Posted on 2014-Jan-07
Joe Konrath’s Predictions Gives Self-Publishers a Glimpse of New Sales Opportunities
Joe’s Innovative Predictions
Better late than never. Although quoting what happened in 2014 may be a bit tad overwhelming for those of you who have been reading sources making bold claims about the industry news, J. A. Konrath’s is one of a kind. He can significantly add weight to discussing new changes, especially when 118 comments are involved. Keeping up with the tradition, predictions are a central part of his blog where 10 insights are shared among his blog readers. Had he read what other analysts say and copy and pasted the statement, his readers who are fellow authors from all walks of life would not have responded so generously and critically.
To chronicle what the buzz is all about, some of the predictions might not be controversial enough to make your jaw drop; hopefully, several will leave you with the trace of hope that this year will definitely be exciting because he himself decides to contribute to the industry.
Wilder and Bolder Predictions
#1 The end of B&N: Although it has been painfully obvious that resuscitation might not be able to save the bookstore, Joe makes a wilder claim that “bankruptcy” and “selling off assets” may occur. The closure of stores does not sound like a far-flung imagination any longer; what’s even worse could be the end of the road for the brand. Opening a booth at CES without Nook does not seem to help much either.
#2 Libraries to buy eBooks directly from authors: Joe’s future company will cater eBooks to the libraries in a more affordable package soon. As much as authors will stand a higher chance being discovered by more readers (i.e. library patrons), self-publishers will be able to make more money and remain in charge of how they can maximize their sales channels based on new sales opportunities and business models.
#3 Permafree financially viable: Another daring business venture of his to help authors earn via free downloads. More details to follow.
#4 Indie bookstores to accept self-published works or face extinction: In order to expand their shelf space, indie bookstores must be aware of how diverse the works are that self-publishers have put out. Similar to #2, direct negotiations with authors will cut down prices and provide readers with greater access to the bigger catalog.
#5 Fiercer competition for visibility: While it remains true that some readers may be overwhelmed by the number of their TBR titles, authors should pay attention to building a fan base and make themselves available in several channels. Failure to do so will result in declining sales. Some of the sales promotion tools are KDP Select and BookBub; BB eBooks has just launched a new guidebook about BookBub and how it can help you maximize your eBook sales.
#6 Self-publishing to gain new support: Following Amazon Media Room’s press release, it is no wonder that the self-publishers were very successful selling millions of eBooks last year. What they need does not generally concern paid reviews or joining writing organizations. Indies need to stick together and negotiate the best deals for their own benefits rather than having external parties overcharge them to publish their own books for smaller compensation.
#7 Big 5 struggle: While one of their biggest business partners struggle to stay relevant in the business, their own challenge to keep the cost down will be a threat to their survival especially when authors can do the entire process of publishing on their own.
#8 Interactive multimedia: While this needs a lot of clarification once #2 and #3 are accomplished, innovation is the key concept to bring the buzz back to business where technology can make a difference.
#9 Amazon as the leader: Considering their foreign expansion and publishing programs, Amazon is a force to be reckoned with on global stage. However, the retail giant needs to treat authors as their customers rather than “interchangeable suppliers.” The happier their relationship blossoms, the merrier authors can reach a wider group of readers based on Amazon’s core strength of retaining customers and reaching many new ones.
#10 Traditional publishers to fight back: Publishers may have a lot up their sleeves (e.g. auctions of the entire backlists, lawful sanction, etc.).
Influential Authors’ Response
Usually, predictions like these will stay afloat and appeal lesser crowds but his became the starting point of many readers to come forward and speak their mind. Going through 75% of all the 118 comments, influential names like Bob Mayer, Russell Blake, Joanna Penn, and H. M. Ward spring up on the screen sharing what success is translated into whereas aspiring authors poignantly voice their thought of what kind of help they will need to help them stay in the game.
To echo what most of the readers have agreeably nodded to Joe’s ideas, it might be worthwhile to review some of the opinions that differ from his prediction. Russell Blake discusses traditional publishers’ challenge to sign up self-publishers since the latter are doing successfully on their own. Working with libraries seems to gain traction from certain readers like A.C. James, Ron Vitale, and James English who claims to be a library director and provides detailed explanation of how the patrons respond to eBook and what the library looks for from self-publishers. A conference about indies has been revealed as NINC (Novelists Inc.) and it already got the conversation started. Past conferences listed Mark Coker and Mark Lefebvre among Author Support Teams.
Guarantor of Quality, Maybe
The discussion about “imprimatur” generates a heated debate between Ed Wolfe, Paul Draker, Rob Cornell, arguing over why self-publishers will need extra verification from external parties based on #6 prediction when they only have to “trust our readers.” In response to the disagreement with the “imprimatur,” Joe defends that influential awards or recognition can help increase visibility for books yet address the downside how politics can intervene to judge which ones will be awarded or excluded by gatekeepers.
While these predictions may sound exciting to hear and thought-provoking to either agree or disagree, I believe it is the concretization of predictions that makes them even more beneficial for self-publishers. Given the hype around permafree that a lot of authors have set their price to promote the eBook, Joe’s take on this matter can kill a bird with two stones: authors can still promote their books to a ton of new readers unconditionally and at the same time earn enough incentives to continue with their next project with less worry about financial restraints. All in all, 2014 will be the “Super Bowl” moment for eBook sales to explode if more self-publishers can work out how to expand promotional channels (i.e. review journals, conferences, writing organizations, and awards) for all and build a readership. Are you looking forward to implementing 2014 sales strategies with excitement right now?
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