Friday, May 23, 2014

The Best Indie PR Help Ever!!!


DOWNLOAD A PR MEDIA KIT and DO IT YOURSELF - Highly Recommended

Price $67 by Monday end of day, then it goes up. If you could never afford a PR person for yourself, or understand PR but don't have ready-made templates to use, this will save you hours of research and thinking. http://www.bookdesigntemplates.com/mediakit/

If you are anything like me, you say the words "marketing" or "PR" with great disdain.  Not because I don't believe in them, but because it goes against everything in my brain to do it.  The whole "never brag on yourself" was deeply set in my upbringing. Yet, I know it is required in order to get my books noticed. I know that my books are product and I am a brand.

I've done lots of marketing (Twitter, G+, Facebook, Pinterest, Blogs, blog tours for books, Goodreads, giveaways online and in person, readings, book signings, etc.). But Public Relations (PR) is different. It's more about letting people know you exist and who you are as a brand rather than selling.  And I admit, I have little understanding of it.  So, when Joel Friedlander and Joan Stewart offered a free one hour webinar I jumped on the chance to attend.

Though the webinar was interesting, it wasn't amazing. Because I've worked with a couple of friends who majored in public relations I knew, intellectually, a lot of the points Joan made. But understanding the points and implementing the points in actual copy is a completely different thing.

Enter Joel and Joan with an offer no smart person can turn down. They put together a "media kit package" that has Word templates for every type of PR you would want to do AND the 60 page guide that goes along with the templates is a reminder of what the webinar covered. More than that, it has completed examples of each of the media kit template types. Then you get some extra goodies too if you do this early ordering by Monday.

These templates are not only the usual variety of bios and headshots, but also press release templates, sell sheets to take to signings or sent to national events, and story ideas to get journalists to pick you up. This package through Monday, Memorial Day, also gets you bonus materials. The most useful one to me is the bonus stuff on How to Write Good Headlines. Headlines make a difference not only in building your media kit but in everything you do: blog posts, pitches, sell sheets etc.

Right now the cost for this kit is $67 through Memorial Day (this Monday). After that it goes up to $97 without the bonus material. Of course I  downloaded the kit for the $67. That's less than one hour of a good PR persons time. Are you kidding me?

Honestly, when I started opening the files I was flabbergasted. It is truly individual formatted templates for what to write, what size images (including exact pixel sizes) should be included in what types of PR, and all in a nicely formatted Word template with instructions. I plan to be working on mine, in between writing jags and getting EXPENDABLE out. Then I will post my media kit on my personal website. At some point I will also work on one for Windtree Press. Anytime someone can make my life easier I am a very happy gal. Thank you Joel, Tracy, and Joan!

Bottomline, I highly recommend you take advantage of this yourself at the current pricing. I don't see media kits on most people's websites and I think it can make a difference. Even if you don't put it on your website, you want to have it ready to send out whenever you do a book release or just want to remind the media that you still exist. The sale only lasts until Monday. Then the price goes up at least $30 and you don't get the bonus materials.


The media kit package comes in a zip file. When you unzip there is the guide (the webinar in narrative form with sample completed forms) and 12 other files--each it's own template--plus links to two additional webinars where you can download the slides and the handouts--like the headline tips one. It's rare I highly recommend that people buy something and I know that $67 is a good chunk of money, but I truly believe it is worth it. It's like having a PR coach telling you how to do all this stuff.

Unless you already have a media kit and know it works for you, you should fork over the money for this. I suspect you will regret it if you don't. No I'm not sharing mine. They already let each person use it for as many books as they want for themselves. To share it with my friends and colleagues would be like pirating a book and putting it up on one of those pirate sites.

Buy it now! Feel free to thank me later. :)

Friday, May 16, 2014

How Long Should My Book Be? (formatting considerations)

In the previous two posts I talked about reader expectations for genre and story telling. Assuming you've met those criteria, then you need to determine how you are going to present that book in both printed and e-book form to meet those expectations.  Now we get much more into formatting, page count, POD sizing, and all those geeky things.

