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What are would-be authors looking for in the way of opportunity today in Indiana?

GallantFourteenthThe Eugene and Marilyn Glick Authors’ Day drew writers in to workshops most of the day October 29 at the Indianapolis Public Library. Though the evening’s lovely dinner honored author winners of the Glick awards for regional and national excellence, the day was devoted to learning how to write. The Indiana Writers’ Center sponsored workshops on everything from poetry and children’s books to “Getting Started.”

Over 1,000 people are presently writing books in Indiana, an estimate. Probably there are many more. My workshop on “An Overview of the Publishing Industry” saw a varied group assembled to hear about trends and, especially, how a book they have in mind may be brought to realization.

What were they learning? From my perspective, based on the trends obvious and on websites which deal with publishing, the large publishing houses are down in their profits. Bookstores are disappearing, the ebook market has cut into profits (40% of sales are ebook sales) and, particularly, “Indy” publishing is on the rise, constituting up to 40% of book sales, print and ebook.

Amazon, of course, remains like the giant in “Jack and the Beanstalk,” up there on the high clouds and accounting for the majority of all book sales in America, (60%) scary and hard to approach. Indy publishing finds a place there through Create Space and Kindle, where an ebook may be posted in several ways, returning a tiny bit of royalty or nothing, free—to give the book exposure.

What is Indy publishing? It doesn’t mean publishing in Indianapolis, though some of it is there. We used to call it self publishing and people scorned it, considering it “vanity.” They are singing a very different tune now. Authors develop their own book projects in a business-like way and keep major (or minor) receipts.  Many, many people are finding ways to have their books professionally edited, created in a current way through many new graphics artists and marketed in a hundred ways through the new media. Blogs, blog bundling, email blasts, Twitter, utilization of sites like “Good Reads” where books are reviewed, and especially smart marketing by offering series, prizes, special friend information— and free books, free books.

Smart people are making thousands of dollars using the net to get the word around and create an impression that their book is desirable and highly readable. If an election can be won or threatened through electronic media, you can be sure that information about a book can be spread around the state, the nation and the world. It is a totally new world, and those finishing a book are avid to know how they too can enter the social media extravaganza.

 

Words of warning: as in the election, there are traps. Internet marketing isn’t easy, not everybody can do it at all, and the rewards may be minimal. Every author still needs to consider the traditional ways of promoting books.

Next blogs: “Taking the agent/traditional publisher route”

and “Indy Publishing: Make it a Success.”

Nancy Niblack Baxter is Senior Editor at Hawthorne Publishing. She is the author of eleven books. Click back to the website and see some of them to order!