Big Publishers Still Struggling With Digital Marketing

Publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin discusses several examples of publishers misunderstanding digital marketing. It’s a bit of a self-serving ad for his new marketing business, but it’s got a lot of interesting analysis of where the industry is, and where it needs to be, like:

There really are two distinctly separate problems inherent if you want to maximize backlist sales in the digital age. One is the one they are tackling: to get the foundational metadata — the book descriptions and their placement in the information chain — solid so that the titles are called up in response to the searches suggesting a possible customer for them. The other is to build a mechanism to observe the news and social graph each day and to identify the titles that can benefit from new developments. And then, of course, to couple the two in order to optimize a given title or series for the most appropriate semantics to drive both discoverability and conversion in different environments. SEO, yes. But really nuanced and real-time SEO which accounts for fundamental changes in how all the engines work and subtle differences inherent in each. We have our ideas about that engine (and have developed a proposal to address it) but, for now, like that publisher, let’s just worry about the first challenge: getting the backlist metadata foundations right.


Emergence by K. L. Schwengel Released

Emergence, the second book in IMP K. L. Schwengel’s Darkness & Light fantasy series is available now. (The first book in the series can be found here: First of Her Kind)


Emergence, by K.L. Schwengel cover

(Click to buy on Amazon)

The battle for Ciara’s power has drawn the full attention of the Emperor and the Imperial Mages, forcing Bolin to put duty above safety and take her to Nisair. It won’t be an easy trip, even with an Imperial escort and a Galysian elder accompanying them. Especially since Donovan has found himself some new allies, one of who wields a dark magic that has literally gotten under Bolin’s skin.

For Ciara, coming to terms with the increasingly tangible manifestation of her power could destroy her. Even if they make it to Nisair–something that grows more unlikely by the day–there is no surety of safety for Ciara, or any of them. Not with Donovan willing to gamble everything to achieve his goals, or Bolin’s uncharacteristically reckless behavior, the result of which is the attention of something that has everyone worried.

Loyalties will be tested, lives will be lost, and no one will emerge unchanged as they find things are not always so clear on the line dividing Darkness and Light.

Self Publishers: Avoid Autharium

Over at The Passive Voice, there’s an important discussion about Autharium.

On the surface, this looks like the typical aggregating service for self publishers. They take your book and put it on a whole bunch of retailer sites, consolodate all that sales info, and pay it all in one lump sum, all for a small cut of royalties.

While Autharium apparently does those things (and adds some bells and whistles) there is something rather insideous in their terms of service. They say on the surface in various plain-english explanations that they don’t own your copyright, behind the scenes their terms grant them exclusive and perpetual licensed rights to exploit your uploaded content basically forever, even if you remove the story from their site. So, you write the next Fifty Shades or WOOL and suddenly trade publishers are courting you–sorry, those rights are not yours to exploit–they’ll apparently have to negotiate with Autharium.

This is not a self-publishing assist. This is a trade publisher, and a terrible one. Avoid Autharium.

Stick with the tried-and-true Smashwords or the new kid on the block Draft2Digital.