Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Friday, March 11, 2016

"Both paper, books enjoy fifty shades of popularity"/ "A five point plan for self publishing"

Dec. 22, 2015 "Both paper, books enjoy fifty shades of popularity": Here are two good articles about self-publishing.  There are good tips.  I cut out this article by Hillel Italie in the Edmonton Journal on Dec. 21, 2012:

NEW YORK -- The story of 2012 in publishing was the story of "Fifty Shades of Grey," in more ways than one.
EL James' erotic trilogy was easily the year's biggest hit, selling more than 35 million copies in the U.S. alone and topping bestseller lists for months. Rival publishers hurried to sign up similar books and debates started over who should star in the planned film version. Through James' books and how she wrote them, the general public was educated in the worlds of romance/erotica, start-up publishing and "fan fiction."

But the success of James' novels also captured the dual state of the book market -- the advance of e-books and the resilience of paper. In a year when print was labeled as endangered and established publishers referred to as "legacy" companies, defined and beholden to the past, the allure remained for buying and reading bound books.

James already was an underground hit before signing in early 2012 with Vintage Books, a paperback imprint of Random House Inc., the house of Norman Mailer and Toni Morrison, a house where legacy is inseparable from the brand. She could have self-published her work through, or released her books from her own website, and received a far higher percentage of royalties.

"We had a very clear conversation back in January about the need for a very specific publishing strategy," says Vintage publisher Anne Messitte. "We talked about distribution, a physical format, publicity. And she was basically clear that she needed what we did as publishers to make that happen."

"Fifty Shades" began as an e-phenomenon, understandable since digital erotica means you can read it in public without fear of discovery. But according to Messitte, sales for the paperbacks quickly caught up to those for e-books and have surpassed them comfortably for the last several months. Everyone was in on the secret. The series sold big at, but also at Barnes & Noble and independents, at drugstores and airports.

Publishers from several major houses agreed that e-books comprise 25-30 per cent of overall sales, exponentially higher than a few years ago, but not nearly enough to erase the power of paper. And the rate of growth is levelling off, inevitable as a new format matures. Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy said e-sales were up around 30 per cent this year, less than half what she had expected.

"We saw all these huge sales for tablets and huge sales for other machines coming out and assumed there would be a lot of new e-book readers," Reidy says. "But in retrospect there were a lot of current e-book readers who were upgrading their machines. And tablet owners do not use e-books as much as those with dedicated e-book readers" such as Amazon's Kindle.

"There are some people who think that print will go away, but 'Fifty Shades' is an indication of why that's not going to happen," says Messitte, who added that the books attracted many non-readers who don't own e-devices. "You're going to need a mix of ways to read."

The rise of e-books has shaken, but not broken the way books are published and sold. Membership in the independent stores' trade group, the American Booksellers Association, has increased three years in a row after decades of decline. Amazon is a draw for many self-published authors, but its efforts at acquiring and editing books -- "legacy" publishing -- have been mixed.

An in-house imprint, headed by former Time Warner Book Group chief Laurence J. Kirshbaum, has so far landed few works of note beyond a memoir by Penny Marshall and an advice book on cooking by lifestyle guru Timothy Ferriss. Rival sellers have refused to stock Amazon's books, limiting their sales potential. And if publishers suffer from their reputation -- often earned -- of being slow to adapt to technology, they benefit from a reputation -- often earned -- for being nice to their writers.

"There certainly is the comfort factor, and part of that comfort factor is the culture of old publishing, which is very collegial and warm and friendly," says Richard Curtis, a literary agent who represents several writers publishing with Amazon. "Authors contemplating Amazon are concerned about a loss of that warmth."

Amazon, the acknowledged leader in e-book commerce, remains the dominant player in what could still become the dominant format, and two of the year's major stories would never have happened without industry concern over the Internet retailer and publisher.

In April, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Apple and five publishers for alleged price fixing of electronic books, a lawsuit originating from Apple's 2010 launch of the iPad and iBookstore, which publishers hoped would weaken Amazon's ability to discount works so deeply that no other seller could compete. In October, the corporate parents of Random House Inc. and Penguin Group (USA) announced a planned merger, widely believed as a way to counter Amazon.

One of the publishers sued, HarperCollins, settled in the fall and prices for such new works as Michael Chabon's "Telegraph Avenue" dropped from $12.99-$14.99, common under the Apple model, to Amazon's preferred $9.99. But Chantal Restivo-Alessi, HarperCollins' chief digital officer, said there was no noticeable difference in sales, adding that bargain hunters tend to seek out older books.

