Your Book’s Back Matter: The E-book Advantage

Once the story is over, everything after that is back matter, which can include anything from author biographies to indexes. E-books have unique advantages over print books when using back matter as a marketing tool. Back matter is most effective as a passive marketing tool where publishers and authors fill these pages with promotions and other information for their readers.  Passive marketing is a beneficial and desirable form of marketing because, once in place, it requires little to no effort on the author’s part to be effective in selling her books.

Print books have page limits on their back matter because of how the printing process works, and these limits will be especially true for traditionally published books. Physical books are printed in signatures, typically in groups of 16 or 32 pages. If you are traditionally published, how much back matter you can include will be determined by how many pages in the signature are left after the end of your story and if you request to have back matter. A publisher will only sometimes include it on their own, and it needs to fit in whatever pages are left over. Anything longer, and the publisher will want an excellent reason to pay for another signature.

Printing cost is not a problem for e-books, and a digital format does not have page constraints. If you wanted, you could have zero back matter at the end of your e-book, letting the book stop at “the end.” However, if you are self-publishing, you will miss a huge opportunity if you don’t use back matter. A reader who has gotten to the back matter of your book is a reader who has finished your book presumably because they loved your writing and just had to finish the story you were telling them. In book marketing, this position is a good one. Once you’ve drawn a reader in, you just have to keep them wanting more; this is where the use of back matter shines.

As a self-published author, you can leverage your back matter as a marketing tool in many ways.  Where you are in your publishing career affects how best to use your back matter, and the most essential step is to figure out where you want the reader to go next. Is this your first book? Send them to your website or the sign-up page for your mailing list. Are you writing a series, or do you already have multiple books published? Send the reader to the next book of yours they should read with links to that book. Make it easy for them to know what you want them to do. That next step should be the first page of your back matter.

If the next step is sending the reader to buy another of your books, remember when including buy links in your back matter that each vendor will need links to return to their own store. For example, back matter on a book purchased from Amazon should never have links to the Google Play or Nook store. You must create separate back matter for each vendor-specific version of your book. This process seems time-consuming, but you can make it easier for yourself if all your back matter is identical, except for the links.

It is essential to keep the back matter of your book updated. Authors should keep all links to a website, mailing list sign-ups, and other books as current as possible to benefit most from this form of marketing. Independent authors should update the back matter of their e-books whenever they change their website URL or switch to another mailing list servicer.

Keeping all this information current is not necessarily possible with a traditionally published or printed book. Traditionally published authors have to seek permission from their publishers to update back matter, and since new back matter in this format includes a new printing cost, it is entirely up to the publisher if they will make the change.

Even if you publish independently, e-books will always be more effective at marketing with back matter than printed books. Back matter in printed books is static. That copy will always remain the same. An author can update her back matter in future printed editions, which means constantly gaining new readers who will see the updates. Marketing to gain new readers is not passive, which negates using back matter as a form of passive marketing. Changes to an e-book’s back matter automatically happen for anyone who owns the book, giving them access to the new information without any extra work on the reader’s part.

Even though print costs for the number of pages do not constrain e-book length, it is wise to keep the back matter of your book shorter. E-readers track a book’s length by estimated page count or percentage left, and your readers will use these numbers to track their progress through a story.  If too many pages or too large of a percentage is left after the reader sees “the end,” it can have a negative psychological effect, making them feel cheated out of an entire book.

In book marketing, e-books have a clear advantage over printed books, and self-published authors have a clear advantage over traditionally published authors regarding back matter. This passive marketing tool is an excellent way to keep readers already interested in your books from looking elsewhere for the next thing to read.

Exploring the World of On-Demand StoryCraft

The emergence of on-demand freelance platforms has brought about a significant upheaval in the storytelling industry. These platforms are becoming more than just intermediaries; they are becoming potent tools that democratize access to narrative services on a global scale. Using meticulous planning and a relentless pursuit of excellence, authors and clients collaborate to create stories that are dynamic examples of group creation. The future of storytelling is emerging as a dynamic and inclusive experience, paving the way for a revolution in narrative construction as varied perspectives come together on these platforms.

On-Demand Storytelling Platforms

The rise of platforms like Fiverr marks a significant shift in how stories are created and consumed. These platforms, acting as dynamic marketplaces for writers, surpass their role as mere facilitators of creative exchanges; they emerge as powerful instruments propelling the democratization of access to storytelling services. This democratization, enhanced by the global connectivity facilitated by platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, PeoplePerHour, and Truelancer, has fundamentally transformed the conception and realization of narratives.

