Welcome to my new series, Finding Readers.
There are a lot of us authors and publishers out there, and we’re all competing for a relatively small pool of passionate readers. I often hear “I wish I had more time to read.” We have so many entertainment options available to us. Many of us focus our free time on our families, friends, hobbies and–yes–favorite TV shows or social media sites. It’s imperative, especially in this economic climate, to create quality books and then make them visible and easily available.
Listen to these statistics from a 2011 Motley Fool article: “Out of at least 1.2 million titles published by the entire industry over the course of a year, almost 80% sell fewer than 100 copies. Only a few books at the very top of the sales lists make any real impact. One analysis estimates that only the top 3,000 or so books on Amazon’s sales list will sell 100 or more books a week, depressingly low figures when stretched out over a full year. Top e-books don’t fare much better — the top 1,000 best-sellers sell perhaps 500 copies a week.” (Read the whole article here: Amazon Gets Back to Its Roots.)
For one thing, every author is competing against those other 1.2 million titles (or probably more projected for 2013). But we’re also competing against all those other priorities.
And yet here I am, launching a new small press. I do believe that those of us doing this kind of work right now are filling the large gap between DIY, self-publishing authors and the traditional big New York publishing houses. I love how Kristen Lamb addresses this niche in her 2013 predictions, even mentioning the Espresso Book Machine, which is Forest Avenue Press’ primary printer and distributor.
Many micro presses have started over the years as a way to bring innovative, edgy works into the world. My press has the opposite aim–a rather commercial aim. I want to publish quiet novels. The kind of novels that have been the primary focus of traditional publishers until the high-concept novel, and genre writing, eclipsed them in popularity. I have no statistics on New York’s publishing of, say, YA or mysteries or romances, versus quiet literary novels, but I expect it’d be interesting to compare where the money was going ten or twenty years ago versus 2012.
Point is, I’m setting Forest Avenue Press up to publish a fairly commercial product, and as a result, I want to find as many ways as possible to get my books noticed by the kinds of readers who will connect to them.
Hence the title of this series: Finding Readers.
I have a particular focus: local marketing, including setting up events, writing press releases, connecting to other writers and attending author-oriented events. I’ve promoted Brave on the Page: Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life mostly here in Oregon, with events and press releases in local papers, and I’ll start the series by talking about that experience and what has worked best. As I reach toward national exposure, I’ll share that journey here too. I may also get into some of the nuts and bolts of small press publishing, especially in terms of how those decisions affect finding one’s readers.
While I’ll likely address social media occasionally, it won’t be my main focus. There are plenty of excellent resources online for that kind of promotional advice.
Questions? Thoughts? Comments? I look forward to growing this series, sharing my process and discoveries, and addressing what you guys want to know.