Learning about the Business

Over the weekend, I attended a presentation by author Deb Schneider. She talked about how to write a romance and, more important, how to understand the business.

One of the revelations she had for us was that the billionaire and the virgin trope popular in the category romances baffles many U.S. romance fans because it isn’t intended for us. Those books do well enough in the United States, but their target audience is readers in more conservative cultures around the world. They are extremely popular internationally.

She also discussed the future of publishing. She compared a copy of her newest release, Promise Me, printed by the publisher and one printed at a print-on-demand (POD) kiosk. They were virtually indistinguishable. With the high cost of printing, transporting, warehousing, and returning unsold printed books, POD makes a lot of sense.

And, Schneider shared her thoughts on ebooks and ebook readers. Sales of ebooks grew 176% last year, when most other segments of the book industry saw drops in sales. Yes, they are still a small percentage of the total book market (7%), but with growth like that, how much longer until they represent the majority of sales?

I haven’t yet purchased a POD book, but I am definitely on the ebook bandwagon. I use the Kindle, eReader, and Stanza apps on my iPod Touch, so I’m not wedded to a particular format.

Today, I read a piece on JA Konrath’s blog about a successful Kindle-only author, Karen McQuestion. McQuestion and Konrath both release their books in Kindle at low prices to help potential readers feel good about taking a chance on an unknown author. And they have both seen success with that business model. (Konrath is also a traditionally published author.)

How have you adapted to the changing world of publishing, whether in the romance genre or in other genres?


1 Response to “Learning about the Business”

  1. 21 April, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I have adapted as both a reader and a writer.

    As a writer with a between-the-cracks, cross-category novel, I took advantage of the new worlds of opportunity offered by e-publishing, and will follow with self-publishing to release a print version of the book.

    As a reader, while I still don’t own an e-reading device (mainly because of tight cash flow), I’ve broadened my book sources to feed a five-novels-a-week habit. I buy very few books owing to storage issues. My local libraries are shrinking fast, so I do a lot more book swapping with friends, and participate in the Paperback Book Swap site. I reread things in my home library, bringing new discovery and pleasure from old favorites. I also download free or cheap e-books to flesh out my nonfiction library.

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