Remember, though, even if you tweak the "size" of the book using some of the techniques discussed here, some readers will still not have their expectations met because it "feels" too long or too short. That all goes back to the previous blog posts on reader expectations of genre and story--mostly story.

Also, I won't be discussing e-book length because there is no "length" with an e-book. It is all dependent on the e-reader device size and the way the font sizing is configured. It is important, however, when completing the metadata for your e-book to fill out the information about number of pages (this is the number of pages the book would be printed). Because readers still use that as a gauge prior to purchase.

Traditionally, the mass market paperback sizing used the formula of 250 words per page.  With the typical double-spaced manuscript using Courier 12pt font, that means that 85,000 words would yield a finished book of about 340 pages. If you are self-publishing and writing at that length I would definitely suggest using the 6 x 9 inch format.  You want to keep your print costs as low as possible in order to competitively price the book.  At 6 x 9, using a TNR 12 pt. font the formula is about 350-400 words per page depending on the leading (space between lines).  So, that makes an 85,000 word book come out somewhere between 214 and 244 pages.  Significantly different from the 340 pages using the traditional MMP formula and a savings of about $1.00 per book in printing cost.

What Impacts Printed Page Count?

Physical book size. The page count has everything to do with the format size (Trade paperback sizes are typically (in inches) at 5.25 x 8 or 5.5 x 8 or 6 x 9). The difference of 1/2 inch or one inch can be the difference of 50-100 pages in a book.

Line spacing (single, 1.5) also makes a difference. Taking your manuscript from the usual double-spaced lines to single-spaced cut it in half. Most authors select 1.5 spacing, but others might make it slightly less or slightly more depending on their need to limit or expand page count. If you use a great page formatting software, like InDesign, you can effect this line spacing significantly with what is called leading. You can tweak a line to be slightly more space or less space than the line before it in order to control page breaks completely.

Fonts. Any user of a word processor knows that all fonts are not alike. A 12pt font in Times Roman is a very different size from a 12pt font in Garamond or Courier.  The fonts you elect to use for headers, subheaders, chapter numbers, quotes, etc. are all variables you can manipulate and will make a significant difference in the number of pages. I've helped an author with a very long book, cut out 50 pages by simply changing the header font from 18 pt to 14 pt.

Blank Pages. Traditional book publishing designed book interiors so that new chapters always began on the right hand side of the book. (the odd page number). This means if your previous chapter ended on an odd page number, that a blank page would be placed following that chapter end (the backside of the chapter page) in order to have the next chapter open on the right hand side. Depending on the number of chapters you write, these additional blank pages can be significant. For example, someone who writes many short chapters (say 50 chapters) could easily gain 25 or more pages in the book. The elimination of these blank pages, either by not using them or by deleting content to make sure they don't exist, can make a significant difference in overall page count.


Front and Back Matter. Word count of your completed story is not the only thing that impacts overall page count. Beyond your story, a book has front and back matter (e.g., title page, copyright page, dedication, acknowledgements, excerpt for another book, request to join mailing list, list of other books by the author, etc.).  I usually figure 0-15 extra pages for this stuff.

Why Would I Want to Change Any of These Parameters?

The short answer is to meet expectations of the reader. Another reason is to be able to more competitively price your POD book. The book's heft, perceived length, and overall size can meet a reader's expectation and thus get her to pick it up; or turn her away if the perception of value is not sufficient.  By the same token, if your book is so long that the price to print it is closing in on $7 then your price for expanded distribution (beyond the printer's catalog) is over $20 which is a difficult sell for fiction.

For example, in the genre expectations section you learned that reader's expect a longer book for Historical Fiction or Historical Romance. What if your book came in at 70,000 words and the expectation is 85,0000 to 100,000? You can still make the book "feel" longer by choosing a smaller physical book size, or making the font larger (go from 12 pt to 14 pt), or adding more interest to your headers, or making sure you use the right hand chapter openings and add those blank pages. You can also add more back matter, such as a longer excerpt of the next book.