The accessibility offered by these platforms goes beyond traditional limitations, facilitating connections and collaborations between writers and clients from diverse backgrounds worldwide. Whether hailing from Mexico, Denmark, Estonia, or any corner of the globe, both sellers and buyers can engage, breaking down geographical constraints and fostering an exchange of cultural perspectives. This global interconnectivity transforms storytelling into a collaborative endeavor where diverse voices converge, giving rise to narratives inspired by a mosaic of cultures, languages, and lived experiences.

The democratic nature of these platforms goes beyond geographical inclusivity to address accessibility on multiple fronts. By providing a level playing field for writers of varying expertise and backgrounds, these platforms empower storytellers who might not have had traditional avenues to showcase their skills. This democratization of opportunities ensures that a spectrum of voices contributes to the evolving narrative landscape.

The creative process revolves around writer-client interactions in the complex dance of on-demand narrative. Examining these connections’ dynamics is more than just working together; it’s a complex conversation in which knowing the expectations and preferences of the customer is crucial. See “How to Make Money on Fiverr, According to 5 Freelance Writers” for helpful advice on navigating the freelancing world and optimizing profits on sites such as Fiverr. These firsthand accounts illuminate effective tactics and serve as a priceless tool for writers seeking to establish rapport, satisfy clients, and improve their expertise in the field of on-demand storytelling.

The Collaborative Nature of On-Demand Storytelling

In on-demand storytelling, clients and writers engage in a thorough process of collective brainstorming. This involves a deep exploration of every aspect of the narrative, from character characteristics to the backgrounds of fictional worlds. Clients provide detailed outlines that encapsulate the essence of their envisioned story, covering details like the color of characters’ hair to the story of how they lost their parents.

This collaborative venture goes beyond traditional storytelling dynamics. Clients present intricate outlines resembling blueprints, serving as a roadmap for the narrative journey. The process involves a dynamic exchange of questions and clarifications to articulate the vision precisely. Clients, as the architects of their stories, strive for perfection, ensuring every aspect aligns with their intended narrative.

What sets this collaborative narrative creation apart is the unprecedented involvement of clients in shaping their envisioned story. They have the freedom to introduce changes, add details, and influence the narrative direction based on evolving preferences. This level of client engagement marks a departure from traditional storytelling, creating a symbiotic dance where the client’s vision comes to life with meticulous care.

On-demand storytelling platforms have ushered in a new era where collaboration is elevated. The intricate dance between clients and writers, fueled by detailed outlines and a commitment to perfection, results in narratives that are living manifestations of collaborative creativity. This paradigm shift acknowledges the significance of the client’s narrative vision, making each storytelling venture a truly bespoke and engaging experience.

Adding to the significance of this collaborative approach, a noteworthy 76% of consumers affirm their inclination towards personalized brands, as revealed by McKinsey. This profound impact of tailored storytelling extends far beyond mere purchasing decisions, seeping into realms of recommendations and fostering enduring relationships for repeat business. This shift underscores the compelling need for narratives that resonate intimately with the audience, making on-demand platforms pivotal in shaping the future of storytelling.

Diversity in Client Requests

The kaleidoscope of storylines that emerges from the tapestry of client requests on these dynamic platforms reflects the vast diversity of the worldwide community they represent. These platforms provide writers with a wide range of storytelling requirements covering the whole gamut of human experience. The world of on-demand storytelling is vast and eclectic, ranging from moving narratives of actual events that clients themselves have gone through to creative endeavors where clients imagine themselves being seamlessly integrated into their favorite TV shows, unleashing their own sense of havoc in their favorite fictional worlds.

Beyond the confines of the traditional narrative, this variety presents both opportunities and problems. Writers could be asked to create tales that dive into well-known characters from different universes, with clients requesting stories that take these characters in novel and surprising directions. Fanfiction’s terrain continues to grow, incorporating crossovers between characters from different fictional universes, such as the colorful Anime worlds of One Piece and Dragon Ball Z, to the melodrama world of The Vampire Diaries, or the thrilling adventures of Kim Possible. The fact that clients aren’t restricted to pre-existing universes speaks volumes about the limitless inventiveness spurred by their brilliant imaginations. They also commission the development of whole new worlds, which are painstakingly planned out with their own magic systems and subtleties.

Within this broad and varied field, on-demand narrative serves as a medium for the realization of hopes and ambitions, with writers deftly navigating the complexities of their clients’ goals. The art of the storyteller becomes a flexible collection of tools that adjusts to the needs of customers who want stories that go beyond the typical and explore worlds that are limited to their imaginations.

Overcoming Challenges

On-demand storytelling is a collaborative and diversified field that offers a unique set of complex issues in the digital marketplace between customers and suppliers, despite its tremendous rewards. Language boundaries present a significant challenge for writers operating in this complicated environment, possibly impeding the smooth translation of cultural quirks and customer expectations.

