Staying Relevant

Everything flows; nothing remains. All is flux, nothing is stationery. All is flux, nothing stays still. All flows, nothing stays. Nothing endures but change.” ~Heraclitus of Ephesus

Change is the one constant in our lives. Nothing stays the same. Publishers and authors who do not keep up with changes effecting publishing and promoting books get left behind and are less successful in the long run. Over time, technology, services, and trends all change, effecting how books are published and marketed.

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1. Changes in Technology

Technology keeps changing. As technology shifts, so does the way books are published, marketed, and sold. As an authors or publisher you need to keep up-to-date on the changing technology so that you can effectively communicate with your audience.

For example, while press releases are still a useful piece of a book promotion campaign, technology has changed the way journalists acquire and receive information. No longer can an author or publisher simply send out a release announcing a new book. New books are no longer news. With thousands of books published every day, a new book being published is not news. To catch a journalist’s eye, your press release must tie your book into a current trend or breaking news story that journalists are already tuned into. Yet, I still see press releases from authors and small publishers simply announcing a book.

2. Changes in Services

New services for publishing, promoting, and selling books are constantly cropping up, while others are shutting down. Every day, I hear of new, innovative services for publishing and selling books and ebooks. More and more companies are offering services to independent authors. Some services close their doors while others open. Knowing where you can go to get the services you need to be effective is important.

A few years ago, IngramSpark opened its doors. IngramSpark is a POD and ebook distributor geared toward independent authors and small publishers. Ingram opened the service as a counterpoint to Lightning Source and as a more user-friendly place for the growing population of independently published authors. Yet, I still run into small publishers who have been in the business for years who are not familiar with IngramSpark or don’t really understand what they do.

3. Changes in Trends

Trends in how people find out about books and where they purchase books change over time. Staying on top of these changing trends is essential for success in selling your books.

About eight years ago, when the trend was swinging away from buying books in brick-and-mortar stores to purchasing books online, a member publisher of CSPA was able to get their author on a major talk show. The publisher was extremely excited as they told me about the event that had occurred that morning. As we talked, I used my computer to check the book’s ranking on Amazon since the coverage had been nationwide. I was dismayed to see that the book was not for sale on Amazon—it was listed, but Amazon was not actively selling it. I immediately informed the publisher that this would hurt sales, to which the publisher responded, “But the book is available in the Christian bookstores as well as Borders and Barnes & Noble.” Not staying on top of changing trends had cost this publisher sales.

Fortunately, there are many ways for you to stay on top of changes that affect your publishing journey. Reading blogs, books, industry journals, and belonging to industry associations are all great ways to keep learning.

At Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) part of our mission is to strengthen independently published authors and small publishers producing materials for the Christian marketplace. One of the ways we do that is by providing our members cutting-edge information that keeps them informed of trends and changes that affect their ability to remain viable and successful.

Related Posts:
Embracing Change
Publishing Industry Trends for 2016
Spending Precious Marketing Dollars

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