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Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Gap

And I am not talking about jeans.

Since I have launched an independently published novel into the blogosphere of book reviews and book bloggers I have come across an interesting phenomenon. I am sure it will straighten out eventually but for the moment, I am reminded of what our guest, Laura Von Wermer said about techgeeks scaring the book people away from our territory and how we have to take it back (I'm paraphrasing).

Reviews, a basic tool -- you send an ARC out to a list of time honored media representatives and they assign the book. Either the reviewer likes it or not, but there are givens: they know that the book is not proofed so they don't point out typos; there is the understanding that the font of a novel is probably not something to review.

More important-who gets the ARCs--if you are dealing with a virtual PR agency, as I am, this is wild. We are definitely not in the same world. I have been the host blogger on a mommy blog for a novel about Marilyn Monroe. I believe the thinking for where a book should go is fundamentally different. Rather than to a MM site, or dead celebrity, or Hollywood, the thinking goes in multiple directions. Blogs can take you deeper and sideways rather than staying on topic.

It's all a learning experience and once I've mastered it I am sure the entire landscape will change. C'est La Guerre.


  1. So where is The Gap?--Between the traditional book review outlets that mainstream publishers send galleys to and the far-flung new media to which indie publishers are reaching out?

  2. The gap is elemental. I don't think people who read books on an iphone are like me, waiting for the Saturday Times to be delivered with its copy of the NBYTBR to make choices about what to buy.

    I believe that literacy has evolved (for those who are literate).

    The onus is on the less evolved to keep up because that's how survival works.

    Using the differential in responses to the ARC is an easy choice. But let's extend it further. Start at the end, the marketing--why would anyone consider print ads when one on line ad can go viral and a book can be explored in unlimited markets rather than relegating it to a category and promoting it only there. Are conventional publishers' sales or promotion people going to have the time to research and weed out on line markets?

    It seems to me that sometimes technocrats purposefully make the various services sound complicated. There is an enormous communication gap and I don't think all the gobbledy gook is a mistake. Who knows what landing on an RSS mean, raise your hand. Should you be paying for it?

    Another gap is between what is a good deal to a book person vs on line numbers. If I tell you I will take a cut of xx% and you can break even at 3000 books, is that a good deal? No, it is a terrible deal. To sell 3000 indie published books is a coup. It takes a long time if it ever happens. Does an author searching for the right package to publish her material know how to figure this out?

    The percentages taken by Amazon vs what you get from buying directly from Create Space or your own web site, or if you are on another link, or in an Ingraham catalogue, or from a bookstore--they all vary. The old 51% for big box stores, 50% for chains and 40% for independants might as well be the percentage Moses took coming down the mountain with the tablets.