Create stars—don't just exploit existing ones.When an author is established, publishers have to do less to make a book sell. So bidding wars start. As a result, even some best-sellers aren't very profitable. Instead, publishers should take a page from the handbook of Gawker founder Nick Denton and create stars. Find micro-celebs with a voice, talent, a niche base of readers, and most important—enthusiasm. Then leverage the publisher's brand (and the techniques I advocate, of course) to blow them out. Require as part of the contract that the author blog, speak on panels, attend events. Give them incentives for delivering—say, though Web traffic of the number of followers they amass on Twitter. Sure, publishers would have to spend more on promotion. But because they're spending less on an advance—say, $50,000 for a lesser-known writer than the hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) they'd spend on a star—they can afford the bigger promotional budget. "It's taken some time for publishers to recognize that a successful site is as
strong a 'platform' as a magazine, newspaper, or TV gig," says Patrick Mulligan,
my editor at Gotham.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
In Business Week, author Sarah Lacy has some suggestions for publishers on how to develop, market and sell books by taking advantage of Web 2.0 opportunities. This is only one of her five suggestions: