Category Archives: The Future of Publishing

As a constantly evolving industry, it’s anyone’s guess where publishing will go next. See what people think about the waxing and waning book biz.

The Importance of Diversity by Urban Fantasy Author Alis Franklin

Posted by April 21st, 2015

The Importance of Diversity by Urban Fantasy Author Alis Franklin

The #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign started with a simple Twitter exchange between authors Ellen Oh and Malinda Lo about the lack of diversity in children’s literature on April 17, 2014. One year later, we’ve seen huge support on social media and in major book and author events, including BookCon and BEA. However, there is still more work to be done to make #WeNeedDiverseBooks a reality.

Alis Franklin is the author of LIESMITH, a queer urban fantasy novel published by Hydra. In LIESMITH, Sigmund Sussman, a shy young man working in low-level IT support in Australia, falls in love with Lain Laufeyjarson, a Norse god. Below, Alis addresses the problem of the underrepresentation of minority groups in literature and what needs to be done to improve diversity in publishing.

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One of the most fascinating things to realize about the (Western) publishing industry is that it’s been around, in some form or another, for something like 500 years. That is one old industry. It’s also an old industry that’s seen an enormous amount of disruption, to the point where it seems every year brings something new to shake things up.

If 2014 rattled anything on the manuscript-stacked table, it did it via talk of diversity, a.k.a. the way marginalized and other non-majority authors are treated and their stories told. This is particularly relevant as we enter April, which marks the one year anniversary of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign. Originally intended to spotlight the lack of diversity in children’s literature, over the past twelve months it has since grown beyond its original mission statement, spawning conversations in every corner of the industry.

And for good reason. There’s plenty to talk about when it comes to publishing’s relationship to diversity and, to set the scene, let’s begin by pointing out that…

1. Publishing is super, super homogeneous

No matter where you look–from fictional characters to their creators to their producers–the consensus is that the publishing industry is white and it is (with some exceptions) male and it is middle-class. “Write what you know,” says decades worth of well-meaning writing advice. Which, according to a quote attributed to US sci-fi author Joe Haldeman, is “why so many mediocre novels are about English professors contemplating adultery.”

Plenty has been written about this topic already, noting the homogeneity of characters appearing in genres as disparate as children’s lit and erotic romance. Employment wise, the publishing industry as a whole isn’t much better than the fiction it produces, with indications things are getting worse as publishers poach executive talent from the notoriously white and male tech sector. Meanwhile, white male authors are not just more likely to gain critical acclaim–particularly when they write in genres traditionally considered to be “for women“–but to get sympathetic pats on the head from prestigious media outlets when they do “lose out” on literary awards in favor of women or people of color. Continue reading

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Book Marketing: The Long Game by Andrea Dunlop

Posted by March 25th, 2015

Book Marketing: The Long Game by Andrea DunlopBook Country member Andrea Dunlop is the Social Media and Marketing Director of Girl Friday Productions. Her debut novel, THE SOJOURN, is scheduled to be released by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster, in March 2016. Andrea shares her “to-do” list for getting the word out about her book. Book Marketing: The Long Game was originally published on Andrea’s Tumblr blog on February 9, 2015.

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I signed my book deal with Atria last fall. The manuscript is done, but the book doesn’t come out until March 2016, giving me a little over a year to wait patiently for book to meet world. Except I’m not a very good waiter. I’m like a five-year-old or a German Shepherd, I need a job to do if you don’t want the furniture destroyed.

I was reminded last week in talking to a friend, a memoirist whose just-released book was on a much tighter schedule than mine, that having this kind of time is actually a huge blessing. I’m always telling clients and students that they should start as early as possible when it comes to their social media and marketing efforts. Ideally marketing should be a gradual, organic process, and that takes time.

As the social media and marketing director of GFP, this is where I put my money where my mouth is. As an author with a year-long countdown ahead of her, here’s what’s on my to-do list now: Continue reading

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Tips For Using Pinterest to Promote Your Book

Posted by March 24th, 2015

Tips For Using Pinterest to Promote Your BookPinterest is a fun, image-based social media platform that allows users to pinall sorts of pictures on boards. As a writer, you might be wondering how you can use Pinterest to promote your book. One powerful aspect about Pinterest is that pins give a visual element to your story. Pins can get repinned”  for months or even years to come. For tips on how writers can use Pinterest, we decided to ask Book Country members Jaycee Ford and Alex Rosa how they use Pinterest to promote their books.

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Janet Umenta: How did you get started on Pinterest? What advice would you give to writers who are hesitant to join “another social media site?”

 Alex Rosa: I think Pinterest is this beautifully organized chaos, which makes it less daunting than other social media sites. So when someone tells me they aren’t sure of giving it a go, I tell them that there’s no pressure. If anything, you can use it as a creative outlet rather than as an output of information. Continue reading

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Growth Hacker Marketing for Authors by Ryan Holiday

Posted by March 11th, 2015

Growth Hacker Marketing for Authors by Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday is the author of GROWTH HACKER MARKETING: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising, which is published by Portfolio. Ryan shares how authors can use growth hacking, a technique first developed in Silicon Valley, to launch their books and build long-lasting readerships.

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Right before our eyes, companies like Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, and Dropbox went from tiny startups into massive companies. And they did it with essentially no traditional marketing whatsoever.