It is important to understand that though you can manipulate page count, that in the end it will be how the reader "feels" about value versus time and money. No matter how hefty or spare the book feels, the reader must believe that the time and money cost was worth it. If your reader is not satisfied with the story in the end, any manipulation of the size will only be seen as a huge negative. If the reader is very satisfied with the story, it won't matter the length.

As with all perceptions of value, you want to present a product that meets expectations of look, feel, and size to get the reader to try the book. However, the choices you make also build an expectation (a promise) of the reading experience. Because reader trends are to look for shorter books, having a longer book carries a burden that is more difficult to meet. Presenting a longer book tells the reader that the experience is going to be worth the additional time and money. If you don't deliver, the reader will be likely be more upset than if the book didn't cost as much or take as long to read.

Of course, these are generalities. Every book, every genre, and every reader combines to create a unique experience. No book can meet every reader's expectations. Obsessing over making sure your book is perfect in every detail leads to madness. You can only write the best book you can, get it edited by the best editor you can afford, and then package it in a way that meets genre and reader expectations as best you can. Then let it loose in the world and write the next book.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How Long Should My Book Be? (Story Expectations)

In the previous post I talked about genre expectations and length trends.  All of those numbers are based on the "average" reader experience of a story.  Overall, readers are a pretty forgiving bunch. They don't expect every book to be their favorite. They don't expect every book to be a five when they rate it in Goodreads. In fact, most of them expect it to be a three. That means "I liked it." They didn't hate it, they didn't love it, it was average. For a voracious reader, they expect average and laud above average.

An average book has average expectations, and that means a reader doesn't want to spend extra time reading it or figuring it out.  That is where those genre length expectations come from. If the reader just "liked it" she will be more likely to notice if it was too short or too long.

But here's the big secret.  That length expectation is completely negated by a really good story--one that a reader gets caught up in and doesn't put down until she gets to the end.  If the reader stays engaged, likes the characters, and gets to the end feeling satisfied that you delivered on the promise of the story, then you've done your job. Whether you did that within 55,000 words or 100,000 words the reader won't care because whatever time was spent reading was worth it.

Though every book has its detractors, I want to use two examples of books at opposite ends of the length spectrum. Very few people who love Diana Gabaldon's Outlander book would suggest it is too long. It is a very long book at 850+ pages. But the reader immediately comes to care for Jamie and Claire and sticks with it because she wants to be sure they are okay in the end. Many readers report reading the entire book in three days because it moved so quickly. Hard to imagine an 850 page book moving quickly.

On the other side of the spectrum, few would suggest that 1982 National Book Award winner, William Maxwell's , one hundred thirty five page book, So Long, See You Tomorrow is too short. One reviewer wrote what I believe is true of this story: "...it can seem at times that whole paragraphs of unwritten backstory are suggested by every line, every image." Though it is novella length, those who love this spare book can't forget it. It "felt" like a longer book because of how well-written it is.

Could Outlander have been written in under 300 pages if the author had only been more spare with her words? No, it couldn't because it was of epic scope--covering history, time travel, and a grand quest. It worked because of the characters AND because of the universal themes of honor, betrayal, vengeance, love, and forgiveness. Should So Long, See You Tomorrow have been expanded to 250 pages or more? No. Though the themes are also universal--coming of age, innocence betrayed, grief, guilt, loss--the story setting is small town in the 1920's. In other words, both books are the proper length for the story.  Neither book has let down it's readers because the underlying craft is superior and that trumps length every time.


Though most of us will not write a bestseller or win a book award, we should still pay attention to good craft. It is that craft that keeps a reader engaged and negates length expectations. It is also important to know that storytelling expectations change from generation to generation and certainly from one century to the next. The classics you may have read in English class, written in the 19th or early to mid 20th century, does not meet modern story telling expectations today. For the most part readers expect to be constantly driven forward from the first page to the last, with the promise of the first pages being delivered in the end. Also character, particularly in genre fiction, is the primary driving force. It used to be that setting or theme was enough. Not anymore. When competing with television and movies that can display visual setting and deliver theme through musical pathos, it is only character that stands apart.