As writers attempt to properly connect their creative vision with the details given by customers, misinterpreting their demands becomes a fine line to tread. Another issue is estimating the word count and the amount of time needed to finish the story; this requires finding a careful balance between fulfilling the client’s deadlines and producing a thorough narrative.

Adding to this multifaceted landscape is the nuanced nature of communication. An interesting phenomenon comes to light where women often feel compelled to include exclamation points in their messages to avoid appearing rude, a concern less prevalent for men who can provide concise responses without similar apprehension. This highlights the subtleties woven into the fabric of digital interactions, where gendered expectations impact communication styles in the on-demand storytelling arena.

There’s also the possibility of disgruntled customers requesting cancellations heightens the dynamics of buyer-seller relationships. There’s then a delicate dance to play, with writers having to choose between politely accepting cancellations or negotiating and trying to find a solution. Potential fallout includes the potential for unfavorable evaluations, which would complicate the digital partnership even more and highlight how important it is to live up to customer expectations.

The Future

The popularity of on-demand storytelling services portends a revolution in the craft of narrative writing. These platforms are developing into centers for cutting-edge narrative strategies as they move beyond conventional markets. Fueled by a variety of customer requests, writers are likely to try out novel frameworks and immersive experiences. These platforms are setting the standard for collaboration in the entertainment industry. Filmmaking, gaming, and other industries may follow suit, changing the way viewers engage with media.

The wide range of requests from clients serves as a spark for more inclusive stories, which affects storytelling in television, movies, and books. A new wave of voices may emerge as a result of the democratization of narrative skills, changing the composition of the storytelling community and bringing new viewpoints to creative ecosystems. The teamwork method increases audience participation and may serve as an example for future storytelling that emphasizes group experiences.

Traversing the E-book Subscription Frontier

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In a world of subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, and Apple Music, e-book distributors are attempting to explore this new frontier by offering subscription services for e-books, audiobooks, magazines, and more. 

Why Subscribe to Books? 

With the prevalence of streaming services, it makes a lot of sense that electronic book distributors would attempt to get in on the on-demand game in order to better ensure the security of their books. After all, e-book piracy is just as common as movie or music piracy. It isn’t hard to find a digital copy of a book and just put it up on a file-sharing website – or worse, someone may go to the effort to photocopy a physical copy of a book and upload that file.  Even Google cannot escape issues of Fair Use and copyright when it comes to digitally distributing books. 

As a way of stopping piracy, groups looking to distribute books are now offering a subscription to the very books people are stealing. This way, those who would pirate the books out of convenience have ease and accessibility to books that they want, and distributors have a legal subscription model that covers their backs in the copyright issues. 

Top E-book Subscription Contenders 

For readers unsure of what subscription service to use, Make Use Of  mentions six services that are going strong, and Book Riot has a list of 17 options available in 2019. Between these and other articles, two names rise to the top.

Scribd, an organization started in 2009, launched their subscription in 2013 and have had a fair amount of success at their price of $8.99/month. They offer over 500,000 books, as well as plenty of audiobooks, articles, documents, and magazines, at a rate that is lower than much of the competition. They were the quasi-pioneers in this world of e-book subscription services. 

The other popular option is Kindle Unlimited (KU). Amazon’s own service is priced at $9.99/month or $59.99/six-months with frequent “50% off for six months” deals. Like Scribd, Kindle Unlimited also offers audiobooks and magazines.

With both services, you can listen to or read as much diverse content as you could realistically want or hope to consume in a reasonable amount of time. The difference, then, comes down to convenience and exclusive content. 

The price for KU is not particularly competitive unless you snag the 50% off deal, but you can, however, use your Kindle – and, considering Kindle products make up three of 2019’s top five e-readers, Kindle Unlimited already has a large install base of people committed to reading e-books. All those readers have to do is click a button and they’re in the service. It’s quick and easy, and suddenly over 1 million books are available. 

Book Riot points out that Amazon does not have an unlimited deal with every publisher that they have on the main website: thus while it has more books in general, it doesn’t stand out in its list of best sellers. You’ll still find yourself paying for some more recent and popular books. Furthermore, Amazon only offers 61 magazines. That’s enough to keep anyone busy, but a quick glance through the cheaper service, Scribd, and its selection shows significantly more magazines than that (in addition to individually searchable articles and documents). Ultimately, it’s clear that Scribd can fill more specific magazine niches. 

