, or waste any of their money to print hardcover books they haven’t yet sold. And this is how they do it–

      What happened late last year, was amazon.com opened up their “KDP select program.” This KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) select program gives indie authors the option of publishling straight to an e-book. They create their own cover art, or have it designed professionally, then they follow the KDP guidelines and wah-lah, within weeks can have an author page up and running on amazon’s site and be selling their books. (For more information on the “KDP select program” just check it out on amazon’s search option.) There are of course other sites like “smashwords, etc” who offer the same e-book publication offer to indies–it’s not only amazon who makes this kind of technology available. Then of course, they are paid by amazon/smashwords, etc for their sales–it’s so nice and tidy for them.

      And the term Print on Demand, should technically be used only by traditional publishers. They take hardcover orders from their publishing sites, and if the order is for only one book, then only one copy of that one book gets printed. This means no returns for the traditional publisher. (PS–it’s a shame self-pubb/vanity presses use this term, beause they don’t actually print on demand. They print to order, and not singular copies–there’s no money in that for them.)

      So as you can see, the world of Indie publishing is changing before our eyes. (Although there are some teething problems. And I will mention that some Indie authors don’t always have the money to employ an editor to go over their books before they publish them. Some indies are selling poorly written books with terrible typos, and that’s not helping those indies who are doing it right.) Also I should note, that they have to promote their own books themselves to bring in sales. They have to do all their own leg work. Sending their books to reviewers etc. They do everything from beginning to end.

      Oh boy, you sure had a terrible experience with twitter. That’s awful–it’s no wonder you don’t want to open up a new twitter account. I wouldn’t either if that happened to me. I so understand where you’re coming from.

      Great hearing from you. Take care.

  5. Wow Joanne THANK YOU for that explanation! Yes, I recall visiting a vanity once and you had to buy a ton of copies. But I have a perfect understanding now. I’ve seen a couple people who have their books on Kindle and I was wondering how they were doing it. And eh…one I’m thinking of, oh my, it’s sooo badly written! I personally love the idea of making my own cover and doing all the advertising etc but I’m a Leo and we’re a fiercely independent bunch. The only way I can see to assure a reader that your indie book is free of the issues you mentioned is to offer a sample, or maybe even a few chapters. I love the idea of posting the first few chapters of a book (especially if it’s a series) on the person’s writing website. The reader (hopefully) gets hooked and moseys on over to Amazon to buy the whole story 🙂

    I’m going to copy your answer to me into a document and keep it for later reference. Gosh this was such a great response and I want you to know how much I appreciate you taking the time to write that all out ((((Hugzzzz)))))

    1. Hi Cadence

      I’m so glad I could help *smiling*, and your idea about posting the first few chapters of your book on the person’s writing website is exactly right. Oh boy, I can see big things for you. You have the enthusiasm and the drive–and that’s going to get you places.

      Catch ya later, and thanks for the hugzzzz.

  6. Good information, thanks. I am almost in the preparation and marketing stages (after a professional editor will be finished) with my second novel. I wonder how Twitter can be useful. Where do I find people that I want to follow and how should I tweet the upcoming book? Any ideas? I have signed up but have no clue what to do next. I could also send tweets about my first novel that was released in April this year.
    My tag is Joeke3Van
    Any reply would be appreciated.
    Johanna

    1. Hi Johanna

      I’ve just been over to twitter and followed you. My tag is @JoanneWadsworth — try to follow everyone who follows you, because in twitter-land that’s polite. There is a protocol over there, but you’ll soon get used to it. I’ve sent you some tweets with handler names of writer friends. Follow them, and they’ll follow back if you ask. Some of them are self-published, and some are working their way there over the next few weeks/months. Definitely click on Serena and Susan’s names and mine, and go nosying to see how we promote our websites through our daily tweets. Twitter is an open arena of information, so you can see what people tweet with no problem–you’re not breaking any laws.

      Also head to http://www.justunfollow.com and take a look at that site. It includes a free service of following twitter users, and is incredibly helpful to building your twitter follower base.

      Definitely send me a tweet with the link to your first novel, and I’ll take a look. PS: As you build your network platform and connect with other like-minded writers, you’ll find twitter will be a huge help in reaching others.

      Thanks for leaving a comment. Catch you over on twitter.

      Best,
      Joanne

  7. Hi, Joanne! We’re actually following each other on Twitter. 😀 I also follow Thomas Rydder’s blog and he posted this link to your page today. I’m always looking for good marketing tips. I completely agree with everything you said. I’ve published one novel and about to release my second in October, and I’m JUST now getting the hang of social marketing. Very true that it is overwhelming at times, especially when you aren’t a full-time writer (which is probably 80% of indies out there).

    I definitely appreciate your sage advice. 😉 Most things I’m already doing, though I don’t keep up with Twitter as much as I should. Better get on that! Thanks again!

    1. Hi Stephanie. Nice to meet you over here too, and thanks for leaving a comment. Congrats on your first novel being published, and October is just around the corner. You must be so excited your second novel is almost here. My novel Protector comes out in November, so everything is starting to come together. Can’t wait.

      Have a great day.
      Joanne

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