Innovations in Publishing
Facilitated by Steve Piersanti, President of LDSPPA and Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Link to full audio file
Marketing and Distribution
- Find more channels to get your digital publications out into the world.
- Don’t need to give up Amazon (Kindle) as publishing platform.
- Diversify: Don’t have all your eggs in one basket—can make you vulnerable.
- Can take years to establish a strongly diversified distribution network.
- Berrett-Koehler’s revenue is 50% Amazon/electronic. Other distributors include IPG, Costco, Ingram, Enthrill (Canada) and Trajectory (China); also corporate, government, and library distributors.
- 60%–65% with Amazon is typical; for some small publishers, it may make sense to keep the percentage that high.
- Print sales just aren’t carrying sales as well as they used to.
- Six or so months. Steve says Berrett-Koehler often does 7–8 months.
- For more info on distribution, read “10 Awful Truths about Book Publishing”
- For fiction, a lot of the market is digital: 10%–15%. Nonfiction is 20%.
- Longer deadlines, can be a headache with employees leaving, not keeping good contact with authors.
- Expect authors to do more of the marketing (interviews, blog posts, book signings, etc.); this shift in roles helps publishers remain solvent.
- Future House Publishing alerts authors that they will have more creative control, so occasionally they suggest that an author self-publish.
- Publishers put the books on the table—have networks of customers and distributors, can handle translation and rights.
- Berrett-Koehler facilitates annual workshops to help authors develop marketing skills.
- Publishing schedules are often driven by Barnes & Noble and other stores; they require a sales presentation/marketing plan/book cover about 6 months before the book is published. Then the stores wait until about 6 weeks before the book comes out to make a final decision on whether to carry the book.
- Berrett-Koehler sends each book to outside reviewers. Review galleys, social media campaigns, authors speaking, email newsletter. First 1–3 months is huge.
- Read “What Good Is a Book Publisher” for other benefits of traditional publishing.
- More books are self-published than published through a traditional publisher.
- It’s hard for authors to get into channels other than Amazon. Have to take on the marketing themselves.
- A lot of books have problems in design or editing or distributing.
- But you have more control; you can make money, can publish faster.
- Every BK publication is simultaneously published as print and also in universal PDF, Kindle, and epub. A lot of channels prefer PDF over epub.
- Digital-only publishing did not work for BK. Works well in some areas of fiction.
- Enhanced ebooks—not just text, but embedded video and audio. Been going for 6–7 years but haven’t really taken off. Marketplace hasn’t really embraced it. Exceptions exist, like test prep.
- Edit electronically—no physical manuscripts.
- Edit in Word with track changes.
- Use XML to organize information.
- More freelance editors than in-house editors. BK has only used freelance editors. Freelance editors are part of production teams: project manager, book designer, copyeditor, proofreader. The teams have various specialties (design, fast turnaround, etc.), and some of the team members have worked together for many years.
- Bay Area editing networks: Publishing Professionals Network, Editcetera.
- LDSPPA’s goal is to become a similar network.