If you were writing a business plan to set up a new consumer goods business, which of the following two strategies would make most sense?
Strategy 1: Identify a market which, while mature, has publicly suffered of late, and whose future is uncertain. Agree with these high-risk target customers that they can return your goods for full credit up to 18 months after invoice. Agree to a pricing structure with them for your products that will be only a shade more than they’ll cost you to manufacture. Get your products designed, specified and pretty much ready for sale 12-18 months ahead of when they’ll actually go on sale.
Strategy 2: Have your product time to market capped at 12 weeks. Manufacture little and often, maintaining a low stockholding policy. Maintain virtual inventory wherever possible. Identify customers who demonstrate their demand for your products early and vocally, allowing you to forecast sales based on real customer demand data. Ensure that you can access those customers directly. Sell to them at a price well above cost and ensure logistical expenses are covered.
Strategy 1 is, you guessed it, trade publishing. Strategy 2 is direct selling of POD or short-run physical books and ebooks. If I were pitching Strategy 1 to an investor, I’d never get it approved.
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Using Ebooks to Connect with Indirect Customers (Joe Wikert)
Low website traffic and a lack of existing customer engagement are some of the most common reasons book publishers aren’t pursuing a direct-to-consumer (D2C) model today. They’ll point out that almost nobody comes to their site, so they question the value of investing in a D2C solution. That’s a great point and one that shouldn’t be ignored. But it’s also a problem that can be solved, and it starts with leveraging the indirect business every publisher participates in today.
Best Practices for Author Facebook Pages and Groups (Jane Friedman)
As one of the older students in my MFA program at 27, I was forced to join Facebook. Without it, I would have missed out on important communications with my fresh-out-of-college classmates. (Like what time to meet at the bar after workshop.) By the time I started utilizing Facebook as a platform-building tool, it was in the post-apocalyptic landscape after the algorithm change. If you don’t know about this shift, Facebook stopped showing page updates in the newsfeed of those who “liked” the page. Instead, Facebook created an algorithm that neutered organic page reach, supposedly to increase user experience. (Which not-so-coincidentally increased the use of paid ads and boosted posts.)
How to Know if That Book Promotion Has Value (Chris Syme)
Marketing can be complicated, but only because we make it so. There is so much advice out there on how to sell your books that your head probably spins just thinking about it. Marketing, like every other business operation, has best practices (things that work), and practices you should avoid. There is no one magic bullet book promotion that will skyrocket your books to the best-seller list. And trying to copy the success of other authors can lead to frustration if you don’t have the same success level, budget, or knowledge they have. Marketing needs to be a customized experience for every writer. And nobody knows you better than you.
SELF-e and the World’s Authors (Porter Anderson)
Rudiger Wischenbart is the Vienna-based publishing consultant who produces the Global Ebook Report and directs the annual Publishers Forum in Berlin, Europe’s largest non-English-led publishing conference. The international prominence of English and its implications in the book world, Wischenbart says, isn’t limited, as might be expected, to professional or science reading. “Many chain bookstores around the world,” he says, “carry English sections, and not only dedicated to travel guides and airport novels, but offering a fair representative choice.”
AUTHORS.me Promises to Tame Your Slush Pile (Pub Perspectives)
AUTHORS.me is a new, US-based online platform that promises to help literary agents and publishers field and manage submissions with ease.
Agents, Pros See Expanding Opportunities in Latin America (Pub Perspectives)
Literary agent Guillermo Schavelzon and other publishing professionals expressed optimism for the growing Latin American book market at the Guadalajara Book Fair.
Share of Americans with Broadband at Home Has Plateaued (DBW)
Home broadband adoption stands at 67 percent of Americans, down slightly from 70 percent in 2013, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. This small, but statistically significant, difference moves home broadband adoption to where it was in 2012. The survey finds an increase in the share of adults who are considered “smartphone only” in that they have a smartphone, but lack broadband service at home. Some 13 percent of Americans are “smartphone only” in 2015—up from 8 percent in 2013.