A Digital Roadmap for Writers
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A Digital Roadmap for Writers

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Looks at recent developments in ebooks and digital publishing, including Apple's iPad, and the impact of digitisation on authors. Examines changing role of the publisher, digital contracts, ebook ...

Looks at recent developments in ebooks and digital publishing, including Apple's iPad, and the impact of digitisation on authors. Examines changing role of the publisher, digital contracts, ebook self-publishing options, how writing might change. Finally, there's a crash course in internet marketing, an essential skill for writers.

Presentation to the New Zealand Society of Authors, 15 May 2010
By Martin Taylor, Director, Digital Publishing Forum

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    A Digital Roadmap for Writers A Digital Roadmap for Writers Presentation Transcript

    • A Digital Roadmap For Writers NZSA AGM Christchurch, 15 May 2010 Martin Taylor Digital Publishing Forum http://digitalpublishing.org.nz [email_address]
    • Outline
      • The rise of ebooks
      • The business of ebooks
      • Is it time to fire my publisher ?
      • Will writing change or books die?
      • A crash course in internet marketing
      • More if time permits because … there’s more .
    • How big is this?
      • This is happening in the midst of a generational shift in technology
        • Decline of PC, rise of mobile web and “ the cloud”
      • Proliferation of smart mobile devices connecting to the cloud
        • standards wars (but has Apple already won?)
      • Google, Apple, Amazon are early drivers
    • Music’s iPod moment
      • Disruptive technology changes the game
      • Apple sells billions of songs in the face of free
      • Five years for 5 billion, 1.8 years for next 5 billion
      • iTunes share now 69% of online music sales (Amazon 8%) and 24% of all music sales in US
      Source: MacRumors.com iTunes reaches 10 billion music downloads, 24 Feb 2010
    • Books’ iPod Moment (courtesy of Amazon’s 90% share) +333% Q4 2009 vs Q4 2008 US trade ebook market growth, 2002-2009 Amazon Kindle launched Sony Reader launched
    • Next?
    • Skiff Hearst / Plastic Logic Dell Streak Google Android HP Slate Windows 7 Google Nexus One Android Notion Ink Adam Android / Pixel Qi
    • Speed of consumer technology adoption Source: NY Times
    • Is this already a one horse race? Source: Flurry.com Mobile App Development by Platform
    • The iPad: Is it a new paradigm for presentation of digital works?
      • iPad is part of a new digital paradigm
      • Multi-touch: Pinch, swipe, tap (no mouse or keyboard)
      • Multiple media types
      • Optimised for media
      • Connected
      • The sizzle to win consumers, media
      Source: YouTube, woodwing.com, the wonderfactory.com, zinio.com
    • Illustrated publications and the iPad
    • Who sells ebooks
      • So far, a small number of mostly global players
        • Amazon, Apple, Google Editions (Jul), Kobo (NZ)
      • High barriers to entry compared to bookstores
        • Will ebooks be dominated by a few big players ?
        • cf Music: Apple has 70% share of paid downloads
      • What are the barriers today for booksellers?
        • High technology costs and expertise
        • Difficulty acquiring ebooks and managing metadata
        • Scale needed to compete with large global players
        • High security and trust requirements from publishers
      • Google Editions might reduce entry barriers
    • What sells? Source: O’Reilly Research, iBooks downloads during April 2010
    • How much should the ebook edition of a $30 paper book cost? Source: Digital Publishing Forum: digitalpublishing.org.nz – online poll conducted February-March 2009
    • What’s driving ebook pricing?
      • Major publishers typically set ebook price today equal to cheapest p-book edition
        • But with Amazon’s discounting, US$9.99 was becoming the de facto retail price
      • April 3, 2010 it all changed: the agency model
        • Catalyst was Apple’s iPad launch
        • Means publisher sets selling price, no discounting allowed, all sites will have same retail price , retailer gets a commission
        • Could create a more diverse market with more retail channels
        • Will it help to keep prices up? Consumers will decide.
      • Rental or subscriptions might also work
        • “ Owning” books will become less important
        • Need for multiple price points in a market
        • How will libraries fit into this new world?
      • About 60%+ of a print book’s cost is distribution
    • Average selling price in iBooks (US$) Source: O’Reilly Research, iBooks downloads during April 2010
    • Royalties: Print vs ebook
      • In general, ebook royalties are a higher %
      • Unclear how close ‘e’ price will stay to ‘p’
        • But volumes might rise, eg more ‘pass along’ readers might pay
      • Consumers expect lower prices
        • Most publisher and author costs are similar
        • Industry must remove costs from distribution, not author/publisher, to finance this
      Royalties 10.50 15% net 14.00 20% net 30% 43% Retailer $100 $100 RRP 17.50 25% net 9.98 17.5% net $10.00 $10.00 10% RRP $70 $57 Net Ebook Print
    • Digital Contracts
      • “ Wait and see” is a bad approach for both authors and the industry
      • Better to limit term than to do nothing
        • eg three years then a review
      • Typical royalties 15-25% of net receipts
      • Licensed editions vs publisher editions
        • Higher rate should apply to licensed editions
    • Contracts (cont.d)
      • Should you separate digital from print rights?
        • Useful negotiating tactic, perhaps … but most publishers will shun this and difficult to manage
        • Who does promotion? Could reduce incentives at a critical time for a new book
        • Coordination: You should probably aim for simultaneous release of p & ebook
        • Potential for duplicated editing and production costs
        • More likely to work for older backlist
      • Revised NZSA contract with digital update is due shortly
    • Should I insist on Digital Rights Management?
      • Probably, but:
      • DRM reduces copying by encrypting an ebook
        • Special software needed at reader end to decrypt
      • There are many incompatible DRM systems
        • Same format can be incompatible if different DRM system used
