Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Output Insights

I recently attended a conference on internet publishing organized by the New York City chapter of RWA. The day was immensely informative. Though I found one segment perplexing.

My agenda was to pick up tips on e-book promotion. One of the speakers addressed that exact topic. An energetic author with a professional demeanor. I’ll call her Anna.

She spoke of her experience marketing her e-books on line. “I went from a few copies here and there to selling a truckload,” she said.

She quoted a number that certainly sounded like a truckload to me. Then she moved on as if no further explanation was needed. My hand shot immediately into the air.

“What were your promotion techniques?” I asked.

She claimed to have done no online promotion. I wasn’t buying that but I shut up for a bit anyway. Eventually she did say that her road to the truckload involved frequency of publication.

“How frequent?” I shouted no longer able to maintain my non-troublemaker guise.

"Once a month," she said.

My heart plummeted. There’s no way I could manage that. Same for most of the authors I know. Though Anna did allow that some of those pubs were short pieces.

Then I remembered Jo Beverley. I was her agent until I retired but we first worked together when I was an editor. Jo came to that relationship with two huge advantages.

First she is remarkably talented. Read any of her books and you’ll find that to be remarkably true.

Second she had a backlog of unpublished novels and a couple of novellas also as I recall. Together these advantages presented me with a winning strategy.

We’d submit Jo’s gems to be released one after the other. Not so fast that they’d glut to market. Fast enough to grow her name recognition in record time. Not a book a month of course. This was print publishing after all.

The strategy worked. A pile of stellar reviews later Jo was a star. She’s kept on shining ever since.

My point is this. If you’ve been authoring for long you most likely have a backlog of your own. Lying fallow among old files. Hiding on your hard drive.

Open up those oldies. You just might find some digital darlings among the leftovers of your analog days. And they just might upload you into output mode.

Maybe not once a month. But possibly on the delivery schedule your career truckload requires.

No comments: