Author & Publisher Strategies

Author mills and first-time novelists

Ashlea Ramey writes about the risks of working with companies that promise to publish or sell your books. She suggest that some of these services can be helpful, but that many are running on empty promises.

Relates to my posting, A million little author presences, on the emerging class of services hoping to attract authors to their fee-based services that promise to promote sales of books and rights.

Author & Publisher Strategies

A million little author presences

As writers, we seek to develop a relationship with our readers. It can be a relationship of service, one that entertains, one that informs or that argues, among others. Without the relationship, there’s no next step, no story to be told. If you can’t keep the reader’s attention on the first page, they won’t get to the second. The same principle applies on the Web as you sell your book, e-book or site. Publishers share this burden and, if the wish to thrive in the post paper-centric world, will likely focus on this aspect of the reader-author relationship as a key value proposition.

In recent days, I’ve seen a half dozen new places for authors to sell books or list their work in some way in order to be found. Beyond the obvious search engine optimization (SEO) how-to business questions that are answered by other blogs, the proliferation of potential places of presence online confronts the author or publisher with critical questions about how to divide the time and financial resources they have available.

Early in the social media marketing discussion, there was an assumption that a brand had to be everywhere, on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed, and a thousand other sites, but now we recognize that the “tradigital,” which mixes evangelical engagement with customers and judicious use of social networking where the return justifies

Book and Reading News

Publetariat Vault launches paid rights listings

PubletariatThe Publetariat Vault, a new database of authors and the rights they want to sell is launching. After a 90-day free trial for the first 300 participants, and a 30-day free trial for all who register after that, authors will pay $10 monthly to have their works listed. The idea is to let author who have built some traction in the marketplace connect with publishers who can accelerate their sales. It will aggregate reviews and sales data, among other information in authors’ listings.

I would strongly suggest Publetariat Vault’s creators consider reversing the model, so that searchers who want to contact an author pay a small fee to Publetariat. Or make the transfer of rights the pay service. Anything other than paid listings, which is the old classifieds model.

Craigslist killed the paid listing business, making revenue on a small percentage of its listings. That allowed people to populate the listing database with enough free ads, which drove traffic, that it became self-supporting from fees for real estate and job listings. There’s no reason Craigslist couldn’t offer these same kinds of listing free to authors (think about it, Craig).

This database seems to be aiming to compete with writers’ agents, who normally shop rights to works new and old, as necessary for a share of the author’s income from the resulting deals. It could also help agents find new authors with finished works. But I am skeptical of any service for authors that costs $120 a year up front. Interesting idea, though, if the economics are made right. Will be interesting to see what comes of this.