The Age Of The Ebook

The age of the e-book reader is truly with us.

After many false starts, the e-book is finally securing its place in our homes. Amazon’s Kindle continues to lead the way with the massive support from its own supply of books and now its links with Waterstones. The Sony reader, the IPad, Kobo, Nook and Android are all expanding rapidly. In fact Amazon recently announced its sales of Kindle books have outstripped demand for hardback books.

The e-book is now the medium of choice for many people. It’s more portable and versatile and cuts down hugely on luggage space whilst travelling!

The e-book is also widely accepted amongst those who read large numbers of books, making the market more and more attractive to authors. Many authors have now given up trying to secure publishing contracts through the traditional publishers and are writing solely for electronic distribution. This is understandable, albeit somewhat parochial, as any good marketing plan should embrace as many channels as possible.

As an author you can no longer ignore the e-book revolution. While traditional publishers fight and argue over territorial rights and price fixing issues the market will belong to the forward thinking. Those who are prepared to embrace this new opportunity and not run screaming home to bolt the doors.

With many publishers refusing to issue their books in this format and when they do, hiking the prices to extraordinary levels, the market is wide open for the new writer. The e-book represents a fantastic opportunity for new authors, providing of course they can overcome the obstacles such as controlled distribution and receiving payment for their work.

As part of our standard package we offer a full e-book solution.

The Amazon Enigma

The Importance Of Working Positively With Amazon

Amazon’s recent and widely reported dispute with Macmillan Publishers highlights once again the desperate state of an industry stubbornly clinging to archaic methods of retailing books.

The Net Book Price system which was effectively a price controlled cartel  stood for seventy years until a High Court ruling declared it illegal, paving the way for discount bookshops, supermarket stands and of course, Amazon. But to look at the wrangling currently taking place in the market, especially the area of e-books, one could be forgiven for thinking nothing much had changed.

Publishers still try to dictate retail prices in order to cling on to their diminishing profits. Restrictive practises are reducing market exposure to writers and all the while the author still has no say and is carried along like a twig in a raging river.

Amazon is now a huge force in the book world but no doubt there will be others looking to move in to capture their share of the massive market for literature. This is both good and bad for authors. For the author who has a publisher who still tries to dictate prices and distribution rights then they will see their sales being squeezed.

The big supermarkets now dictate how our food is grown. You may approve or disapprove but the only winners are those farmers that embrace the new world. The same is happening in publishing.
Amazon is making it easier for a new writer to bring their work to the marketplace, however it is much harder for that work to be noticed. Amazon lists over 10 million separate products!

For any author to succeed there needs to be a positive and proactive approach to Amazon. It is not acceptable to bury one’s head in the sand and hope they’ll go away. Amazon are here to stay and if handled correctly and skilfully they will boost your sales significantly, but ignore them and your work will sink without trace under the enormous weight of a million other books.

Traditional publishers now expect the author to be their own publicist and marketer, this means it is up to them to deal with the likes of Amazon and make sure they get the best exposure possible.

Great if they have the skills but what if they don’t?

Mirador Publishing provides positive help for all our authors.

Do I Need A Literary Agent

What Does A Literary Agent Actually Do?

Well, what they used to do was to find new writers and persuade publishers to invest in them. They would negotiate between publisher and author to hammer out a royalty contract and negotiate an advance of royalties up front. They would guide on legal issues such as foreign or film rights. For this, they would take a fee usually of ten percent or the author’s payments.

Today however, much of their time is spent nurturing existing clients, encouraging them to produce more and more of the same. That is of course when they’re not fending off the ever growing slush piles from young hopefuls. Publishers want more books from fewer ‘known names’, not one-off novels from ‘new unknowns’, and agents are collaborating in this model.

Many agents are simply not taking on new clients. Of those that are, many will only take you if you already have a publisher interested in your work. But hang on… wasn’t that supposed to be…? Never mind. If you do eventually manage to interest an agent in your work you still have to convince a publisher.

The primary role of an agent is to assist you to becoming published and to secure the best deal for you once that happens. That’s it. To bring your work to the market in the most profitable way possible. If your goal is to be published and to make good money from your work then it is going to pay you to examine the alternatives.

