Expert Publishing Blog

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Five More Ways to Make Digital Pay

In my last post, I argued that publishers looking to invest in elements of a more robust digital strategy have to balance the costs of technology and the costs of implementing it with the expected savings in the overall publishing process. I also suggested that there’s a timing factor, too, and taking incremental steps...

Gareth Cuddy digital disruption ebooks publishing Vearsa Sinofsky

Publishing’s Digital Disruption Hasn’t Even Started

Imperceptible, invisible almost, but it was there at the London Book Fair this year—publishers quietly clapping each other on the back and breathing a collective sigh of relief: Phew, thank goodness that ebook thing is over. Now let’s get back to real publishing. I’m being a little facetious, of course. But this year’s trade...

book marketing strategies readers Peter McCarthy

Audience Research Needn’t Be Costly or Time Consuming

The line between “conventional wisdom” and “misconception” is often thin, blurry and easy to stumble over. As the book marketing world sharpens its digital chops, misconceptions tend to result from insufficient experience with, and incomplete understanding of, a particular tactic. In my experience, it’s that holistic sort of nuance that makes all the difference. This...

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Publishers Finally Taking the Reins on Web Marketing

By the end of the London Book Fair last week, I had spoken to over 100 publishers, most of them mid-sized, (by going booth to booth—and yes, my feet are tired) as well as a handful of distributors, and I’ve noticed that for the first time there is nearly universal agreement on the following...

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Ten Great Ebook Production Tools

There are many ways to get at the insides of an EPUB—many of them idiosyncratic and unique to the particular needs of a given ebook developer. And not all tools are created equally. So while this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, it’s a quick guide to some of the best tools for...

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Five Ways to Make Digital Pay

Few doubt ebooks’ importance to publishers’ bottom line, particularly as print sales decline, but with ebook growth mostly flat, many still question how much further a digital strategy should go within a modern publishing business. For every good reason publishers have to expand their digital strategies, there seems to be at least one skeptical objection....

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Pressing Pause on the New Streaming Platforms

Two similar apps recently took the social media universe by storm: Meerkat and Periscope. Both allow you to live-stream video directly from your mobile phone to the web. The real difference between them is that Periscope is from Twitter Inc. while Meerkat isn’t, but Meerkat launched first and received $12 million in funding. If...

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Twelve Ways to Update Print Production Habits

I was reading a novel today on a Kindle Paperwhite—or “dogfooding” as some would like this habit to be called. Despite the engaging content, I kept getting jarred out of the ebook by its low production quality. The formatting wasn’t even so horrible, but small mistakes kept punching me out of my immersive experience....

ebook publishers direct-to-consumer strategy

The Real Price of a Strategy Shift

Whatever your strategy, you need to pay a “strategy tax.” That’s the name I give to the cost you’ll end up paying to support your business strategy. Take Amazon. It has a hands-off strategy. Amazon doesn’t want to pay staff to answer phones; it wants publishers to be self-service. We don’t phone them or...

d2c ebook discoverability readers

It’s Not (Just) about Discoverability

The Five Stops on Your Customer’s Journey In the course of planning and developing a direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategy, it can be easy to lose sight of how the technical components fit into the broader strategic picture. So let’s zoom out for a moment and return the focus on customers—the people who are (or will...

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Young Readers Say No Thanks to Enhanced E-Reading

How do younger readers want to read? If you go by the numbers, so-called digital natives are just about as frumpy as their analog elders. One recent survey shows U.S. readers ages 18–34 almost twice as likely to read a print book as an ebook on any device. And while Pew researchers found ebooks’ popularity...

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A Vantage Point on a Decade of Change

As of April 20th it will have been ten years since, aged 25, I set up Legend Press from an Internet shop under my shared flat in Stoke Newington. The last decade has been a challenging but unforgettable personal journey, but it has also inadvertently coincided with an industry that has irreversibly changed. When...

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Picture Book Apps and the Case of the Vanishing Author

Many children’s book authors aren’t huge fans of the so-called “picture book apps” or “story apps” entering the children’s market at ever increasing volumes. One reason why is because they aren’t authoring them. I recently spent a lot of time with children’s authors while completing an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults...

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How to Build Rich Navigation in EPUB3

EPUB3 is no longer all that new, but there still seems to be some reluctance among digital publishers to make the final move to a full-fledged EPUB3 workflow. In just the last two months I’ve been asked several times about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of making the switch. And I’ve offered my opinion, unasked,...

