Expert Publishing Blog

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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...

A vantage point to a decade of change

As of 20th April next month it will be 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 inadvertently it has also 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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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What We Talk about When We Talk about Mobile

What exactly do we mean when we talk about mobile strategies for digital publishers? There’s one quick and easy answer. It involves posting regularly to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and their brethren so that people with smartphones can follow your publicity trail. True enough. But as I moved deeper into research on my report on...

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Three Direct-to-Consumer Steps Every Publisher Can Take

In my last post, I made the argument that not only should all publishers establish robust direct-to-consumer (D2C) programs regardless of their size, but that small and mid-size presses are in some ways better positioned to do so than large trade publishers. In this post I’ll break down the components of a direct-to-consumer operation...

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Why All Publishers Can and Should Go Direct-to-Consumer

Many publishers think direct-to-consumer (D2C) programs are difficult to implement, expensive to operate and generate heaps of extra work that their bottom lines can never justify, leaving those initiatives the exclusive territory of only the biggest players in the industry. But all publishers can and should be developing D2C strategies, including—and especially—small and mid-size...

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Authors Playing the Long Game in a Tough Book Market

In the 2014 Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest Author Survey, we noticed low satisfaction scores for sales, marketing and earnings among the authors in our sample, leading us to speculate that there was a gap between authors’ expectations and the realities of the book market, where it is very difficult to sell a large number of books....

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Publish and They Will Come…Right?

We live in an age of abundance, which means discoverability matters more than ever. By some accounts, as many as 1 million new books are being published every year in the English language alone. In addition, readers can choose from a back-catalog over 30 million titles through Amazon, used bookstores, libraries and friends. Readers are spoiled for...