Q: With all the changes in the entertainment industry (such as movies available to download via Facebook) and in the publishing industry (such as imminent demise of Borders), what do you think the future holds for book authors?
A: The one thing we can be sure about is that, with all this change happening, there will be major impact on what opportunities book authors have for the extension of books beyond traditional publishing or self-publishing.
The April 21st Wall Street Journal had the article “Cheapest E-Books Upend the Charts” by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg. The article began:
“The nation's largest book publishers are facing increasing pricing pressure on the digital front as the number of cheap, self-published digital titles gain popularity with readers seeking budget-minded entertainment.
“Amazon.com Inc.'s top 50 digital best-seller list featured 15 books priced at $5 or less on Wednesday afternoon. Louisville businessman John Locke, for example, a part-time thriller writer whose signature series features a former CIA assassin, claimed seven of those titles, all priced at 99 cents.”
Perhaps the most important information in the article is how Locke isn’t interested in New York publishing houses. Currently he can decide for himself what and when to publish, something that probably isn’t an option with a New York publishing house.
But he has hired a literary agent “to field movie offers and deal with foreign publishers interested in releasing his books overseas.”
Based on the information in the article, I plan to use Kindle Direct Publishing for my novel adaptation of two screenplays about Lt. Commander Mollie Sanders that I wrote with my husband (see www.molliesanders.com). I want to try an experiment publishing this only on Kindle and see what happens. (I first have to finish the adaptation.)
Here is one very important thing we all need to be aware of whether we self-publish, publish with a small publishing house or a large publisher:
We need to keep as many of the rights connected to a book – present and future – that we possibly can.
If delivery platforms are changing practically at the speed of light, as authors we want to be able to take advantage of these new platforms. And even in self-publishing we may not have all the rights we think we do.
I self-published my novel “Mrs. Lieutenant” through Amazon’s BookSurge, which is now folded into Amazon’s CreateSpace. I thought I kept all the rights myself. But do I have the right to change the Kindle price to 99 cents? (I’m in the midst of finding this out.)
Whichever way you publish your books, be sure to read the contracts very, very carefully. (A lawyer who specializes in book contracts is probably a good idea.)
You don’t want to discover that a new delivery platform has been developed but you can’t take advantage of it because you gave away the right that would have allowed you to do so.
O brave new world!
© 2011 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the social media marketing company Miller Mosaic. You can learn about her fiction and nonfiction books at her Amazon author page at http://budurl.com/PZMAmazonpage
* Mrs. Lieutenant is now available on Kindle for 99 cents:http://budurl.com/MrsLTKindle