Book Publishing News 08/18/17

Carol Award Finalists

Historical: Starving Hearts by Janine Mendenhall, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, editors Ann Tatlock and Amberlyn Dwinnell

Debut: You’re the Cream in my Coffee by Jennifer Lamont Leo, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, editor Kathryn Davis

Speculative: The Healer’s Rune (Young Adult Fantasy) by Lauricia Matuska, Brimstone Fiction, editors Rowena Kuo and Eddie Jones (Brimstone is now its own house under Ro’s management)

Read more …

 

Silver Scroll Merit Awards

Silver Scroll Merit Awards for Fiction went to Marilyn Turk for The Gilded Curse from Heritage Beacon Fiction. Congrats also to Edie Melson for her novel, Alone, and nonficiton book, While My Child is Away.

 

Good news! B&N met their profit goals. Bad news! Sales fall 6.5 percent. 

The 6 percent drop in book sales is partly due to lower sales of coloring books and juvenile titles. B&N expects the sales decline to continue in 2018.


Marketing Tips

What would happen if you spent $100k on Facebook ads?

One tip?  Create video specifically for Facebook Ads.

Book Publishing News 07/15/17

Exclusive News Excerpt from The Hot Sheet

(enjoy this article from The Hot Sheet)

A Potentially Beneficial New Road Opens in Email Newsletter Advertising

When talking recently with UK-based historical fiction writer Jane Steen, we learned not only that she’s had a good experience with the email newsletter advertising service BookBub (as most indie authors do), but that she’s spotted another venue with some promise.

Before we discuss that new venue, here’s a quick overview of Steen’s experience with BookBub: after she was featured in their newsletter, she says she netted “well over $10,000 … in a month of extra sell-through” for the $410 cost of her advertisement for the first book (which is free) in a series. When we asked BookBub’s Katie Donelan about this kind of response, she said Steen used several particularly savvy approaches, including marketing a series. Donelan says, “94 percent of BookBub authors who discount a book in a series sell more copies of other books in the series during the promotion. And making a first book in series free is one of the most successful strategies they use. First, we see 10 times the downloads on free books that we do on 99-cent books. On top of that, we see five-times-higher sales of other books in a series when the first book is offered—compared to any other book in the series—and we see eight-times-higher sales of other books when the featured book is free.” We’ll write up more insights from Donelan in a future issue.

After the successful BookBub run, Open Road Integrated Media offered to advertise Steen’s books in their newsletters. Open Road is the leading curated backlist house founded by that other Jane Friedman, the former CEO of HarperCollins. Open Road offers ebook editions of more than 10,000 titles from some of the greatest authors and estates in the business.

In the last couple of years, Open Road has found success by creating special-interest, content-driven websites and corresponding newsletters:EarlyBirdBooks.comThe-Line-Up.com, and ThePortalist.com. Open Road just passed the million-subscriber mark on their newsletters, and their sites have more than 1.4 million unique visitors per month.

They now plan to launch three additional websites and email newsletters:

  • Love So True (for romance readers, of course)

  • Murder & Mayhem (for mystery and thriller readers)

  • The Archive (for history and nonfiction consumers)

Open Road is including ads in their newsletters and tells The Hot Sheet that they’re particularly interested in working with self-published material. Here’s a link with information. They do check for a quality level they feel comfortable with, and they write the copy for the ads themselves, ensuring a professional tone consistent with each newsletter’s voice and style.

There are a few restrictions. For example, the free first-in-series book that Steen advertised with BookBub would not have flown with Open Road, which isn’t accepting ads for free books; a book must cost 99 cents or more to be eligible.

Mary McAveney, Open Road’s executive vice president for marketing, says the largest of the newsletters in operation, Early Bird Books (with 750,000 subscribers), typically produces what she describes as “a 1000 percent or more increase over baseline sales” in the days following an ad run. There’s also an increase in sales of an author’s other titles, with associated boosts in sales rankings and reviews on retail sites. Seventy-five percent of Early Bird readers are 45 and older; 80 percent of them are female; they are primarily US-based.

McAveney tells The Hot Sheet, “What it comes down to is that we’re solving our own marketing challenges here. We have to create our own earned media with these newsletters, and it helps our audience even more if we can put more good titles in front of them. Our point is to continue to build this community of readers, who are coming in through their genre preferences and staying with us.”

Bottom line: The price to place an ad in the Early Bird Books newsletter is $180. That sounds like a great rate to us, especially because an ad in an Open Road Integrated Media newsletter puts a title in the company of some of the biggest and best work in the canon. It’s no surprise to us, in fact, that publishers (including Workman and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) are using these newsletters as avenues to reach readers. Contact Open Road at [email protected] to get more information.

Book Publishing News 06/23/17

Do You Have the Swagger of a Buffalo?

During our trip out West to Yellowstone I was struck by how confident bison are. They graze near roads, relax next to fire hydrants, and seem unconcerned with how they disrupt traffic. When you’re big and strong you can act with confidence. May God give you His peace, protection, and strength to move with confidence against the disruptive forces in your life. ~ EJ

Christian Fiction Keeps Its Allure

Despite some challenges, the category keeps drawing in publishers—and readers

“Publishing Christian fiction can pay, and pay big, but it’s harder than ever to succeed in the category, publishers say. Many companies have abandoned Christian fiction in recent years and others have cut title output, which can make it seem as though the market is contracting. While Christian fiction seems to be healthy and even growing slightly, just three publishers now take almost half the market,” write Lynn Garrett of Publishers Weekly. “And just a few authors—such as Karen Kingsbury (Brush of Wings) and Wm. Paul Young (The Shack)—tend to dominate sales. In 2017, the prolific Kingsbury has two new titles coming, and, with a just-released movie version of The Shack, Young is doing a booming backlist business. Read the full article.

Record Few Americans Believe Bible Is Literal Word of God

Story Highlights

  • 24% believe Bible is literal word of God, the lowest in Gallup’s 40-year trend
  • View of Bible as secular stories and history at 26%, up from 21% in 2014
  • The largest segment, 47%, still think Bible is inspired word of God

“Fewer than one in four Americans (24%) now believe the Bible is “the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word,” similar to the 26% who view it as “a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.” This is the first time in Gallup’s four-decade trend that biblical literalism has not surpassed biblical skepticism. Meanwhile, about half of Americans — a proportion largely unchanged over the years — fall in the middle, saying the Bible is the inspired word of God but that not all of it should be taken literally.” Read the full story.

Is Mass Market Dying, Or Just Evolving—Again?

“Shelf space for mass market books has indeed continued to shrink in the mass merchandise accounts,” said Jennifer Long, associate publisher at Pocket Books. “This has had little impact on top-tier authors, as they are still given shelf space; however, it does present a challenge for lesser known authors.”

“In steady decline for years, the format is either enduring an incredibly slow death or has begun to right itself in the market,” writes Rachel Deah of Publishers Weekly. “Although the reports of mass market’s death have been greatly exaggerated, the format has been struggling. According to NPD BookScan, which tracks roughly 80% of print sales, mass market titles accounted for 13% of total print units sold in 2013; that figure dropped to 9% last year.” Read the full article.