Niche Services 

For readers looking for something other than e-books, some more audience-specific services do exist. Marvel Unlimited allows unparalleled access to over 25,000 Marvel comics anywhere you want for only $9.99/Month, and Amazon has a service called ComiXology that has 20,000 “comics and manga from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, and other publishers.”  ComiXology Unlimited is free to subscribers for the first 30 days, but is then $5.99/month. Unlimited offers exclusive members discounts and unlimited reading anywhere.

Epic! has unlimited access to 35,000 books, videos, and quizzes aimed at children 12 years of age and younger. Due to the increasingly expanding nature of digital publishing, readers have a lot of unique options for subscription services. 

Is an E-book Subscription Worthwhile? 

Subscription reading services are cool on the surface, but you may be wondering if it’s really worth it. Subscription services for movies or TV shows makes sense: we can pay $109.99 for all of Breaking Bad by itself. Or, we can watch the whole thing on Netflix in a few months, watch a two-hour movie every night of the month, and the occasional documentary while only paying $12.99/month.  

Not to mention, new Blu-Ray discs of movies can cost anywhere from $5.00 to $30.00 on Amazon. As such, watching two new movies on Netflix, or three to four older movies, could make the cost of the service for the month in the span of a couple days. And Hulu (with ads) is cheaper than Netflix, making it easier to make up the cost if you so desire. 

For e-book subscriptions, a reader can order the entire hardback Harry Potter series for $122.99 from Walmart, or they can read the entire series on Kindle Unlimited for $9.99 a month. 

So, what kind of reading do you need to do to make up the cost of a subscription e-book service? Apparently, $3.99 is the sweet spot for selling e-books. So, a service that costs $8.99-$9.99 means you’re going to have to read at least two, maybe three e-books to validate the cost.  

When Kindle Unlimited launched, most titles were only worth $0.99 to $4.99. Sure, it has gotten better as time goes on, but most book services will run into this same issue. You would have to read about five to ten books to make that cost back, and many of them are probably books you haven’t heard of. And books can be long — significantly longer than movies and TV shows.  

If you look at the length of audiobooks, it’s not entirely uncommon to have an audiobook listening time of more than 24 hours total for the same price as a Blu Ray disc. Some books are significantly longer, like Stephen King’s It, which has a listening time of almost 45 hours. You’re getting a lot of time out of that book, certainly, but that’s just one book. It may be better for certain readers to just buy that one book than to subscribe to a service where they will only read it once. 

You have to be an incredibly voracious reader to get an appropriate amount of value out of a subscription reading service. Basically, if you read two books a month, then it may be more cost effective to buy them outright. 

Also, the unlimited e-book subscription services are still figuring some details out regarding royalties. Written Word Media mentions some interesting things about Kindle Unlimited, for example. While it used to be that someone adding the book to their library by buying it was enough to get the author paid, now people have to physically enter and read the book for the author to see a cent of payment. Not to mention, Scribd has changed their plan from unlimited downloads, to limited, to unlimited a few times, causing distrust with its subscriber base. 

While the niche services seem like a good idea as well, their contracts don’t seem to include a free range of books – rather, they offer discounts to members for comics and figurines. This lack of contract clarity can be confusing for new subscribers.

The world of subscription e-book services is a real frontier’s frontier. It adds the debate about the viability of subscription services to the already fluid world of digital publishing. The royalty model, in addition to the low average price of books in the services, indicates that e-book subscription services may not be worth it for the average reader or the author. However, the world of subscription e-book services, like any digitally published form of entertainment, is constantly evolving, growing, failing, and triumphing anew. It’s up to individual readers like us to decide when to move out west. 

Sell Yourself First

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Self-publishing digital content can grow to be an incredibly lucrative business. Although individuals might feel like it is easier to publish their work, rather than dealing with big businesses and the possibility of rejection letters, that means the work falls on the writer’s shoulders.

But the work of self-publishing does not have to be daunting. With proper preparation, publishing the individual’s work can be incredibly rewarding. Self-publishers have to consider everything that any company would when marketing a book or any other content.

Authors who make content that might not be picked up by larger publishers can find an income from self-publishing and marketing themselves and their writing. The author can find an alternate route, through digital publishing, that is not readily available to print publishers.

Effective self-publishers should begin marketing their content before the content is even complete. At this point, they are marketing themselves, and perhaps some previous writing they have done. For those without previous writing, they are marketing themselves as an author.

 YouTube has become one of the tools of marketing. A community of “BookTubers” exists on YouTube that discusses books with their fans, and some are currently working on projects.

Popular “BookTuber” Savannah Brown, with roughly half a million subscribers, recently posted a video about how her self-published book of poetry sold 20,000 copies. For the past five years, on and off, she has been able to posts poetry videos. Then for two years, she has been posting various snippets of the writing process and has accumulated a following that would go on to purchase her books. Although she did not digitally publish, she self-published to Amazon through their print on demand service (copies of her book are printed only when they are bought).

The service she uses for print on demand is Kindle Direct Publishing, which allows anyone to publish their book with Amazon freely. Writers can “earn up to 70% royalty on Kindle eBook and 60% on paperback sales.”

Brown talks openly about pricing, especially regarding her first attempt to publish her book of poetry with a small publishing company that she worked directly with, and it adds up to roughly $1,000. However, through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, the fees are minimal until they take a 30% royalty fee.

However, there are plenty of platforms to self-publish on. Brown talks about building an audience so that new writers are not throwing a book into the void of these platforms.

She expresses how she had garnered a following through YouTube long before she ever published her first book. She states how people can develop a following on Instagram. With social media, a single author can reach millions of people and is the most effective way to build an audience when self-publishing.

Building an audience is slow-going, even with an interesting novel idea. In some cases, it requires that the author goes viral in some meaningful way so that an influx of people go to their social media.

Digital publishing expert David Gaughran talks about:”

a completely different approach to marketing is emerging, based on a constant drip approach, heavy on email marketing, big on lead-gen ads, adopting a ‘micro-targeting’ approach to finding readers.

Email marketing allows authors to develop a loyal audience. Emails go directly to the audience, rather than posting exclusively on social media and hoping they will come across it. Blogging can be another effective way of garnering an audience, especially because your readers already enjoy reading lengthy posts. Typically, bloggers will have a pop-up on their website, inviting people to sign up for their email subscription.

Perhaps the most important part of social media marketing is engaging with your audience. Depending on the author and the genre, they will have to create an audience that is most likely to be drawn to their writing. For young adult novelists, their audience might be found more on Instagram or Snapchat. Something more niche, like magical realism, might find an audience in blogging and advertising on all social media, including Facebook pages.

Advertising is another important step in marketing. Advertisements cost per day, and the cost increases based on how long it will run and how many users the ad will reach — all of the marketing for a novel starts with the individual advertising themselves and their social media. Facebook or Instagram are payable platforms to broadcast a post or photograph to the rest of its users.

Once an author has developed a loyal audience self-publishing a book does not seem nearly as daunting. If Properly done, the audience will enjoy the author and the work they have previously read and more than willing to buy the book.

Many of these steps can be repeated and continued to grow a larger following and sell more books after you have already published your book. With curating a following on social media comes more opportunities for cash flow, more eyes on the individual and their work. The possibilities are endless, and, with self-publishing, they are all in your hands.

Data Analysis for the Publishing World

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The digital publishing environment has transformed into a business that requires authors and publishers to explore data capture tools to stay relevant. Kevin Petrie, Dan Potter, and Itamar Ankorion, authors of the free e-book Streaming Change Data Capture: A Foundation for Modern Date Architectures found on Qlik  write:

Data is creating massive waves of change and giving rise to a new data-driven economy that is only beginning. Organizations in all industries are changing their business models to monetize data, understanding that doing so is critical to competition and even survival.

A good bit of the data analysis explored in this text focuses on big businesses, such as Ford or Fanatics. But digital publishing is a business in and of itself.

The data collected by big business matters for the small business entrepreneur as well; they need the same information to intelligently navigate the field. Although curated analyses such as these are difficult to access for the average Joe, one could take a single Google search and transform it into usable data easily.

Publishing Parameters

The content authors release should fill spaces that are most likely to host the author’s target audience; whether the author writes textbooks on Medieval literature or high fantasy fiction novels, each topic requires its own audience.

The audience’s age, profession, education, and interests form the foundations of publishers’ data analysis. All of these factors contribute to what each reader wants and where they will retrieve the content from. An academic audience might be less likely to search for textbooks for an e-reader but would rather search on Chegg Books, whereas high fantasy seekers might search Amazon or Barnes and Noble for these novels.

Keep in mind that publishing for specific e-readers (like the Kindle) isn’t smart either, though, seeing as “sales of e-reader devices are falling rapidly.” However, Amazon provides a free Kindle app for smartphones, and according to Derek Haines people are using their cell phones to read e-books more than ever. While e-reader sales decline, e-books continue to rise in popularity for this reason. Amazon’s e-reader might not be declining, but their free app is readily available for the few who might loyally continue using the device.

The Methods of Data Collection

Most publishing services provide a dashboard for screening published material’s visitors. Adobe’s Audience Manager also offers a popular data management service. Otherwise, a tracking pixel, or a graphic that tracks user behavior and other information, can be activated on the publisher’s website to gather this sort of data. Facebook also provides a way to create a pixel to add to the publisher’s website.

