by John F. Harnish
It isn’t news that the once booming economy of the United States is in dire straits. These trying times have touched our lives in a multitude of financially-challenged afflictions. Of special interest to authors is the detrimental impact this depressed economy is having on the book publishing industry.
The remaining mainstream book publishing houses have had more layoffs and down-sizing by dropping several well known house imprints. There is a major reduction in the number of purchased manuscripts being acquired and eventually published.
Slashed advertising budgets are being allocated to launch books by eminent and long established authors – they’re putting their bets on what has sold well, book after book. Corporate mandates make it mission critical for every published book to produce their projected numbers. Staffing cuts have reduced several publishing services – such as copyediting and rights verification – traditionally done by the mainstream houses.
All things considered, this is not the time to invest your time attempting to attract the interest of a major house in publishing your book. Sometimes knowing what not to do is just as valuable as knowing what to do. Now is the time to renew you efforts to promote your book to people who will perhaps buy a copy of your book. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Print media is struggling to retain a dwindling subscriber base that’s essential for justifying ever increasing advertising rates. Once highly valued column inches devoted to reviewing new releases have been dropped or drastically reduced in several leading daily and monthly printed publications. Ads for new books in many of these publications have been reduced in size and frequency, because these costly advertisements aren’t producing expected book sales in this depressed economy. In troubled times, advertising budgets are usually the first to be trimmed.
Reach out to family, friends and associates who have read your book and ask them to write and post online reviews or blurbs – every bit of exposure for your book is a benefit. Make it easy by doing a Google search for websites, sites where the info about your book would be of interest to visitors, and send your potential reviewers the link, so they can put up what they think about your book. Be patient, as it may take awhile for them to write a blurb and post or send it to you.
If you haven’t invested your time and a little bit of money in creating a website for your published book, now is the time to do it. Keep the design of your website simple, and focused entirely on your book and you, the author. Don’t mess around with setting up a shopping cart to do direct sales – you want to do a brief show-and-tell to make the sale, and then direct the buyer to www.buybooksontheweb.com and to your book page, place their book order.
What kind of books are selling in these turbulent times??? How-to and do-it-yourself books are popular because they often include things you can do yourself to save money. Almost any book that will help readers save time and money is worthy of promoting in targeted markets where the benefits are easy to relate with. Self-improvement books also sell well.
Books expanding on health issues and developing healthy attitudes and habits are popular as well as inspirational books that offer positive encouragement.
All types of novels telling interesting and compelling stories are perfect for escaping into. Popular fiction sells in depressed times, but you need to use your creativity to hook potential readers on the escapism qualities of your novel.
Photo courtesy of Dani Simmonds.