If the publishing industry is to survive, it has to promote it's products (books and authors) and its brands (imprints — and again, authors).
That's the wave of the future.
And the eBook — the fastest growing distribution method in the publishing industry — ia taking us there, at warp speed.
Sure, technology is the lead horse, but shouldn't publishing houses be grab the reins — and the bulk of sales?
That means more promotion.
And creating more impulse sales.
And opening up point-of-sale in more venues.
Not just publishing houses, but bookstores, too. If they want to survive (let alone thrive) they must must get on the bandwagon . . .
Or go the way of the buggywhip store.
I'm talking bread and circuses here.
Yep, the more, the merrier. Make it a happening, a be-in.
I'm talking a book slam. In person, and in a BIG way.
Big venue, big crowds.
Then invite the world.
Some booksellers get this.The town in which I was born and raised (as we say in the South) puts on a world-class book fair. The Decatur Book Festival (in Georgia) is something that the independent book stores in the area should be proud of. I know I am.
If the world can't be there in person, take them there, via TV and radio.
Podcast it. YouTube it.
Forget about "American Idol." What about "American Novelist?"
But big ideas take big bucks.
Which brings us to the pub houses — many of which are owned by media conglomerates. So CBS (Simon & Schuster) or ABC (Hyperion) or Fox (HarperCollins), why not devote a
few hours of TV programming each week to promoting your publishing subsidiary, and showcasing
Make it an elimination contest. Each week, have the novelist contestants do round-robin reads of 2-3 chapters.
The audience can vote for their faves (via online, where they can also download .pdfs of the chapters they just heard).
You could have your bestsellers serve as judges–and showcase trailers of their upcoming books.
Like most readers, I love any venue that helps me visual what I'm reading. More to the point, I want the readers of my books to visualize my characters and my plots.
But let's be honest: most authors read like frightened 5th graders giving book reports.
Solution: hire up-and-coming actors that act out scenes, or to give table reads.
Afterward, the host talks with the author about plot and character.
The requisite "video bio" of the author will help endear him/her to new fans.
And of course "American Novel" will culminate in a "grand prize": a bigger advance, multi-book contract, and front table status for mid-listers.
Talk about a way to build the brands — and the sales — of your authors
Then branch out: AMERICAN NOVEL: ROMANCE. AMERICAN NOVEL: MYSTERY.
You get the picture.
And yes, I am ready for my close-up,
Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press