Minute details such as how the audience will read their e-books are important factors of data analysis. Given these findings, the author must consider font, type size, and other features that they otherwise would not have because their audience is more likely to be reading on a smartphone.

Uses for Data in Digital Publishing

In an interview between the head of Global Automated Monetization at Watson Advertising and eMarketer’s Ross Benes, they discussed how “few publishers have created new revenue lines out of their data, even though the digital publishing industry is struggling during a time when data is alleged to be the new oil” Rather than just selling the information to publisher’s advertising clients, as many already do, it should be used to strengthen their own business

SailThru provides guidance on how to use the 1st party data that comes from the audience to create a better publishing business.

  1. Develop ownership of an audience
  2. Personalize content that people will pay for
  3. Sell a better audience to advertisers
  4. Use a subscription model

All of these ideas can be implemented at the self-publishing level and higher.

The collection of data is also beneficial for the consumer because the content they will receive will be more tailored to their interests. Consuming this content will be more worthwhile, worthy of precious time and money: both publisher and consumer benefit from this collection of data.

Proceeding with Data Incorporation

With Facebook’s recent data breach breaking headlines, it is in the user’s best interest to carefully vet the institutions privy to the collected materials. Along the lines of best practices, usually, publishers decide what to do with the data they receive from their audience.

They can easily put the information out onto the internet for any advertiser to purchase, but they should be selective with who the information is shared with and who it is purchased by so that the audience does not end up finding out that their information was spread on the internet and feel betrayed.

With these best practices and publishers can make data analysis into an incredible tool for identifying the biggest source of income. People want to feel like their money is serving them well, and investing it into a business that prioritizes things that interest them will make people feel better about spending their money on the publisher’s product and content.

The Aesthetics of E-book Publication

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When writing an e-book, one of the biggest considerations concerning the aesthetics of the publication is that of profit. Knowing the market is important for the publication of any work -physical or electronic – but the e-book market has special considerations, including whether the length of the work effects its earnings. Overall, while shorter e-books sell the best, it is the content of the work itself that really makes a difference in e-book sales.

Length, Genre, and the E-book Market

Every genre has a different average number of pages per book. The word count depends on what the author wants to achieve with their work. The author has to both consider their audience – some audiences prefer longer books with extensive details, while others enjoy books with simple, easy to follow plotlines – and examine how much content they have to write about. According to Catia Shattuck (Links to an external site.), writer for Book Cave (Links to an external site.), “The average nonfiction [print] book is about 50,000 to 75,000 words, which is about 153 to 230 ebook pages. A minimum [word] count for a nonfiction ebook is about 10,000 words, as long as the content is solid.”

Meanwhile, works of fiction average “about 80,000 to 100,000 words, which is about 246 to 307 ebook pages.”  The shortest of all the book genres is fiction novellas. Shattuck says that “fiction novellas are usually 32,000 to 55,000 words, which is 100 to 170 ebook pages. Short stories are even shorter (of course), but are often 99 cents or free because readers will feel cheated otherwise.”

I have personally felt that I can read e-books much quicker than I can read physical print books – though this may be because e-books tend to be shorter.  Derek Haines (Links to an external site.), writer for Just Publishing Advice, said “By chance, I was looking at the Amazon Kindle Store and clicked on an ebook listed in the top twenty bestsellers. I scanned down the book’s details and was surprised to note that the ebook was listed as being only 105 pages in length.” (105 pages is about the length of an average fiction novella.)

Shorter e-books tend to sell better because of the nature of e-books. People carry their e-readers with them almost everywhere they go, and can quickly take them out in the airport, coffee shop, wine bar, and doctor office waiting room. Haines writes,

All of these situations though are prone to interruption, unlike reading a long work of speculative fiction while in bed or lazing on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon. In these situations, light, short reads would make sense and would give a good reason as to why short ebooks are popular and sell well. Sure, there are reasons to publish long, but it appears that there is definitely a new reading market, for selling short stories. For authors, it creates new possibilities. It opens the door to write short story collections, novellas or prose fiction.

E-book Pricing

There are quite a few other factors when it comes to pricing of e-books, including the popularity of the author. A Stephen King novel is obviously going to be more popular than a Kha’Doe Crosby novel, which explains why Stephen King’s new novel is priced at $14.99 in the iBook store while a run-of-the-mill book is priced around $9.99.

Even though popularity plays a big part in pricing, length is still a major consideration. Most customers will feel ripped off if they were forced to pay $15 for an e-book that is only 32 pages. Fiction books prices tend to vary from author to author – at the moment the average price is $9.99.