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This Is Not a Blog Post

It’s an offer for those of you who are publishers or work for one. One of the things I want to do in this column is highlight real-world examples of the direct-to-consumer publishing initiatives whose components I write about each week. If you’ve been reading along, you know one of them is optimization, and...

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The Trouble with Indie Math

The self-publishing platform Lulu.com recently published this infographic drawing on data from the latest report based on the Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest Author Survey as well as from the Author Earnings project: Lulu’s intent is to tout the benefits of going indie—and indeed, the service makes a lot of good points, many of...

ebook discovery Oyster iAuthor Brightly

New Ebook Discovery Efforts Differ on Means

With ebook growth mostly flat, publishers, retailers and a smattering of start-ups are testing new ways to help readers discover content that interests them. One key question they’re all trying to answer in the process is what methods lead to the most meaningful recommendations. Two recent efforts, Penguin Random House’s new children’s reading website Brightly...

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Publishers Getting Left Behind on Mobile

Did you feel it? Did you feel the change? If you’re in the publishing world there’s a chance you didn’t. One reason for that could be you’ve been existing on the industry’s shifting sands for a while now. Maybe you’ve grown so used to change that it doesn’t even phase you anymore. But I...

book publishers SEO ebooks readers

Researching Reader Intent to Fine-Tune Book SEO

There is one aspect of search engine optimization (SEO) that doesn’t get nearly as much play in the publishing business as it does elsewhere: understanding searchers’ intentions and aligning marketing content with their queries, usually by crafting landing pages. In this post, I’ll look at how book publishers and authors can better reach readers through...

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Your Content Is the Problem. Your Content Is the Problem.

…Your content is the problem. Content is what drives the Internet. And relevant content is what drives search results. Having superbly written, deep, descriptive, and most importantly, relevant content is the key to creating a thriving web presence. Duplicate content, however, will shoot all of your high-flying search engine optimization (SEO) efforts right out...

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Why Authors and Readers Still Want Print

Some of the biggest book industry events and trends of the past few years, including the closing of Borders bookstores, the rise in popularity of tablets and e-readers and the exponential growth in the number of ebooks (as well as of digital-only authors and publishers) could easily give the impression that print is becoming...

authorscontent

How Authors Can Build Content Communities

Digital technology is changing the way we read, but it’s also changing the way we write. How can authors take advantage of this? A friend of mine who writes crime fiction is interested in how this might happen. She is a bit worried about it, too. I told her how impressed I am by...

book publishers inbound marketing ebooks

The How and Why of Inbound Book Marketing

Discoverability, SEO, keywords, rich metadata—get these things correct and success is yours, right? Wrong, I’m sorry to say. Discoverability isn’t nearly enough. Discoverability relies on someone actively trying to discover something, which comes only at the end stage of the buying process. You need to catch people much earlier—long before they even know they...

direct-to-consumer ebook publishers

To Go Direct, Publishers Must Mean Business

The arithmetic of publishing is fairly straightforward: Sell plenty of books at as high a margin as you can manage, and don’t spend all that margin on overheads. To make that sum work, there are a number of levers a business can pull in order to improve its fortunes. You can increase the retail...

SEO book publishers ebooks direct-to-consumer

The Two Sides of SEO for Book Publishers

Here’s a scenario: A reader hears about a book you publish from someone they trust. They decide they want to buy it and read it. So how do they find it? It’s possible they go directly to their favorite bookseller (let’s assume this is all happening online), find it there and buy it. Awesome,...

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To Markup or to Markdown?

Many digital publishers agree HTML5 is one of the best mediums not only for outputting ebook content but for authoring it, too. Personally, I’m not so sure. At this year’s Digital Book World conference, I attended a panel session titled, “In Publishing’s Multi-Tech Future, Is HTML5 the ‘Magic Bullet’?” The main debate was centered...

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Why Publishers Are Obligated to Make Content Available Globally

In the publishing industry, making content available across the globe is usually on the calling cards of the major digital distributors; many can put ebooks up for sale in countries from Algeria to Azerbaijan. And while worldwide distribution is an often misunderstood yet market-changing feature of today’s bookselling world, doing it well is actually far more important than it sometimes...

ebook publishers direct-to-consumer customers

What Publishers Can Learn from My Local Greek Grocer

I live in the suburbs, where there aren’t many real ethnic groceries around. But there’s one little Greek grocery store I’ve driven past since it opened a couple of years ago, and I recently went in to check it out for the first time. By the time I walked out, I knew the owner,...