How does the writer meet story expectations?

Depending on which craft book you read or storyteller advice you follow, the elements can range from the three most important to hundreds of interweaving elements and structures that can make the story better. In the interest of brevity, I am not going to reiterate all the typical things you can read in any good craft book (setting, plot, climax, structure, etc.). All those are important. I will assume you've already done all that to the best of your ability. Instead, I've chosen what I believe are the big storytelling expectations of readers. The six big things often conflate setting, plot, structure, and character together in service of the story expectations. I believe these six items are what make a reader forgive small mistakes, suspend disbelief, and in the end recommend your book to others.

  1. Have something to say (often known as the central premise or primary theme). The more that your book can relate to a theme/message that is larger or more universal than the story you are telling, the more most readers will like it. In other words, though your story may be about one individual unraveling a mystery in a small town, it needs to be more. Is it about the corruption of power? That love conquers all? That good and evil are the same? My themes tend to be similar and interrelated no matter what I write. They are: "Everyone is wounded and can only find their true path by overcoming their past;" and "We all have good and evil inside us; life is about constantly choosing which to favor."

    Can you articulate your central premise in a single line? If not, that's a problem. It means you either don't know it or don't have one. Knowing your primary theme will help you look at every action your characters take, every setting you have them in, and the arc that needs to occur for the characters and the story. Every element of your story should have some echo of this central premise.
  2. Ambition through character development. All craft books talk about character arc and development--the need for three-dimensional characters, to articulate the character's goal, motivation, and conflict (GMC). All of this is true and important. Beyond that, though, the character reinforcement in the reader's mind is directly related to the writer's "ambition" in character development.

    Great books connect the theme/central premise to the reader through one or more characters. Those characters provide an example of something the reader can use in her own life and how to get there. It is never easy, and the reader may not know until the end that it's happening, but it leaves the reader satisfied. A reader will forgive a number of faults, suspension of disbelief errors, if she identifies with your character(s) and can use what she learns in her own life--not in a literal way, but in a metaphorical way. For example, why do readers love paranormal books? It's not because they believe they can solve problems by fighting a literal dragon. It is because the character must overcome the fear of fighting the dragon, of not being good enough, of perhaps not being allowed to fight, or many other obstacles that a reader can relate to her own life. That is what "ambition through character development" creates--a direct connection to the reader's life, no matter where the story takes place.
  3. A single over-riding through line (character motivation). When I beta read a book for new writers and provide a critique, the most common mistake I see is a fractured storyline. That is where there are too many bits, or scenes, that do not move the story forward, do not solve the primary question.  Instead writer's go off on tangents with two many other characters, settings, backstory, and in the process the reader also loses her motivation to continue reading. This is not to say your plot or characters need to be simple. However, if you are not always marching forward and reminding the reader that your character will get what he/she wants, you are not meeting expectations.

    The concept of a through line was first used by method acting teacher, Stanislavski, as a way for actors to better understand their characters. He believed that actors needed to go beyond what the character was thinking or doing in any particular scene. In order to fully embody the character, an actor needed to understand the "through line"--that which pushed the character forward and thus linked everything the character did. Even if your character is having a cup of coffee in a scene, the reader wants to know that having this cup of coffee with this particular person, at this particular moment, is critical to that character getting what he/she wants in the end. If it is not important to that motivation, the scene should not be there.

  4. Nothing comes easy (character torture and change). Another area where reader expectations are not met by the story is when everything happens miraculously. In other words, the character never has to fight for what she wants. Good stories not only show the character changing from beginning to end, but they also make it torturous for the character to change. This also goes back to ambition. If your protagonist is an alcoholic and your through line is overcoming wounds of the past, then she needs to end the story being sober. More than that the journey to sobriety needs to be fraught with pain--moving forward, sliding backward--and times when the reader will wonder if she can really pull it off.

    Taking the alcoholic example again, too often a character will act the alcoholic until the climax when a single event miraculously turns her around (meets the guy who accepts her, reconciles with her mother, almost dies in a car accident). Though these events may be ways in which someone changes, it doesn't meet the "ambition" requirement. A reader cannot easily identify with a sudden miracle. (Even in Inspirational fiction the character still has to work at believing, at making life move forward without miraculous intervention) A reader can identify with the character working at it throughout the book, having problems, backsliding, moving forward, getting closer and closer and then the "miraculous, life-changing event" caps it. But without all that lead up and trying and getting closer, the reader says "Meh. Unfair. Not satisfied."
  5. A page turner (some call this pacing and tension). You often hear a satisfied reader say something like: "I just kept turning the pages. I couldn't put it down."  Authors often mistake this need to create a page-turner with external conflict. They create tension by starting a fire, throwing in a bomb, killing off a character, shooting somebody, giving her amnesia--in other words making something big and horrible happen. Though that is a technique, when it is overused it becomes silly and obvious to the reader because the fire, bomb, killing, etc. has nothing to do with the central premise and the reader feels manipulated instead of satisfied.

    Readers will turn the page if you are driving the through line. Readers will turn the page if they care about what happens to your character. Readers will turn the page if they are invested emotionally in the final outcome. Just as in a great mystery, a good writer lays clues and red herrings, works in both internal and external tension, may even find the solution at the climax only to learn they were wrong, there is more work to be done until the end. This is a good recipe for all other fiction. Whether a romance, science fiction, a fantasy, or a thriller it moves in a similar fashion. There are clues as to whether the character(s) are moving toward their goals or not; there are times the reader believes everything is fine when it's not; there are times the reader believes the character will never make it but the character still does not give up; and so the reader does not give up.
  6. Deliver on your promise. The opening of each book makes a promise. It sets up expectations--partly based on the genre the reader believes she is encountering and partly based on what happened in your opening hook. Anytime you move away from that promise, the reader becomes insecure. Sometimes that is good, most of the time it is a chance for the reader to put down the book. Most important, when the reader closes the book, she will be satisfied if you deliver on that promise.

    For example, if you open with a big event (like a bomb in the middle of town that destroys your heroines family) then the reader is going to expect that book to be equally exciting throughout and that your heroine is going to suffer from that event. If you did that just to have a hook but it had nothing to do with your story, your reader will crucify you in reviews. You don't have to open big, but you have to start where change is occurring. Then make sure you realize what the promise is that you are making--what will you have to deliver throughout the book.

    One of my favorite SF authors is Octavia Butler. Every opening of her novels meets both the genre promise and the novel promise. Every ending delivers on that promise. For example, in Dawn, the first book in her Xenogenesis trilogy, it opens like this:

    Alive!
    Still alive.
    Alive . . . again.

    Even if I didn't know the author, I would immediately be drawn in. What is happening? Did she die three times? Is this about death? time? confinement? control? Within the first few pages, the reader learns the human protagonist is a captive and in a strange, alien environment that questions time, death and life, and control. That means the reader now expects that one or more of three things will happen: 1) the protagonist will find a way to escape her captivity and punish the captors; 2) the protagonist will find a way to make a life within captivity; and/or 3) the story will define what it is to be human and how one chooses to retain or give up one's humanity.  If none of those promises is delivered, the reader will be lost and feel dissatisfied. If anywhere along the way the heroine is not either trying to escape captivity or learning to live a fulfilled life within it, then the reader is dissatisfied.

    Check out one or more of your favorite books. Read the first paragraph and ask, what is being promised? Was it delivered? Read the first five pages and ask the same thing?




Sunday, May 11, 2014

How Long Should My Book Be? (Genre Expectations)


I recently corresponded with a writer whose fear was that her 85,000 word novel was already too long, which she translated to mean too many pages.  She wanted to know if her book ended up at around 240 pages was that too long.

You would think this question would be one of those easy-to-answer-in-a-couple-hundred-words type questions. Unfortunately, it is not. In fact, there are so many considerations that I've decided to break up this answer into three posts in order to cover it all. :) The posts will include: 1) genre expectations for length; 2) story telling expectations that can override length; and 3) formatting decisions to give an appearance of shorter, longer, or just-right length.

First let me say that with e-books, length has no meaning. This is because e-book length changes from one device to another. It changes depending on how the reader configured the device for font and size. Even though you may have used Garamond 12 pt font when you compiled your EPUB or MOBI file does not mean that is what the reader sees. Some e-readers translate all fonts to Times Roman. Others provide a selection that the user may select. Then, of course, readers can enlarge the font or make it smaller. If there are images, tables, special headers, etc. that also changes from one device to another and form one user to another. Maybe one day the ubiquity of reading electronically will put the perception of length as it relates to value and price to bed. Personally, I would love it if we--the reading public--would stop tying value to length. I think it's moving in that direction but we are not there yet.

For the past four to five decades the use of mass market paperback (MMP) for most genre authors put forth a standard calculation of 250 words per page.  In that case an 85,000 word book ended up around 340 pages.  Up until about 10 years ago, a 340 page book was fairly average for most genre fiction in MMP. Today, 340 pages would be considered long by many genre publishers. All reader analysis in the past five years suggests most readers prefer shorter books now, around 250 pages or 55,000 to 75,000 words with many publishers looking for books in the 60,000-70,000 words range. In addition, MMP is used less and less by traditional publishers and is almost non-existent for self-publishers. Trade paperback (U.S. sizes are 5.5 x 8.5 inches or 6 x 9 inches) is the "norm" now which means the page count will be lower than it was in MMP.

When it comes to books, everyone has an opinion as to what is too long, too short, too hefty, not enough substance, and everything in between. For my own books I've had reviews that say the length was "just right" and "wished it were longer" and "wished it were shorter." All for the same book. Every reader brings expectations to the story, and a complaint about length is more often a complaint about not being fully satisfied with the story. However, there are some "average" expectations of length dependent on genre. But even then the range is wide.

Note: My follow-on posts on this topic will relate best to fiction. Though I also write non-fiction, questions of length and perception of value are very different from fiction and not as easily manipulated. A very slim non-fiction self-help book can command high prices if the readers believe it made a big difference in their life or they learned something the could not learn elsewhere.


Regarding Length Expectations, the statements below are not statistically sound. They are gathered from several blogs by agents, editors, and publishers. The numbers reflect a preponderance of agreement among them.

Note: An adult or YA "novel" is defined as 40K and up.

Picture Books - Picture books are generally less than 1000 words. About 500-700 words is he norm.

Middle Grade - Early middle grade (age 7-10) you’ll want to stay around the 20k-30k word count range. The average middle grade (age 9-12) is 30k-40k. Upper middle grade (age 10-13) can hit in the 50k word count range (possibly longer, if it's something really unique e.g., Harry Potter).

Young Adult - Young adult fiction allows for a lot of flexibility in word count. And as more than 50% of YA readers are actually adults, the expectation is often for higher word counts. Though it can be as short as 40K for the younger set (12-14), it tends to range from 55K to 90K with 65K-70K being the average.
  • Mainstream YA - 45-75K
  • Paranormal/Fantasy YA - 55-120K, but most often in the 75-80K range.  If you are writing a popular series, the second or third book can go higher than the norm and readers will be okay.
  • Mystery/Thriller - 75-90K

Adult Fiction - This one is the most difficult to get right because the pundits are all over the place. I suspect that is because of the huge variability among genres and types of offerings. In general, anything above 70k but less than 115k seems a safe range. The sweet spot for general adult fiction appears to be about 85- 90k. However, almost every genre has a "category" or subgenre of slimmer books. For example, cozy mysteries are significantly shorter than suspense mysteries, and procedurals are somewhere in between the two. In Romance, there is an entire sub-genre called "category" romance which run 55-60K and have few, if any, subplots outside of the primary relationship. And with reader trends tending to favor shorter books as a whole, it seems that the 55-75K range sells really well.