Non-fiction books can be slightly more expensive than other genres. “Nonfiction ebooks are often shorter than fiction, and yet are generally more expensive,” Shattuck writes. “This is because they require more research and fact-checking and can become valuable resources to readers.”

Overall, when writing a manuscript for an e-book it’s important for writers to remember not to let a designated word count get in the way of their content. Rather than obsessing over the length of a work, writers should look at whether their manuscript has a detailed and cohesive plot, interesting characters, and an introduction and ending that keep readers hooked and looking for more. Though the aesthetic and physical factors of the novel shouldn’t be ignored, ultimately, it’s the content that will sell the e-book to audiences looking for their next literary journey. 

Podcasting for Publishers

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Up and coming publishers are turning to podcasts to jump start their digital publishing careers. Podcasting provides the audience versatile and varied content through short audio-based episodes. They favor the medium because it requires very little in the ways of technology and production budget.

David Winer developed podcasts in 2004, but Adam Curry popularized the medium. Winer created  the RSS, or “Really Simple Syndicating” to launch his show Morning Coffee Notes but due to Curry’s notoriety from his time with MTV, his program grew more influential, much faster.

Wired claims Curry’s audience grew from 500, 000 to over a million in just one year, thanks in part  to iTunes’ support of podcasts in 2005. Now, it mainly appeals to people who look for content on the go. According to Shiva Bhaskar, “There are over 525,000 active podcasts, with over 18.5 million episodes produced,” as of 2018.

Thorpe claims in “Why Should Publishers Start A Podcast?” that a third of the world’s population listens to them:

Podcasts are taking off around the world due to better content and easier distribution. According to the Reuters Digital News Report 2019, more than a third (36%) of people around the world listen to a podcast at least monthly, and this rises to half for those under 35. In fact, listeners in the US now spend over six hours each week on podcasts, listening to seven episodes a week on average.

The Power of Podcasts

Podcasts provide the audience with personable content that plays into publishers’ strengths. The production cost pales in comparison to other personal media such as video streaming.  The audio episodes also promote flexibility in content such as storytelling, news reporting, education, or opinionated discussion.

In “5 Key Podcasting Trends from the Digital News Report 2019 ,” surveyors asked listeners why they chose this specific medium. Listeners responded that they either wanted to stay up to date on topics of personal interest (46%) or learn about something new (39%). Researchers also found that young people ages 18-24 were almost three times more likely to consume podcasts regularly compared to their 55+ aged counterparts.

The storytelling aspect of the platform plays a vital role for publishers. Stories allow humans to shape the way they see and understand the world. Podcasts stimulate  the imagination and portray the “richness of the human experience.” Shiva Bhaskar explains,

Storytelling appears to have evolutionary roots, as it can help foster cooperation amongst people in a society, and those who tell good stories, are often preferred social partners, and likely to have more children.

Publishers can take advantage of this aspect and insert themselves into the rapidly growing broadcasting platform. Shelley Seale states , “Podcasts are emerging as one of the most significant and exciting cultural innovations of the new century” because they afford an intimacy between audience and host that fosters a devoted fanbase.  Podcasts allow viewers to put voices to their favorite works.

Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis

The platform provides hosts a way to interact with their viewers for prolonged periods:  hour-long episodes fill the podcast world and let hosts thoroughly work through ideas in ways shorter media forms do not. They also don’t face the same criticism  that promotional print material or video streaming does; “Podcasts also offer a potentially more trustworthy alternative to the plethora of false information out there.”

Though, starting out from scratch in a new medium intimidates some people, consistency in streaming helps ensure profit. Also, most episodes pause regular programming to play ads or promote brands. That influence aspect of the episodes opens up possibilities for secondary revenue. Owens claims, “Between 2017 and 2018, brand advertising jumped from 25 percent of all podcast ads to 38 percent, and this year it’ll likely overtake direct response advertising.”

Owens also explains that podcasts offer companies other streams of revenue besides just ads: businesses can “mine the podcast interviews for additional article content,“ as well as host live tours and drive listeners to subscribe to memberships, receiving profit from ticket sales and membership costs.

About 75% of publishers host some podcast, and the medium’s influence grows stronger each year. Podcasting pushes producers to build an audience in the growing digital market. The viewers get unique, quality content, and publishers get a new environment to capitalize on.

Publishing Engaging Facebook Content

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Content creators must know how to publish effective content on Facebook in order to engage an audience. According to “News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2018” by Elisa Shearer and Katerina Eva Matsa, “Facebook is still far and away the site Americans most commonly use for news, with little change since 2017. About four-in-ten Americans (43%) get news on Facebook.”

