Four Ways Publishers Should Rethink Author Partnerships

shutterstock_175232804It’s an argument we’ve heard before: publishers must take a fresh look at their partnerships with authors, lest they lose them the proliferating number of self-publishing services and platforms.

That was one conclusion of last year’s Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest Author Survey, which is underway again right now. And it’s a case that one author and industry insider says still needs making.

As first-time novelist and Softletter Publisher Rick Chapman sees it, the Amazon-Hachette dispute revealed “a great deal of pent up resentment toward publishers,” which many authors see “as an unfriendly blocking force that takes away opportunity” more often than creating it.

“Publishers need to understand this” and change their approach, Chapman says.

Here are four places to start.

Related: Rick Chapman Joins Dana Beth Weinberg, Jane Friedman and David Vinjamuri to Talk Author-Publisher Business Relations at DBW15

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Evolving With Authors as Publishing Landscape Shifts (DBW)
Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest roll out our third annual Author Survey, which is evolving alongside the publishing ecosystem and the authors working within it. As the survey’s lead researcher Dana Beth Weinberg puts it, “This year’s questionnaire and analysis seek to take a more nuanced view of the multiplicity of publishing arrangements available to authors.”
Related: Author Survey Data to Debut Live at DBW15 | Take the 2015 Author Survey

ICYMI: HarperCollins Head Gains Industry Accolades (PW)
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There are a number of ways to account for Amazon’s weak financials lately. In one view, the e-tailer is “intentionally cannibalizing some major product lines,” like ebooks, in order to draw in more and more customers, a strategy that attests to Amazon’s strength, not the reverse. “I don’t think they want to own a piece of retail,” one observer muses. “They want to own all of it.”
Related: Hachette Best-Sellers See Slight Boost After Amazon Accord

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Five Tips for Better Digital Book Marketing–Free Webcast (DBW)
The more titles that flood the digital marketplace, the more difficult effective marketing becomes. Here’s a free webcast looking at five areas where authors and publishers can fine-tune their strategies. Registrants get a free copy of our popular Book Marketing & Social Media FAQ handbook plus a discount on a more intensive marketing webcast just around the corner.

More Audiobook Competition to Come? (The Digital Reader)
There may be some basis for suspicion that Audible, which recently gained a new competitor in Scribd and the return of an old one in Nook, may soon get more company yet.

Apple Gears up for Ebook Appeal (PW)
Preparing for an appeal later this month of the ebook price-fixing ruling that leaves it liable for up to $400 million, Apple argues that Judge Denise Cote leaned too heavily on inference and circumstantial evidence in reaching her decision.

2 thoughts on “Four Ways Publishers Should Rethink Author Partnerships

  1. Michael W. Perry

    Publishers also need to spare a bit of their fretting in 2015 for the digital equivalent of shelf space. Web retailers such as Amazon are not necessarily equal with their display space. Like ordinary bookstores, certain ebooks can be given more prominence than others in search results and on-page display.

    And unless I’m missing the signals entirely, Amazon intends to use those display differences to gain a major advantage over publishers and authors.

    * Larger publishers will have to ‘Pay to Play,” meaning give the retailer money for better visibility. Don’t pay and even that bestseller may become invisible to all but a precise search by title or perhaps even the ISBN. And those payments will let Amazon undercut regular bookstore prices even more.

    * Shaking down smaller publishers and authors for money probably isn’t worth the effort. But Amazon may adopt an “Obey to Play” policy—if they haven’t already—in which those who follow Amazon’s dictates in pricing, exclusivity, and other areas get more favorable display.

  2. Virginia Llorca

    The pulse I had my finger on indicated that more and more big sellers are opting out of Select because of the exclusivity and the inequities in the Unlimited pay out system. You have to be in Select to do Unlimited but big traddies don’t. Noise is being made.



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