Saturday, December 12, 2009

Publishing Industry Changes

In the publishing world it used to be that a writer could be a writer, do a little publicity here and there such as book signings, interviews, press releases, etc. But the world of media technology is changing all that. Now days a writer must do much more. We have to be writers, editors, bloggers, social networkers, publicists, graphic designers, marketing professionals, and now, media professionals.

This past week my publisher contacted me for a native file of my video book trailer. They were creating a DVD to present to LifeWay Bookstores for their spring list. I know the jury is still out as to whether video book trailers sell to readers and increase over all sales, but the fact that publishers are now using them to sell our books to bookstore distributors says a lot. And guess what, no professional produced my video. I did it. I had to come up with the script, the images, the music, the presentation, and pull it all together myself. The days of a simple book blurb and book cover are over.

What are your thoughts about the current changes in media technology taking place in the publishing industry?

If you're interested, take a peek at my Highland Blessings video trailer here. Feel free to leave a comment on YouTube and let me know what you think.


  1. Hi Jennifer:

    This is interesting. For most authors, acting as a marketing professional will not be utilizing their time at their ‘highest and best’ use.

    As a publisher, I’d want Nora Roberts writing books and not creating trailers for them.

    Then there is the problem that not all advertising or marketing is effective. A writer could spend hundreds of hours in promotional efforts and not achieve as much as five hours doing another kind of promotion. The problem now is, no one seems to know which type of author promotion is most effective.

    Also, there are two major types of promotion. One is designed to sell a single title book and is short term. The other way is designed to sell the author as a writer and to build a career. In this sense, the goals of the publisher and author could well differ. (Authors can change publishers.)

    What if an author did no extra promotion but managed to write one addition book a year with the time saved? Would the author make a lot more money this way? By this I mean 25% to 40% more income.

    I personally think, as a marketing person, that many authors are spending far too much time on very marginal marketing efforts because they are fun, ego-satisfying, and a good excuse not to be writing.

    On the other hand, there is always down time when you would not be writing in any event. If you use down time, what we sometimes call ‘garbage time’, to do your marketing, then there would probably be no loss in spending this time in marginal marketing efforts. Just do it.

    What authors need are some studies in this area. But I just don’t see who would do it. Maybe RWA could look into this.


  2. Jennifer-

    Your tailer looked intriguing and makes me want to read your book. I would think your publisher would be proud to use this in marketing your book.

  3. Vince, You bring up some very valid points. Many of the things you mentioned, I've been thinking about. I try to use my down time to market myself and my work, but I just don't have that much down time since I have another full-time job to pay bills. This field is so hard to know how to manage one's time.

  4. Diane, Thank you! Your words were a blessing to read.

  5. Hi Jennifer! You're so right... the publishing industry has changed and continually changes where marketing & publicity is concerned. However; I agree with Dianna. If there is a way to get potential buyers and consumers more engaged visually and their interest peaked through the beauty of modern technology, I'm all for it :) Your promo trailer does a beautiful job of that. I look forward to working with you in innovative ways to create as much awareness about your talented writing as we possibly can! ;)

  6. Maegan, Thanks for stopping by! For those who don't know, Maegan is with my publisher, Abingdon Press, she's responsible for promoting our books and giving those awesome DVD presentations to book distributors. I hope everything went well, Maegan! Thanks for all you do.