We’ve been talking a lot about marketing here at WMG lately because of several projects we have in the works (more about those in the weeks to come). And it got me thinking about how fast the concept of marketing is changing in this new publishing era.
Used to be, a book was marketed for a finite amount of time. The publisher bought it, put whatever amount of money it decided to invest toward promotion, and got it into the hands of booksellers (I’m simplifying here for expediency). All told, the book got maybe a few months of buzz. Then, it was on to the next one, and eventually, perhaps, that book goes out of print.
Think of it like a movie release. The movie is hyped for a while through ads and coming attractions. Then, it hits the box office and, if people like it, it gets more buzz by selling a lot of tickets. Then, if it’s really good (or maybe just critically acclaimed), it gets put up for some awards and gets more buzz. It gets one final push when it’s released on DVD or On Demand.
But movies don’t go out of print. They hang around. They develop cult followings. They enjoy renewed buzz from remakes.
Well, books are now more like movies in that fashion because of a couple of little things called the ebook and Print on Demand. I say little in jest, of course. They’re huge for our industry.
With our current model, we approach marketing very differently. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Some books will still get that same big push as the days of old. But others will be released more quietly so they can build an audience through word of mouth and social media. In the case of a new book in a series, we have the opportunity not only to release the latest book but also to relaunch the series (as we did with the Retrieval Artist series and Blowback in December).
And those books that do get the big push—well, they won’t go out of print when the buzz dies down. In fact, no book needs to go out of print. Ever.
I can’t tell you how exciting this makes the book industry right now. The possibilities are endless. Not only for sales and profitability. But for you, the readers. The written world is your oyster. And unlike shellfish, books never go bad.
So, read on, good folk. And watch for more news on those projects I mentioned. Our first release of the New Year is right around the corner.
Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer.