Pub Writes

About the publishing Industry, editorials, and reviews

New Year Resolutions for the Publishing Industry

Posted by Caitie F on January 4, 2010

The publishing industry is a tricky industry. There are a lot of great things going on right now, but there are also a lot more changes that need to be made. Here are a few resolutions that I think the industry should make.

1. Prove that you are needed.

In a world of self-publishing, eBooks, and the internet where anyone can publish, there are a lot of people who think that publishers are not going to be around for much longer. I know these people are wrong, but the industry needs to prove it. I read a few books this year (and heard about even more) that were poorly edited. There were grammar mistakes, spelling mistakes, and even cases where the descriptions of characters were not consistent. Yes, editors are human and make mistakes, but it just adds fuel to the “we don’t need publishers” debate. So, no matter how big the author is, take a little more time to get the most perfect book.

2. Stop being pushed around by major book sellers.

I don’t just mean Amazon. The price wars were a major news item earlier in the year, mostly surrounding secondary book sellers like Target and Wal-Mart. Delaying EBooks was one major push back…but it could go further. If they want to sell or buy books (electronic or otherwise) for less than the publisher or authors think is acceptable…don’t sell them the books. It is as simple as that. Amazon wants to sell all EBooks for $9.99 or less? Fine – they can do that without any new titles that should cost more than that price. There may be some upset customers, but you can take care of that.

3. Show EBook readers that you value their purchases.

Sell EBooks directly on the publisher site. Publishers have all of the different formats of the books, so sell them directly to the customers. Price them how you want to price them and get rid of the middleman. Not only would it be good for business, it would also encourage different and better EReaders. Customers would also see that the publishers value this new group of readers.

4. Throw a bone to the independent bookstores.

There are not many of these stores left, but they have loyal clientele who buy a lot of books. They are more personal and a great asset to the publishing community. Find a way to reward or encourage these stores, whether it is a special discount or an extra event. Find something so they don’t disappear completely.

5. Stop with the vampires.

The trend in vampires is in a downward spiral. There are still two more Twilight movies and True Blood is still strong, but the market is saturated, which is why most publishers are not taking any more vampire books. Hold on to the good ones and wait a few years – vampires will be back.

6. Don’t count on angels.

The next big trend is supposed to be angels. Some publishers and agents already stopped taking books on angels, but they should not count on the subject making them successful. There was only one Twilight, and only one Harry Potter. If any angel books get huge, it will most likely only be one. Search for something well-done and different.

7. Try to find markets that are ignored now.

I know there are some markets that are not being reached by mainstream publishers right now and that is a problem. This is a diverse country with many age groups, races, and beliefs and publishers need to realize it. That doesn’t mean they should make imprints that are focused on that group, it means they should realize the diversity and publish books for all. Look at males and young people – many of them feel like there is nothing for them.

8. Examine the returns policy.

I get that it cannot be changed: if there are no returns, then stores won’t order as many books. It is, unfortunately, a necessary issue in the industry. But maybe there is a way to tweak or change it that will make it better.

9. Take a chance on something new.

In an economic downturn, it is easy to rely on what works to sell. It is scary to take chances on new authors and new ideas, but the industry needs to look ahead to what is coming. People need to trust their instincts and take some risks so that once people have more money in their pockets they can find new and great books to spend the money on.

10. Hire people who work hard, think big, and look toward the future.

I have found out that there are not many jobs available and there are a lot of people who want to work in publishing, even if the pay isn’t great. Find those people who work the hardest, they may not have had three internships, but if they work harder they will get more done and be even more of an asset. In interviews, don’t ask “What have you done?”, ask  “What do you think about…?” and  “How should we fix..?”. The people who have thought about the issues facing the industry before they even are working in it are the ones who will be doing the fixing in the years to come and it would be a shame if they are working for someone else.


One Response to “New Year Resolutions for the Publishing Industry”

  1. […] Posts New Year Resolutions for the Publishing Industry « New Year Resolutions for the […]

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