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?