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Future of Publishing

Last weekend I attended a great conference in St. Petersburg. Held in a hotel on the beach, it’s amazing I was able to get any work done, but I did. The discussion panels were that good. In between sessions, I did sneak out and take a few photos. Who could blame me?

St Pete Beach

Some of the more interesting take away messages from the conference centered on the print industry, as in print books vs. ebooks. We all hear about the demise of bookstores, the print book going the way of the dinosaur with the onset of ereaders, but alas, it isn’t so. Print books are here, and I believe, here to stay. You see that beach up there? Who wants to get sand in their ereader? Not me. I take paperbacks to the beach!

But it’s more than reading venue that’s dictating the trends in publishing. It’s reader habit, reader access, and reader demand. Romance and Sci-Fi readers were the first to adapt to ereaders, consuming books at alarming rates. Memoirs, cooking books, history books, not so much. However, children’s books are definitely on the rise when it comes to ebooks. Blame it on the school systems handing out iPads, but I’m loving this news–I’m working on a children’s gardening book as we speak!

lower elementary on the lookout for bugs

However, the key to survival is marketing. (Isn’t it always?) Connecting with readers, offering services they want…

Take coffee houses. Connected them to a bookstore and you have the perfect combination. Wi-Fi centers, hangout spots, readers love to be surrounded by books and fellow readers. They also love great access, hence the onset of subscriptions services for books. One monthly fee gets you a ton of books, a very appealing concept for the voracious reader. Audio books is another avenue that is exploding right now. Today’s society is on the go and they want their “content” to go with them. Fast, easy, and accessible, kinda like a Big Mac or a Starbucks to go.

Authors and traditional publishing houses might be struggling to navigate through the changing tides, but readers aren’t. They’re surfing the waves and loving it. And I should know–I’m one of them! I embrace the increase in competition, the lower prices, the new and diverse type of content.

It’s been said that the only thing constant is change and it’s true, especially now. We are living and breathing “change” and five years from now, who knows what new devices will be on the market and what discussions we’ll be having. But I bet they’ll be exciting.

It’s All Relative

Man pulling his hair outWhen I published my debut novella under a pen name three weeks ago, I had low expectations. Conventional wisdom says that you don’t get any traction until the third book in the series comes out, and things really take off with book five or six. And I was content to wait for that to happen.

But the book didn’t hover at around 1,000,000 on Amazon like I expected. The day after it was published, it hit an Amazon bestseller list. I was, of course, over the moon.

And that’s when the crazy set in. I couldn’t be content with that modicum of success. Instead of focusing my energy on writing the next book, as I had planned, I felt like I had to promote the one I’d already published, to keep it visible. It was holding pretty steady in the top 20 on the list, and the top 10 in hot new releases in its category. Things were going great.

Until suddenly, they weren’t.

And that’s when the crazy got worse.

Sales were dropping along with the ranking. I experimented with new categories, and sales stopped altogether. So I dropped the price to 99 cents and ran a promo. The 99 cent price point helped, but the promo didn’t. The book was back up to #9 on the bestseller list for its category, and #5 in hot new releases, and I felt like I had failed because it wasn’t higher.

Like I said. Crazy.

I’m working on shifting my focus back to the things I can control, and letting go of the things I can’t. I’ve decided I’m allowed a few weeks of crazy after the first book is published, because it’s a super big deal to achieve something you’ve dreamed of your whole life. But it’s time to get back to business—to buckle down and write. The best thing I can do for the sales of the first book is to finish the second.

A month ago, I would have been so happy to be where I am now. But I am most definitely not happy. I’m distracted and sleep deprived and constantly fretting.

When things change, even for the better, our expectations change with them. And with the new expectations comes a whole new set of problems. Sometimes you have to step back and figure out what really matters. I didn’t become an author so I could worry about sales figures. I became an author so I could write. And when I’m doing that, I feel centered and happy, instead of anxious and out of control.

When we’re young, I suspect we all believe we’ll reach a point when we’ve got it all figured out. Now I realize that’ll never happen. Until you stop striving, you can never say you’ve succeeded. And when you stop striving, you’re taking the first step on the path to failure. I hope that as long as my heart keeps beating, I’ll keep trying new things. Even if that means anxiety and frustration and a bit of obsessive behavior.

What was the last new thing you tried that made you feel out of balance? How did you cope? 

New Year’s Wishes

2013

 

Happy New Year!!

Well, we’ve done it!  Checked off another year.  In looking back, 2012 was good to me.  I published two books and a novella, and my husband was able to retire (nothing to do with me, he just hit his own awesomeness. lol)

And we all survived the Mayan Apocolypse!!  How much do we rock?

mayan-calendar_bigger

So….

Going forward.

What are your plans for 2013?  I’ve decided not to call mine resolutions.  I never keep those.  I’m calling mine Wishes.  Because last year’s wishes came true.

My first wish is to get healthy.  Not lose weight, although that is very needed… just get healthy.  Hopefully one will follow the other.  My second one is to write at least two new books this year.  My third is going to be the most trying…  My baby girl will be graduating high school this year and going into the Navy on July 9.  Boot camp in Chicago for 9 weeks, A-school in California for 12 weeks, and then first tour overseas.  I’m very close to my daughter, and we talk in depth every day.  I’m going to be a LUNATIC not talking to her!  LOL!  So my third wish is that I can be very brave when she leaves for the Navy.

My fourth wish is that this time next year I can say I did all these things.  🙂

What are your wishes for the new year?

 

 

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