How you write your content, what you include in your message, and when you post are critical in ensuring your Facebook audience likes, shares, and reads your posts.

How You Write

Your posts should be roughly 111 characters, according to CoScheduleCoSchedule’s Social Message Optimizer is a free tool you can utilize to gauge whether your content is designed well for social media.

Write a positive message to maximize potential audience engagement. According to Scott Ayers, “The items that get the most shares on Facebook tend to be those things that are positive, inspirational and/or funny. People might agree with your negative sentiments—but they will hold back the Likes, Comments and Shares because they don’t want to be perceived as negative.”

Use an emoji  🙂 in your content. After I typed in a test post in CoSchedule’s Social Message Optimizer it explained that using one emoji would have made my post stronger. Ayer’s conducted an experiment on emoji use and found that posts had increased “engagement 23.78% higher with emojis” and also had “clicks 28.87% higher with emojis.”

What to Include

A call to action is a sign of a strong post. Ayer’s writes that “my experience is that if you give people a little push and some clear direction, you will see results.” For example, if you want people to sign your petition you shared on Facebook, tell them to click the link and what to do from there.

Include a link to engage more people on Facebook. CoSchedule’s Social Message Optimizer states that a link “is the best-performing message type for Facebook.”

When You Post

According to CoSchedule, posting on Saturday and Sunday typically increases a post’s engagement by 32%; furthermore, Thursday and Friday can increase a post’s engagement by 18%.

“More upbeat content does best on Friday” according to data explained in Mark Schenker’s “7 Facebook Engagement Strategies to Get You More Customers.”

9:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:00 PM are the best times to publish your content on Facebook. These times are both explicitly stated in Schenker’s article and on CoSchedule.

According to Schenker: “1 pm posts receive the most shares,” “3 pm posts get the most clicks,” and “the most engagement occurs later in the week and on weekends from 1 to 4 pm.

To publish powerful and engaging content on Facebook:

  • Keep your post around 111 characters.
  • Write something positive, and/or write positively.
  • Use an emoji, but keep them under control.
  • Tell your audience what to do, give them direction, and encourage participation.
  • Include a link.
  • Post around 9:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:00 PM.
  • Post later in the week.

Email Marketing

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Email Marketing 

Due to the transition from print to digital publishing, the need for quality content to reach audiences has increased.  According to Tyler Bishop’s “2019 Digital Publishing Trends ” ‘Audience Growth and Marketing’ held 34.2% of the overall highest priorities leading into 2019.  The direct correlation between publishers and their audiences portray the importance of audience development in a rapidly transforming industry.  

Overview of Audience Development 

Digital publishing requires an audience to ensure a secure and lucrative position within the publishing industry. Focusing on the needs of an audience guarantees continuous web traffic and revenue gain. Evaluating the data trends and producing distinct, quality content aids in building a solid reputation for a returning audience. Likewise, maintaining good relationships with an audience encourages a better response to online subscriptions through email marketing.     

What is Email Marketing? 

According to a Crossware  article, “Email Marketing – What is it? Why do it? And How?,” email marketing is “a form of direct marketing that uses electronic mail as a means of communicating commercial or fundraising messages to an audience.” Taking advantage of these digital resources allows merchants to market their products in an efficient manner that is easily accessible to their consumers.  

Effectiveness of Email Marketing 

A common method of email marketing are newsletters. These online subscriptions allow the option for daily or monthly intake from these websites. This accumulated information promotes better web traffic for businesses, allowing publishers a wider reach through modern channels. Audience development and email marketing work in tandem to provide emails specified to consumer’s individual requests. Email marketing guarantees that the audience will see the content “to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business” (Crossware ).  

Why use Email Marketing? 

Communication via email marketing is inexpensive and guarantees more ad revenue.  In “The Publisher’s Guide to Email Marketing ,” publishers know the extent of generating “brand awareness, increasing engagement, and promoting/selling products or subscriptions without breaking their marketing budgets.” This knowledge increases a company’s success while providing consistent content, such as newsletters, to their target audiences. Similarly, the data obtained from these newsletter clicks contributes to maintaining the interest of the readers.  

Social Media and Email Marketing 

Social media has also made a significant impact in the digital marketing sphere. Email marketing has been incorporated into different apps, such as Twitter, to gain a larger audience. The Publisher’s Guide to Email Marketing explains the value of mobile-friendly content for progressive consumers. By integrating social media and email marketing, publishers have the unique ability to use their promotion through a digital platform rather than seeming “salesy.” This marketing strategy improves accessibility while providing consumers with quality content. Email marketing connects publishers and their audience through data evaluations and continuous advances in the use of digital platforms.