Friday, March 29, 2013
Thursday, March 28, 2013
What Happens if Bookstores Go Away?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~That sentence alone is enough to send chills down my spine. No bookstores? I can't imagine a world without them. Yet the fact of the matter is, that's likely where we are headed.
I don't often share this, but you know that term "bucket list"? One of my bucket list items is to get locked in a bookstore overnight - with a fully-functioning Starbucks of course because a girl needs her caffeine to stay up all night and dig through the thousands of titles on the shelves. Truth is, that one bucket list dream may never come true (and I suspect, neither will the dinner date with Bradley Cooper, either). Let's face it, the world is changing rapidly. Amazon is making book access so much easier and without having to get in your car and, you know, drive somewhere. Look, I do love Amazon and what they've done for indie authors is tremendous, but the opposite side to all of this good is that bookstores are desperately trying to find a market. Ironically, in the mix of all of this, the independents, once proclaimed to be dead, are not fairing as badly as the chains. Well, the chain: Barnes & Noble.
My prediction, though perhaps wild and seemingly out there, is that we're going to start seeing more niche stores, so children's bookstores, all-fiction, etc. because at the end of the day, we are catering to an audience who doesn't want to have to sift through hundreds of books to find the niche they are looking for. We live in the custom society: custom coffee, custom cars, custom pretty much everything. Would the same go for bookstores? Sure, why not? I also think that we're going to start seeing a lot more book departments expand within stores. Hallmark has been experimenting with this for years, though granted their book section is small compared to everything else they offer, they could expand this, too. I don't think you'll see airport bookstores go away anytime soon. There's a need there, gotta have something to read on the plane, though the surge of eBook purchases may change the need for those too.
Let's face it, the structure is changing. Ironically it's not going in the direction we once thought. A few years ago many bloggers said that libraries were a thing of the past, sweet but ancient dinosaurs. However, libraries have seen a resurgence in a down economy and librarians are eager to keep step with technology, offering eBook lending, etc.
The biggest challenge we face as authors and book promoters is that if, in fact, bookstores go away that takes away a huge chunk of those trusted book connoisseurs who would otherwise be out, on the frontlines, recommending books. Also, the shelf space, which for most of us isn't really a factor since our books won't be in bookstores anyway. But for those publishers and titles that depend on bookstores, how will they gain exposure? The answer is, of course, online.
I think as we see the market changing, we're going to see things like niche social media sites, which despite Facebook's online real estate could pull in more readers because, again, we want what we want. We don't want to sift through tons of data to find that great, new read.
Free books and excerpts will become a must. I've spoken with a lot of authors who feel this is just something they don't want to do. The numbers would, however, encourage a second look. Whenever we've run freebie campaigns we see a huge uptick in sales after the freebie is over.
Book bloggers: As time progresses, we'll need more voices out there. As we do now, we'll start seeing a lot of niche blog communities popping up and, I dare say, that if the bookstore demise happens we're going to see a lot more paid reviews.
Paid placement: Yes I think you'll start seeing much more of this. Though not through ads but through paid content online. Some call it advertorial, and perhaps that's a better term for it, but I think as we progress content generation to drive sales will become a huge factor.
What can you do now, this far ahead of the curve? Candidly, I think we'll start seeing the downturn of the bookstore right after Christmas. We're seeing it now already but as 2013 continues, more and more of the sales numbers are going to be facing a decline. What you can do now is stake your claim. Make friends with bloggers, network, put out good content. Don't wait for the bookstore rug to be ripped out from under you before you act. Do it now. And when the eventual demise of bookstores happens, you'll be ready to face that challenge.
Many of us ignore the library market because it's not glamorous, but guess what? Librarians are a fantastic group of book lovers who could really help your book succeed. Been ignoring the library market in lieu of something more glamorous? You may want to rethink that approach.
No one wants to see bookstores go away, least of all me. But the writing has been on the wall for a while and even if I'm wrong, which would be great, I still think that the online world will become more and more significant in all of the ways I've described. Let's face it. With all of the books published each day in the US, the market has been expanding on one side and shrinking on the other for a while.
So, head to your local bookstore and support them, but make sure you keep an eye on the future.
Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com
FROM AUDIBLE.COM: http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B00C2C602G&qid=1364517229&sr=1-1 FROM AMAZON.COM: http://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-from-the-Asylum/dp/B00C32QVRO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364518648&sr=1-1&keywords=.Memoirs+from+the+Asylum%2C+audio
READER VIEWS: The Annual Literary Awards 2012 Winners are in! Honorable Mention The Sharpshooter 1862-1864, All Things That Matter Press Charles Phillips http://www.readerviews.com/ReviewPhillipsTheSharpshooter.html The annual literary awards were established to honor writers who self-published or had their books published by a subsidy publisher, small press, university press, or independent book publisher geared for the North American reading audience.
Friday, March 15, 2013
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Authored by Stella Maddox
There were a thousand tiny cracks in her protective coating, but it only took the right one for the entire shell to fall away...
Stella Maddox is approaching forty. After sacrificing her career to become a stay-at-home mom, her marriage and life disintegrate. Birthdays don't bother her, but screaming kids, superficial friends, and grey hairs do.
She compromises her spirit over and over, and finds herself slipping through the cracks as her family's lives take priority over her own.
She strikes up a friendship with her neighbor's college-age son, Tad. Stella desires his company, but faces the possibility of destabilizing her marriage and family for an outlet to ease her loneliness. As the bond with her husband frays, she must decide when a connection becomes an affair, what actions she can live with, and which pieces inside she can still claim for herself. Stella is trapped in a cage that she worked most of her life to build.
About the author:
Stella Maddox earned her Bachelor's in Chemical Engineering from the University of Akron in 1998. She left industry in 2005 to stay home with her children. In addition to writing, she serves as a freelance industrial environmental consultant and balances a husband, three children, and two cats. She and her family reside in southern Ohio.