They used a Silicon Valley technique known as growth hacking that helps rapidly launch and build a company. If one can understand that launching a book these days is not altogether different than starting a company, it should stand that there is something we can learn from these growth hackers. And it turns out that many of their techniques are already being used by forward thinking authors like Tim Ferriss. I’ve even had success applying it to my books and my author clients.

So what do you need to know about growth hacking your book? Continue reading

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#TwitterFiction Festival 2015: Submit Story Ideas!

Posted by March 10th, 2015

TFF logoAre you an old-fashioned storyteller with a newfangled Twitter habit? If so, you won’t want to miss this awesome new writing opportunity: #TwitterFiction Festival 2015!

A project of Penguin Random House, the Association of American Publishers, and Twitter, #TwitterFiction Festival will take place from May 11-15, 2015. The idea is that during this time, writers from all over the world will live-stream unique and original stories to the “Twitterverse.” An incredible lineup of 22 authors–from Margaret Atwood to Jackie Collins to Eric Jerome Dickey–have been tapped to tweet new writing during the festival. Writers like you are encouraged to join the fun and tweet your own stories, too, using the hashtag #TwitterFiction.

But that’s not all! The organizers of #TwitterFiction Festival are looking for a crop of talented emerging writers to submit original story ideas in advance of the festival. Select submissions will receive featured placement during the festival. This is a great way for writers to experiment with storytelling devices, widen their author platform, and connect with writers and readers from all over the world. The deadline for submitting ideas is March 30, 2015. Submit here! Continue reading

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10 Tips for Writers on Creating Perfect Social Media Posts from Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick

Posted by February 12th, 2015

10 Tips for Writers on Creating Perfect Social Media Posts from Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick

Social media is an important tool to engage with your audience and promote your book. Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick are leaders in social media marketing. Their book THE ART OF SOCIAL MEDIA, published by Portfolio, shares great strategies and tips for creating a successful social media platform. 

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Be Bold

Success favors the bold as well as the interesting on social media, so don’t hesitate to express your feelings and agenda.

Be Brief

Brevity beats verbosity on social media. You’re competing with millions of posts every day. People make snap judgments and move right along if you don’t capture their interest quickly.

Be Visual

Every post—literally every single post—should contain “eye candy” in the form of a picture, graphic, or video. According to a study by Skyword, “On average, total views [of its clients’ content] increased by 94% if a published article contained a relevant photograph or infographic when compared to articles without an image in the same category.” Continue reading

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4 Reasons to Go to a Writer Conference by Noelle Pierce

Posted by October 17th, 2014

Noelle PierceIf you’re a writer and you’re trying to decide whether to go to a regional or national conference, then my advice is to go. Granted, my experiences are limited to conferences related to the romance genre, but I think some things are going to translate no matter what genre is represented. Whether it’s a national or regional conference, there are going to be pros and cons—and I feel in most cases, the pros will outweigh the other.

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What conferences can give you:

1.  Networking with other writers at various stages in their careers. A conference is one of the best places to meet a critique partner or mentor. It’s also a place to be with like-minded individuals. I cherish those few days a year where I can walk up to virtually anyone and have something in common with him/her. Continue reading

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Come Down Off That Ledge—Self-Promotion Can be Fun!

Posted by October 8th, 2014

Andrea Dunlop on Book Country promotion

Let’s take a moment to discuss the oft-used phrase “self-promoter.” It’s unclear in the Kardashian-takes-all world whether this phrase is meant as a compliment or an insult, but the idea of promoting oneself gives most authors I know the heebie-jeebies. We all know that it’s necessary to advocate for your own work, especially in today’s overcrowded publishing landscape, but how do you do that without becoming a bore or a Bragosaurus rex?

Being a writer is a lifetime commitment, and it involves more than just putting pen to paper. The following are some ways to promote your work that won’t feel like a chore to you or your readers. Continue reading

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Audio and Video for Marketing? Why Not?

Posted by September 16th, 2014

Arnold Baruch

There are so many ways to market your book these days! Book Country member Arnold Baruch shares his experience producing audio and visual content for his book EXODUS, STAGE LEFT, Top Rated on Book Country. Connect with Arnold

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People all around the world listen to books these days. In fact, the number of audio books released each year is now approaching 10,000, having grown at a 12.7% clip from 2009 to 2013. It’s now a $2 billion industry!   But here we are at Book Country, most of us (like me!) struggling to perfect our work and get noticed in a tough industry: print and/or e-books. Continue reading

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Self-Publishing Was Right For Me by Ani Bolton

Posted by September 8th, 2014

In 2005, I wrote a weird book. A really weird book that no one knew what to do with, including me.

My pigeonhole at the time was Historical Romance. I’d gotten a good agent, and she was shopping my novel. I was working on a follow up, but I didn’t want to write a story about dukes or balls. I wanted to write a novel about war and magic. So that’s what I did.

Steel and SongThe novel that became STEEL AND SONG: Book 1 in the Aileron Chronicles flowed right out of me. My then-agent was baffled by it. It wasn’t a paranormal romance. It wasn’t epic fantasy. It was somewhere to the left of what was considered marketable: a dieselpunk romance with magic and war. A heroine who was mouthy and a hero who was a coward. In other words, never going to sell.

So I left the draft on a flashdrive (how quaint!) thinking that was that. I started working for book packagers, ghost writing several YA novels. My day job became very intense. Writing novels was taking a back seat, and honestly, the stuff I was writing wasn’t singing to me anymore. Even though I was the co-founder of a highly regarded writing community, my love for the industry and for writing had taken a beating. I needed to check out for a while. Continue reading

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