Sunday, August 24, 2014

Writing and keeping the readers happy!

My degree is in business (accounting was my day job for 15 years until I was able to afford following my dream of writing full time).

Business is a part of the writing life a lot of authors don't like. They want to write! Some enjoy promotion, some don't. Some love to analyze trends and numbers, others don't. We all love to meet readers who like our books but bad reviews sting. We're people but all business is made up of people.

I want to stay in business! I want to keep on writing and sometimes that means dealing with the less fun aspects.

Businesses change. Trends shift. Markets and tastes are hard to track at times. Epubs come and go. Business shifts with things like self publishing and how Amazon ranks books.

E publishing freed a lot of authors from the NY system and provided options. NY is slowly changing and learning what readers what, how they want it, and what is workable in the new marketplace. They have a huge structure that needs to be reorganized.

Still, people are creatures of habit. We get used to a routine and we like it. Sometimes epubs do this as well. It's good to be King of your realm and have it your way.

Here's another way to look at it. Henry Ford once said "they can have any color car as long as it's black."

At that time, Ford at the only reliable/ affordable car for the general population. So if you wanted came to his company and bought what he had stock in or you waited for one.

Power Advantage = Ford.

Is that how it is today?? I drive a Chevy. My sister, a Toyota and the color choices are endless.

Great businessmen (and women) are GREAT because they see the new needs. The NEW opportunities. Ford could play the power game for a while but the competition would catch up. They'd offer more things to get customers to come to them. There will always be competition, problems, and new challenges.

When I was in accounting, I worked with A LOT of salesmen. As a company, we knew who our competitors were (domestic and foreign). You had to fight for business at times--China would undercut pricing etc...

In publishing, we don't want to think about competition. Readers want lots of books! We're all good. All warm fuzzies, hugs, and happy thoughts around. The competition here is very different.

Guess what? It's NOT! Competing salesmen are nice to each other. They don't take it personally if you get a sale and they don't. They just work harder to get it the next time. It's not personal, it's business. They don't go into denial that it's competition but they can be friends too. And if they're both getting screwed by foreign competition, they may even share some data to get that business back in domestic hands.

Friends/ Allies/ Enemies/ Competitors...those are some blurred lines!

Don't fool yourself--we do compete in some ways. Some readers have a limited budget so they may want your book but other authors rank above you. This is a good place to be. We're always trying to improve our writing. Move up to that next level. Strive for excellence...keep writing!

But there are other competing factors. Pricing and location are key and authors with publishers don't control either of those. Publishers need to to do their homework. To understand they (and we authors who self pub some of our work) CAN'T control the consumer. We can suggest/ encourage them to buy in one place over another...but do you want Coca Cola to tell you they'll only be at Costco, not Sam's Club too? Or the other way around? You're the want it where you want it or you might buy an alternative. Whether you're Coke,  Pepsi, or Dr. Pepper...we all want to be in stock on the shelves everywhere we can (EXCEPT pirate sites--but that's another topic).

The customer (the reader) is always right. You want it at it there. IF a publisher wants to entice readers to their site instead...they need to make it worth the effort. Bonus content free? Buy 10 get 1 ebook free (I know many readers who prefer All Romance Ebooks because of this deal and their rebate offers). Epubs can do incentive programs--some do and I don't know that it actually works. Not enough benefit? Or is it just that the readers value the convenience to buy all books in once place more than the individual epub incentives?

As an authors, I want my readers to be happy! That's the smartest business plan any pub (NY or small) can have. The hardest part is finding the info on what's changing and how I need to adjust to be positioned right to keep the readers happy. While I'm busy writing things can change. The market can shift READERS, please tell your favorite authors what you want. Publishers don't always listen to us if you have favorite publishers...tell them too :D Facebook and website with contact info give you the access! Comment and share your opinion! Vote with your reviews if nothing else.

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