Thursday, March 25, 2010
More BBPCon highlights
Carrying on from yesterday...
The next session I listened to covered Publicity Departments. Reps from Tor Forge and Net Galley (an online source for ARCs and galleys) said blogs have come into play as key reviewers for books, and obviously arranging virtual book tours for authors.
As big newspapers minimize operations, among the first things to go are arts and leisure sections, which include book reviews, forcing publishers to look elsewhere. I’ve seen that locally, so no surprise. In fact, when I sent a local newspaper some info on Read an E-Book Week, along with some info about my own books, the newspaper turned it into a negative article against ebooks. Hm, could there be some bitterness there? The newspaper has a web presence, but its print edition has lost many advertising dollars, so it let key reporters go, and cut back features including — you guessed it — book features.
When you submit to a publisher, they will look at your blog and web site, so be sure your content is updated, and laid out well. Present your work as an author serious about your work. 1st Turning Point recently had a great article about important site elements.
Giveaways, author interviews, book blog tours contribute toward sales, but the panelists said they couldn’t quantify the value of any of those activities. Labeling by genre, interestingly, made a difference in whether a reader will buy a book. The same book sold differently when labeled speculative fiction versus scifi/fantasy. So a big hmm there. If you have any pull with your publisher and your title might span a few genres, it’s worth asking if they’ll cross-list the title.
Also, ease of navigation on the publishers’ site is crucial. Cumbersome arrangements and processes put off some readers.
Most other issues discussed followed pretty much as I expected. Nothing earthshaking there, though they stressed Twitter seems to be the most popular tool for getting the word out, and Facebook is where most authors congregate. MySpace, they said, is dead. Don’t go there.
The Business of Blogging covered what goes into making a blog profitable, how to make money. I skipped through this session, because it seemed geared more toward review and professional sites than for authors.
Caridad Pinero's Contracts for Authors session's key points followed common sense: Authors should read and understand the terms of a contract before signing it. In addition to the financial aspects, be sure the contract specifies how long a publisher can delay actually putting out your book before the rights revert back to you, how long the pub retains rights to the title.
BBPCon interviewed Borders buyer Sue Grimshaw, and this was offered as text within the Ning site. Borders launched its True Romance Blog came after romance writers and readers asked for it. Begun in August 2009, its hits range in the “double digit thousands.” So obviously, a great site to have an interview if you can get one!
Grimshaw foresees growth in small town romances, paranormal romances & Historical romances. She indicated a personal note that Westerns are making a small comeback -- good news for authors in that genre!
With so many other authors opening their sites to feature authors, do you need to hire a company to arrange a tour for you? For me, it seems to make more sense not to, especially if you’re only starting out and don’t want to invest too heavily before seeing a return. And are companies organizing author book tours aware that reader blogs play a more important part. I haven't worked with one, so would be interested to know.
As this recap has run long, I'm actually going to continue it next Monday, March 29, as I have a few other posts scheduled in between.