If you publish your work through the traditional route of agent and publisher these days you will be left with much work still to be done. Gone are the days when the author could write the words ‘The End’ then leave it down to everybody else to sort out from there.
Today due to financial pressures, the author is expected to be copy editor, publicist and sales department for their own book. For this the royalties remain pitifully low at around 7.5% and unless you are selling in millions you cannot expect to make a  living from writing. The average novel sold through the traditional route only returns around £3,000 for the author. According to The Royal Society of Authors the average novelist earns £7,500 per year.
If the average first print run of a new book is 15,000 then all that remains is to find out if there is a more profitable way achieving this than through the traditional route.

Should I Self Publish

Can I Go It Alone?

Full Self Publishing can be quite daunting. Even though we have much lower printing costs today, there are still many hazards between your manuscript and the finished article sitting on the shelf in Barnes and Nobles.

Do you have the necessary technical knowledge to set up the files for printing? Your work may look lovely in a Word Document but that doesn’t always transpose well into the format necessary for a printer. Difficulties in this translation process can make the finished book look a mess. The costs involved in the ‘Set Up’ process often far outweigh those of the actual print run. Get this bit wrong and you can lose huge amounts of your investment.

How about cover design? Creating great prose is a rare talent but artwork is different skill set completely. What covers sell books and what covers turn potential readers away? The old maxim of ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ may be in part accurate but a huge proportion of books are either sold or left unsold purely on the look of the cover alone.

Before you can market your book you will need to obtain an ISBN number and secure listings on Gardners and Ingrams wholesalers. However, Gardners and Ingrams will not usually list self published books which makes getting your book into the book chains almost impossible.  Publishing through us ensures you will go onto all the lists necessary and can even have an enhanced listing if you wish.

In addition you will need to build a website and then promote your book. This is where sales and marketing skills are needed. You may be surprised to learn that in most cases it is how a book is marketed and sold that means success or failure and not the content. There are thousands of badly written books selling in their millions just because of great marketing. Similarly, there are thousands of great literary works languishing in the ‘Returns’ pile simply because they were badly marketed. How do you separate your novel from the tsunami of books published each year?

Self publishing gives you maximum control over your work and highest profit retention if it sells well. However it also gives the biggest workload and learning curve as well as the greatest financial risk.
Today in the business world it is now common practise to contract out those sections of a business which are either too expensive or too time consuming to develop in-house. Many big companies contract out things like staff catering, call centres and building maintenance rather than employ their own people simply because it is cheaper and more efficient.

As an author, you may also consider that contracting out some elements of the process of bringing your book to the market is a sensible alternative to going solo.

If this is the case than Partnership Publishing is probably the route for you.

The Music Industry Leads The Way

“The music business is dying, destroyed by an avalanche of home created music and piracy.

This is actually very far from the truth. The ‘Music Business’ is a long way from dying, in fact it is the healthiest it’s ever been. It is the ‘Record Industry’ that is having problems. The reason is simple. Why do you need to pay a record company ninety percent  of the retail value to produce your music when home studios are available for a few hundred pounds? When you can create your own CDs for pennies each? When you can link to one of a hundred sites to sell your music in either disc or electronic forms? And if you don’t need a record company then the agent also becomes redundant.

For five years John Lennon and Paul McCartney worked hard writing and playing their music. Eventually they managed to interest Brian Epstein who agreed to act as their Manager/Agent.  After years of struggle, The Beatles were taken under the wing of George Martin, a producer for a little known music label Parlophone. Despite producing millions or records The Beatles were very poorly paid. Many years later they created their own record company, Apple,  in order gain more control over their own business.

Today creating, producing and promoting you own music is the preferred option by most musicians. From small local bands through to the likes of Pink Floyd, all self publish in one form or another. Even street buskers are now selling their own CDs! Self publishing is a sound business model and not to be confused with ‘Vanity Publishing’. After all, who would accuse Pink Floyd of vanity publishing?

Yes, piracy is still a problem in the music business but it is the loyalty generated with the fan base that is halfway to solving this. The personal contact with the record buying public creates more support, sometimes with fans actually helping the band fund further projects. This level of contact is lost when huge international conglomerations are involved.

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. We must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”  William Shakespeare.

Compared to the Publishing industry the music business is a relative youngster. Perhaps this is what has allowed it to adapt so well to the modern markets.  The time is right for the publishing industry to learn a few lessons from its younger sibling! With new methods of printing and new distribution channels opening every day there is no longer a requirement for the huge infrastructure that has to be supported on the back of each of your books sold. Self Publishing or Partnership Publishing is the favoured model for the new era.