Several interesting announcements and commentaries this week.
The biggest came from Zola Books, which on the surface appears to be a great opportunity for indie publishers, especially when compared to B&N, which is still operating in the 20th century, but also relative to Amazon, which is trying to take over the book world. If nothing else, this should be fun to watch.
Joe Regal, Zola’s founder and CEO, says publishers can set up their own “storefronts” and that will solve the “discoverability” problem by allowing publishers to become “reader-facing brands.” (Sorry, at this time I cannot translate that into plain English.)
Publishers Weekly article: Zola Books Begins Rollout of its E-tailing Site.
The impact of ebook sales continues to grow, according a survey by Aptara, a Newton, Mass.-based digital publishing service. The study found that 57% of all publishers are making more than half of their titles available as ebooks, where two years ago it was just 31%.
I found the stats on the production focus quite illuminating as well. According to the report, 41% of trade houses now use a digital-first production method rather than a print-based process. Respondents tapped Adobe InDesign as the favorite tool for creating ebook content as well as producing ebooks.
There’s also an uptick in fixed-layout ebooks — 58% of publishers now produce FLEBs. (OK, I hate acronyms, too, but in this case I couldn’t resist — just don’t add “otomy” to it.) Production costs on fixed-layout ebooks are significantly higher than ebooks with reflowable text, and the market is narrower, often requiring proprietary ereader platforms.
Publishers Weekly article: Aptara Survey Finds 40% of Trade Houses with E-book Sales Over 10% of Revenue.
For indie authors/publishers looking for a voice of experience, check out Sarra Cannon, who has crossed the 100,000 threshold. She graciously posted her sales figures for the past two years. It offers fascinating insight into sales volume and revenue generation. She doesn’t attach any dollar amounts to her figures, but it’s not too hard to do a quick estimate based on her numbers.
Not surprisingly, the lion’s share of her sales are through Amazon, followed by Barnes & Noble and Apple.
Sarra also offers analysis and advice for others, candidly revealing how she could have done and now is doing things differently. One example is hiring professionals — editor and cover designer.
Here’s a link to her illuminating post: MILESTONE: 100,000 Sales. The numbers.
In that vein, Susan Weidener offers good thoughts on the business aspect of publishing.
She says: “Being a self-publisher means hiring professionals who can make your book as good as it can be. You are the author but you are also your own publisher. Make no mistake. You are an entrepreneur. You create a product, you market it, you sell it.”
Read the entire post: Self-Publishing Is Entrepreneurship.
Publicity and Marketing
One more item I recommend that you (especially newbie indies) read: David E. Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision, LLC, has good thoughts on book publicity and marketing . . .