The other two posts are:
Someone else mentioned a question on genres and I'll post that in the tomorrows post. Any other questions related to this survey?
I’m a stark raving fan of Spokes Bike Shop in Vienna, VA. If you ever in the need for anything biking related and are even within 20 miles of Vienna – stop by this shop. After just one visit you’ll know why I feel this way. Why am I blogging about this? Because I want each of you to think about what you can do to make those who read your books stark raving fans. That is after all, the only way a book succeeds…it’s called word of mouth and it is the only true path to success.
I want to share my most recent experience at Spokes. On Friday afternoon, Michael and I were traveling by bike to Washington D.C. to the Sculpture Garden of the American History of Art. Each Friday, they have Jazz concerts there and you set under the trees near a fountain, listening to music and munching on whatever snacks you bring and have some drinks (They have great Sangria there). On my way I was hit by a car. All in all it could have been much worse. It’s only Monday and I’m already “mostly recovered” – I think I bruised a rib which has been the biggest discomfort, but most of it was just a lot of bruising and scrapes and road burn etc.
While I was in pretty good shape, the same could not be said about my bike. The front wheel no longer resembled anything circular or in a single plane, the chain derailer rubbed against the gears. The brakes were at a 45 degree angle, the handle bars were pointed in the wrong direction and the back tire was out of alignment. I was mentally calculating the costs, but more disappointed about the potential “downtime” as I figured t would take a week or two to bring the bike back to the living.
We hopped on the Metro, and Michael rode home to bring the car and we carried the bike to Vienna. I walked back to the service area where three technicians were working on other bikes and just watching them I could see the degree of skill in how they practiced their craft. When I showed up, battered as I was they were immediately interested in how I was doing. I asked if they rented bikes, so I could have a loaner while they worked on mine and while they did not, one of them immediately took the mangled wheel I was holding and went to work removing the tube/tire and putting it on a replacement. When Michael showed up a few minutes later, another technician put it up and started examining the other damage.
I had a phone call with an author scheduled for 4:00 so I went outside to discuss that with them and in short order Michael came out of the store with my fully restored bike. I steadied myself as I asked the question I dreaded…well how much? Michael laughed…he told me the new wheel rim was $44 and as for the labor…they gave him a long list of things they did and then told him it was on the house. I had bought the bike from the store only a few months earlier and they felt bad that I had gotten hurt.
The moral of this story is I’ll be a customer with them for life and what’s even more important…I felt this way even before this incident. I felt this way because every interaction I had with them was one of professionalism (employing the highest skill in their work) , a true interest in what they did (they are bike enthusiasts), a genuine concern for me (helping me pick a bike based on my biking habits). I’ve never found ANYONE there that is just “going through the motions”.
I’ll write a bit in the future about techniques I’ve used to help make stark raving fans. But I wanted to get this out today so you all could share some of your insights and experiences that I could incorporate into the next post on the subject. And as I said…if you’re near Vienna VA and need anything bike related – please be sure and stop by. You’ll be glad you did.
The two "big" things at BEA this year (well besides all the announcements about Amazon's move to publishing and the two big bombs of Larry Kirshbaum being brought in and Barry Eisler signing with their Thomas and Mercer line.) were
I'll talk more about the first in a future post but I wanted to talk a bit today about Author Platform. Let's start at the beginning..what actually is it? I did a quick Google search and found this.
The author platform is how you are currently reaching an audience of book-buying people, or how you plan to do so. It is your influence, your ability to sell to your market.
If you are self-publishing then the need to create and build a platform is obvious, after all you are a one man/woman business and you are responsible for everything from start to end. For those that are either pursuing or have a publisher don't think you're off the hook.
I hear the following all the time from writers:
For those pursuing a publisher, a platform is a huge bargaining chip. There are some agents that look at platform first, and others who won’t consider an author without one. When an intern at Ridan Publishing brought Nathan Lowell to my attention, I went out to podiobooks.com and saw he had an extensive platform of followers. As a businesswoman I was immediately interested. After I listened to the podcast of his Quarter Share there was no question I wanted to sign him.
Historically, publishing contracts are very weighted toward the publisher. I’ve been shocked by some of the clauses that friends of mine have signed. When confronted, they all say the same thing, “It was the best I could get, they held all the cards.” If you have a platform you have power that can be leveraged to swing the pendulum to a more author friendly partnership.
I’ll talk more in future posts about how you go about building your platform but here are some teasers to get you started.
That’s it for today. I need to get back to editing. But I’m trying to keep the posts frequent as it seems as though you guys are getting something out of them.
The state of our world, after the full adoption of the Digital Revolution, will likely be as unrecognizable to those of us alive today as the Industrial Revolution would have been to the farmers of the fifteenth century.And I think he's correct. One of the last posts I was commenting on before being banned from Absolute Write was with a poster who actually made the following statements:
I also think your "new model" and "old model" is pretty indicative of exactly the type of thinking I find a little faulty in the first place. I'm sure you'll disagree with me on this, but the model is changing and it's a lot more amorphous than that. We saw tape players turn to cds turn to mp3s and there was no major collapse of the record industry.Seriously? How deep is the hole that those clinging to traditional publishing models live in? We are not talking about a mere "change in format". Nor a trend that only effects self-published authors. What we are seeing is a whole new publishing paradigmn. Here are some comments from my rebutal that I think bears repeating:
Truth be told, my own thought is that I expect there to continue to be paradigm shifts in self-publishing, with commercial remaining largely the same.
The toothpaste is out of the tube and there is no going back. From this point on the number of books will continue to proliferate at an unprecedented speed. I think this will offer both opportunity and challenges, but putting your head in the sand and ignoring that it has occurred is definitely not the correct approach.
If you believe this is about a new format than you are missing the importance of the monumental shifts.
a) Authors selling in the tens and hundreds of thousands without publishers
b) The collapse of bookstore chains
c) A required shift of marketing from chain store buyers to individual readers
d) infinite shelf space of online buying
e) the re-introduction of hundreds of thousands of out of print titles that can now be reintroduced into the market place
f) A huge proliferation of titles (ten years ago 50,000 titles a year were released last year there were 1,000,000 (Source)
g) long tail economics as books can remain "in print" forever through POD and ebooks
h) an end to publisher monopolies as a sole gatekeeper to getting a book to market.
i) a new publishing model (Thomas and Mercer) where a major publisher has access not only to consumer emails but also their buying habits.