Saturday, December 6, 2008

Stephenie Meyer, vampires and sales

Todd pointed me to this - Stephenie Meyer's books sold over 1,000,000 units last week - in a universe of 17,000,000 total sales. Amazing - add the Anne Rice vampire books, Bram Stoker and who knows what all, you have a great chunk of what book buyers are willing to trade cold, hard cash for. All put into perspective by this great article from Atlantic Monthly.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

blogs=books?

Interesting post on 26th Story today. I commented there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

books=gifts

Are you kidding me? This is what Random House thinks will help drive their business this fall?

C'mon guys. Nothing Random House, Harper, S&S, Penguin can do or say will motivate someone to buy a book. ITS THE AUTHOR, my friends.

The publishers have privileged relationships with the retailers and the media. The author has a privileged relationship with the reader. The author must take ownership of the sell-out of the store.

Publishers are great at bringing the content and package together, getting the books into stores and facilitating the authors connection to the reader through media. But the author needs to engage and motivate readers directly if they expect to sell books. There are so many ways to do that in addition to the rare and precious face to face opportunities - and Random House would be well served (and do right by their authors) by working with them on this aspect of the publishing process.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cookstr: Invoking my Universal Law of Content

Excited to see today's NYT article on Will Scwalbe's Cookstr. The site isn't live yet, but it sounds like Will is leveraging the content exactly as I've described in my Universal Law of Content:

The content is the content. It is free in html and available on an episodic basis. It has a cost when it is permanent (.pdf, book, magazine) and searchable.

I have a beautiful daikon radish in my refrigerator. Not quite sure how I might deploy that, but I'd love to be able to search Cookstr and get a couple of ideas. And you know what? When I have a relationship with Cookstr, and I know I'll find good ideas - you can bet I'll be willing to pay to print out a recipe or even click to order. One thing I'm probably not doing - going down to ye olde bookshop to search through an endless sea of cookbooks. That ship has sailed, mates.

BTW- one correction to the article. Looks like upwards of 2,000 cookbooks published annually (piece said 400).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

8CR POW WOW

I'm happy to share that I've been asked by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten to return to this year's 800CEORead Author Pow-Wow at Catalyst Ranch. Last year, the 2d for the gathering, was a wonderful learning experience for me. The gift of having time to spend with the professionals in attendance was great - but better was the opportunity to meet many authors who were so engaged with their projects and willing to invest their time to learn more about how they might succeed in bringing their work - their passion - to the widest possible audience. During these two days, many of the issues that I'd been struggling with in my role as Associate Publisher at Harvard Business Press began to come into sharp focus ... and I expressed that a little clumsily at the time. For example, I stated that there was potential for a disconnect between author and publisher...that they might not necessarily share the same goals. I got more than a few puzzled looks, understandably. Didn't everyone want to sell books?? Yeah, but...
So, let me try again (and give a bit of a preview on my take). In the business book category, the author's revenue stream includes speaking and consulting (at least that's the goal!). However - the book publisher does not share in that speaking/consulting revenue stream. So there is little (make that no) incentive for the publisher to invest in developing the author's platform. In fact, the publisher thinks "I'll use the platform to sell the book". Authors are often under the (mistaken) impression that the publisher will help (or even has the goal) of building the author's platform. In reality the author should be saying "I will use the book to build the platform". The publication of the book is a critical inflection point in the author's thought leadership trajectory. How should the author use this important occasion in the 24 months, 12 months leading up to the publication date? What should the author be doing the day of publication? Here's a little tough news - nobody is running into a bookstore (or firing up the computer) on pub date to buy the book. Not with 20 to 30 new titles in the business category being published every day. I've been sharpening my thinking and I'm looking forward to meeting and speaking with the attendees this year -