"With new books, if you want to read that book, you're going to read that book," she said. "You're not going to replace it with a cheaper book."

"A five point plan for self publishing": I cut out this article by Victoria Ahearn in the Edmonton Journal on Dec. 21, 2012: 

TORONTO - In 2012, Douglas & McIntyre filed for bankruptcy protection, Random House of Canada become the sole owner of McClelland & Stewart, and Penguin and Random House planned a merge.  It's perhaps no surprise that year also saw an explosion in online self-publishing, with a wealth of platforms — including Kobo Writing Life, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, and iBooks Author — offering authors an alternate avenue.  "We're actually hearing from a lot of different types of authors, some brand new and some successful ... that have had traditional contracts that are just using self-publishing to experiment with new stuff or put books out that they wanted to do on a different cycle than their traditional publishers were," says Libby Johnson McKee, director of Kindle Direct Publishing.E. L. James, Amanda Hocking, and J. A. Konrath are but a few writers who've found massive success in self-publishing material online.

If you have dreams of being a self-publishing sensation in 2013, here are five tips on how to stand out in an increasingly crowded market:  1. The moment you start writing the book, begin building your marketing platform.  "The hardest thing about self-publishing is marketing, not writing, and people find this out too late," says California-based author Guy Kawasaki, who has self-published two books and explains how to do so in the newly released "APE:

Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur — How to Publish Your Book."  "They finish their book and they think: 'Oh, I'll put it on Amazon and boom, people will start buying it,' and they will find that is absolutely not true.  "Kawasaki recommends spending two to three hours a day on writing, and one hour a day building a marketing platform on social media sites such as Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.  "Network, network, network. And when you're done doing that — network," adds Mark Lefebvre, director of self-publishing and author relations at Kobo. "Getting to know people in the community, getting to know other authors, and understanding the environment that you're playing in is critical."

2. It sounds simple but — write a great book (and know your audience).  "Bad books just don't sell," says Johnson McKee. "And if you write a great book and really work hard on getting your message right, the craft of writing is still the thing that wins the day.  "Browse blogs of authors in the same genre, and understand what fans like to read.

"When you talk to an author and you say, 'Who is the audience for your book?' 'Well, everyone. Everyone would love this book.

This is the best book ever written. It's the Great American Novel,'" says Lefebvre, who has also written books and published them both in traditional self-published formats.  "If you honestly believe that, I think you really need to go back to the drawing board, because not every book is for everyone. 

"3. Once the book is written, start crowdsourcing.

Get fans, friends, colleagues and others to copy-edit and/or review the book."

Do this immediately before it goes on sale, so that as soon as it goes on sale you have a bunch of great reviews for the book," says Kawasaki (he sent "APE" in full format to about 1,000 people before he self-published it, and just three days after it went on sale it had about 135 online reviews)."Proofreading and editing, though, is a skill and it's something that, just because you write, you might not be able to be the best editor," cautions Johnson McKee.

"So if you can find somebody who has that skill, and it actually is pretty affordable ... I would recommend trying to do that."The beauty of self-publishing an ebook is you can always edit once it's out there.

4. Lure in readers by putting your work on various sites and devices. And create catchy metadata, which includes the cover, title, description, biography, and price.  "People judge a book a book by its cover, they do, so I would strongly recommend that authors consider using a professional cover designer and investing the time and effort in that," says Lefebvre.

As with an ebook's text, the cover can also be changed once it's out in digital format.  Pricing can be changed too. To figure out the right price point, look at other books in your category. If everyone else is priced at $5.99, value your book at just under that to start.

"I often think that people feel like the 99-cent price point is the only one that's going to help them sell a book," says Johnson McKee. "And I've seen people stay at the 99-cent price point even after the book has taken off, and my suggestion would be to look again and make sure that you are getting the most value for the purchases."

Go up one or two dollars in your pricing after your book has a bit of a following. You may actually end up selling a few less units but actually making more money overall.

5. Write another great book as soon as possible.

Lefebvre notes that passionate and dedicated readers will whip through a book and immediately check to see if authors have written anything else.  The rule is particularly important for genre writers, adds Johnson McKee.

"Those types of readers are voracious," she says. "I heard some statistic that romance readers can read 10 books a week, and those are people who are just waiting for the next book to come out." - See more at:


At May 31, 2016 at 12:48 AM , Blogger Sarah Hall said...

As for me, I enjoy printed books! Frankly speaking, I don't like e-books, as I feel uncomfortable reading them! If you're interested in this article, follow to read the entire thing!


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