Publishing's Changing Landscape & Future


In this, part two of our in-depth interview, Mark discusses where publishing is today, how to weather the storms and rise above.  He also looks forward to where publishing is going, what to look for in the future and how to make the the most of the incredible opportunities that are on the horizon.

InD: Once a month, I do a little video snippet called "TJ's Tidbits," where I’ve talked about how the competitive models do not work as well in publishing, as they do in corporate America. Publishing is much more successful when everyone helps each other.
And, it became very apparent that the bias against romance authors and readers was so incredibly misplaced. I have just been blown away by the intelligence of the romance authors I’ve met and worked with. These women are lawyers, accountants, doctors, educators, engineers and scientists. They are not dumb. They are the most creative authors. They understand their readers. They know how to serve their readers. It is just a unique community of writers.
I think, to a great extent, the indie author community as a whole is well served to follow what the romance authors are doing. Romance authors were among the first to adopt free series starters as a marketing tool, the first to adopt low ebook prices, the first to recognize the value of micro-targeted ebook covers, and the first to adopt preorders, and to focus so heavily on series writing. They are always at the start of the leading edge. Over 50% of the sales in Smashwords are romance books, which means the future of Smashwords is closely tied to the future of romance.
InD: Do you see the other genres following that lead? How are they experiencing this whole change?
: I think, today, when we look at the best practices for ebook publishing, many of those practices were first pioneered by romance authors. These secrets are out now. So, I think we’re now seeing authors across all genres, and even traditional publishers, following the lead and adopting these best practices. It’s quite likely that a new sci-fi writer is going to adopt best practices that they don't even realize were first pioneered by romance writers.
When retailers first opened up to self-published ebooks, it led to a flood of new books coming to market from writers who had no idea how the publishing world worked. Unlike traditional publishers, who had huge marketing budgets for their titles, most self-published writers were living hand to mouth.
These newly-fledged Indie authors didn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in marketing, so what they lacked in funding they make up several-fold with creativity. These authors got creative and found other ways to reach readers that did not cost so much money. That's how these authors discovered the power of low pricing, wide distribution, and free series starters.

Read the entire article in the September 2019 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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