How Publishers Can Use Their Authors to Boost Sales

How Publishers Can Use Their Authors to Boost Sales“Call me Ishmael.”

“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

“It was a dark and stormy night.”

These are the opening lines that have turned writers into authors and kept many a reader glued to the books and statements made by their favorite wordsmiths (Well, maybe not that last one.).

In one of my previous posts in this series, I pointed out that authors are one of the greatest assets and resources for a publisher’s website. In this installment of my evaluation of independent book publishers, I hope to dive a little deeper into promoting your authors regularly (and letting them promote themselves) in order to boost Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and sales and customer retention. This is an incredibly important factor in how we evaluate what a modern publishing site should be.

The current status of author amplification among our participants is an average of 2.2 (a “D” grade). Many websites do not have separate pages for author bios, and if they do, they are static pages without any continuous content updates from or about the authors. I hope to elaborate further on how to turn a single author page into a key resource for your publishing business.

SpotlightMuch more.

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SpotlightWhy Amazon Built a Warehouse Inside a Manhattan Office Tower (CNET)
Go past the modern, brightly lit lobby of a Midtown Manhattan office building and take the elevator to the fifth floor. There you’ll find Amazon’s secret weapon for drawing in last-minute holiday shoppers. It’s not a fancy delivery drone or slick new electronic device. It’s a 50,000-square-foot warehouse filled with tens of thousands of consumer products. The busy workspace seems out of place amid the offices, storefronts and bustle of 34th Street below, just across the street from the Empire State Building.

SpotlightAmazon’s Bookstore Soothes Anxieties About Technology (New Yorker)
The first thing Amazon did to the building that would become its first brick-and-mortar bookstore was add bricks and mortar. The store, located in Seattle’s University Village shopping mall, opened in early November. Amazon’s new bricks, mottled in color from chalky yellow to dusky near-purple, look thoroughly artisanal. Their irregular texture and wide mortar gaps, along with the casement-like black metal mullions of the new windows, make the bookstore appear much older than the storefronts around it.

Is Indie Publishing Doing the Work for Big Publishers? (Guardian)
Here’s an observation: it sometimes feels as though smaller independents are the research and development departments for the big publishers, where literary fiction is concerned. We find great writers, nurture them, wipe their brows, polish their work and buff it until it shines. Then we send them out, readers love the books and they get shortlisted and win major literary prizes. Then the big money imprints swoop in, whisking them away to put them in a sparkly marketing jacket and present them in their new package to the world.

7 Self-Publishing Developments in 2015 (MediaShift)
Since my first year-end report in 2010, the world of self-publishing has stabilized significantly, with vendors steadily improving their features and partnering with others to offer more robust services. Still, there’s always an overwhelming amount of activity in this rich marketplace, so I want to provide a curated a summary new developments in 2015 that will matter most to indie authors.

SpotlightEnthrill’s Pivotal Christmas: Gifting Ebooks in Stores (Futurebook)
As anyone in books can tell you, this is a particularly pressing topic each year during the holidays, as even digital enthusiasts find it hard to sort out how to give ebooks as gifts. But Kevin Franco is brimming with toasty tidings for the holiday season, inspired in part by what appears to be a potentially important pivot in his Enthrill startup’s ongoing efforts to bring ebooks and physical retail settings together.

SpotlightTrajectory Partners with Uni Presses on Digital Services (Futurebook)
Boston-based Trajectory has announced a partnership with the Association of American University Presses to provide metadata translation, distribution channels, and Natural Language Processing analysis to member-publishers’ catalogs.

Academic Publishing Predictions for 2016 (Pub Technology)
Last week we shared our predictions for what will be in store for trade publishing in 2016. This week it’s academic publishing’s turn. This sector is far broader, larger and economically more successful than people outside the industry imagine. It ranges from multinational corporations that publish journals, to the university presses who keep the scholarly monograph going as a content form, and to the professional and association publishers dedicated to sharing information, insight and expertise within distinct professional groups. Yet however different these publishers look from the outside, they face similar challenges as the behavior of their buyers and readers changes and their funding environment shifts.

Why Print Book Sales Are Up (CS Monitor)
Sales of print books have increased slightly in the United States this year, possibly boosted by the release of Harper Lee’s newest novel and a popularity surge in, of all things, adult coloring books. 2015 was the second consecutive year that print editions grew, following a dip in 2013, when about 500 million were sold in the United States. Books written by celebrities who made their names on YouTube have also contributed to sales, publishers told the AP.


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