Below are some general word count guidelines:

Romance
  • General Contemporary Romance - 65-100K, with 75-85K being the most desired
  • Chick-Lit or Women's Fiction - 65-80K
  • Paranormal/Fantasy Romance - 85-100k, again closer to 85K the most desired
  • Category Romance - 55-75K with most often bought in the 55-60K range
  • Historical Romance - 75-110K with most coming in at 85-90K 
Mysteries/Thrillers/Crime
  • General Crime Fiction - 90-100K
  • Cozy Mysteries- = 65-90k, most in the 65-70K range
  • Light Paranormal - 75-90K
  • Historical - 80-100K
  • Noir - 70-90K
Westerns - 75-100K, though there is a "category" western as well that can run in the 55-75K range


SF/Fantasy/Horror - 75K-120K However, this is the hardest category to lock down and the subcategories often cross over, but below is a best guess.
  • Hard SF - 85-110K
  • Cyberpunk - 75-90K
  • Space Opera - 75-120K, but tends to stay closer to 80-90K
  • Epic Fantasy/High Fantasy - 85-120K
  • Contemporary Fantasy - 75-100K, with most in the 85-90K range
  • Urban Fantasy - 80-110K, with most close to 90K
  • Slipstream - 75-90K
  • Dark Fantasy/Horror - 65-10-0K, with most around the 80K mark
  • New Wave - 70-90K
Literary - 65-100K.  Like all adult fiction it is hard to categorize. It does appear that in the last three to five years, like other genre fiction there is a trend to shorter lengths.

Being Indie means you get to determine what is the right length for your book, instead of pleasing an editor or agent that provides averages that meet their combination of cost and trends before understanding the needs of the story. 

However, also keep in mind that readers have been trained to expect certain lengths over decades. Those expectations tend to shift with whatever are the bestsellers that year.  Before Harry Potter, no publisher considered accepting a Middle Grade book that was so long. After Harry Potter every publisher was looking for longer fantasies.

Though reader trends do show that shorter books sell well, a good book will always outweigh length considerations. There are also other ways to offer a longer book, such as serializing it.











Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Global E-Book Report for 2014 is Now Available

The Global Report for April 2014 is out!  For those who have that analytic addiction like I do, I always look forward to this report released at the London Book Fair every year. The broader statistics combine both non-fiction and fiction, so keep that in mind if you are scanning. Non-fiction is a much larger piece of the pie around the world--but particularly in places like China, India, and Russia. This comprehensive report takes information for many sources. Reading it is as much a study in politics, culture, and global money flow as it is in specific ebook data. I personally find it fascinating.





You can get the 180 page report FREE until May 9th at http://www.global-ebook.com/ After that the charge is 9.99 pounds sterling (about $17). What I like about it is that it evaluates markets around the world, and compares them and talks about changes.


I know that those of us in the U.S. often forget there are other markets, but it is important to understand the global nature of publishing now and to make sure your business plan takes that into account. I've always believed in distributing widely. Even if you don't see a lot of revenue (or no revenue) right now, I believe you will see it growing significantly over the next few years.

For example, in my most recent Amazon payment, the money gained from International sales (combined) was more than the money gained from U.S. sales. In 2013 I would occasionally see $10 here and $10 there from sales outside the U.S.  However, this year each month I've seen it slowly rising. My Kobo and Apple sales have always included international sales (though primarily in Canada and Europe) and I anticipate these to increase as well. Where the U.S. ebook market is now settled into a more normalized growth pattern (2-3% per year), other countries are just beginning their e-book growth pattern which can mean increases of 10% or more in overall revenue each year.

The book covers changes, trends, device usage, self-publishing versus traditional publishing revenues, and product evolution. The best part is that it analyzes individual country markets which certainly lead me to rethink some of my pricing and marketing strategies for certain markets.

I really advise picking it up. It's free for the next four days and and it doesn't hurt to have a PDF sitting in your market analysis folder for review when you are feeling particularly analytical.