        • Adobe DRM is ‘open’ option (open for anyone to buy)
      • Publisher will almost certainly propose DRM
      • Limits e-reader devices and sales channels
        • Makes it harder to build audience for new author
        • Do sales lost to piracy outweigh sales lost from DRM?
    • Is it time to fire your publisher? KEY: ↑ More important to author ↓ Less important ↔ Same ↑ ↑ ↔ ↔ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↔ ↓ ↑ .. and digital? Marketing to readers Sell other rights Collect and distribute royalties Marketing to booksellers Distribution Sales to booksellers Editing and production Provide finance Selection and endorsement What publishers do … for print
    • So you’ve fired your publisher. What next?
      • The good news: Self-publishing is easier than ever (but success probably isn’t)
      • Amazon ’s Digital Text Platform
        • Receive 30-70%, Kindle format (DRM)
      • Smashwords .com
        • Receive 85%, ePub format (no DRM)
        • Also has Publisher option for multi-author list
      • Lulu .com
        • US$4-5 per download, ePub, Adobe DRM optional
    • Self publishers selling well in Apple’s iBooks store Source: O’Reilly Research, iBooks downloads during April 2010
    • Making an ebook, made easy
      • Options
        • Conversion from print PDF via conversion service (work usually done in India)
        • Upload Word file to an automated system
          • eg Amazon, Smashwords, Lulu. Aimed at self-publishers.
          • Fine while production expectations are low
        • D-I-Y , eg using Adobe InDesign, or Calibre
          • Technical skills needed (InDesign, HTML, CSS)
    • Making an ebook, made easy
      • For books, recommended formats today are ePub and PDF
      • PDF is a poor choice for new mobile devices
        • Useful for print including print on demand (POD)
        • ‘ Legacy’ format for complex layouts and PC-based access
      • ePub is a variation of web technology (HTML)
        • Best suited today for long form narrative works
        • Next ePub version 2.1 (due 2012) will be better for highly illustrated/complex layout works
    • Will writing change?
      • More social, less solo . Wisdom? of the crowd
        • More critics  Internet brings opinions to the world
        • Shared annotations and marginalia will be an increasing trend
        • Public writing process: creating new works, in real time, with their readers contributing, eg O’Reilly
      • Continuous updates: ‘ Literature as a service ’
      • Usability will be important
      • The ‘vook’: a multimedia extravaganza
        • There should always be a place for works conceived and executed solo
        • Multimedia is inevitable (and good) for some genres
    • Will the printed book die?
      • Probably , over a generation or so
        • Hard to see how print will compete as reading devices improve
        • Economics and usability will cement digital’s place
        • Preservation issues still to be solved
      • ‘ Beautiful books’ might remain a thriving niche
      • Print on demand will extend print’s life
      • Will long form narrative works survive?
        • Absolutely, perhaps stronger than ever
      • More opportunities to read = more reading
    • A crash course in internet marketing What you need to do (but, alas, not how to do it)
    • The Toolset
      • Website or blog
      • Search
        • Organic and paid
      • Email (‘old’ but still good  )
      • Social media
      • Metadata
        • The unglamorous but high payback foundation
    • Getting found , getting bought
      • Metadata (‘data about data’) describes your book to both machines and people
      • It contains bibliographic information, rights and usage data, and sales information
        • It’s key to being discovered by search engines (Google or a site’s own search)
        • And it contains your primary sales pitch for humans
      • So make it accurate, complete and rich
    • Search
      • Paid Search – ‘Pay Per Click’ advertising
        • Google adwords, YouTube etc
      • Organic search
        • Getting high up in the search results
      • A big subject but for the most important thing – fresh, relevant content - writers will be better at than most
      • Start with list of key words and key phrases searchers will use to find you
    • SEO Top 5: Tune Your Website
      • Use keywords in Title (<title> tag)
        • Title shows on the top bar of visitor’s browser
      • Useful, unique and fresh content
        • Keywords in first 50-100 words of HTML page
      • Use keywords in Heading 1 (<h1> tag)
        • Heading 2-6 (<h2> to <h6> tags) also useful
      • Keyword use in page links
        • both internal links and external (in-bound) links
      • Site design: useful hierarchy , text-based links , breadcrumbs, sitemap (and XML Sitemap), keywords in domain name and directory structure
      Ranking based loosely on data from: http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors
    • Social Media
      • Connects people to friends, business colleagues and interest groups
        • Marketing power is in the potential to dramatically increase ‘Word of Mouth’
      • Facebook and Twitter (LinkedIn for business) are the best to focus on today
        • A Facebook Page or Group is an alternative to a blog or website
        • Twitter is a great way to share updates and interesting links about your field of interest
    • Social media (cont.d)
      • First principle of social media: “ Give and you shall receive”
        • People will follow you, spread the word, if you offer good information, opinion, etc
        • Be very respectful: hard sell is a turn-off
      • Social networks need to be maintained regularly (but don’t overdo it)
        • Automation helps you update multiple media
        • But don’t get an ‘automated feel’: let people know there’s a human behind it. Personality matters .
    • Instant website A free website in 5 steps
    •  
    • A free website in 5 steps
      • Go to WordPress.com
      • Sign Up for a free account then Login
      • Go to Appearances | Themes
        • Choose a theme (site design) and Activate it
      • Go to Settings | General
        • Add your site’s Title and Tagline
      • Go to Posts | Add New
        • Write your first story and Publish!
    • Add PAGES for static information
    • Instant website (cont.d)
      • (Optional) Go to Pages | Add New
        • Write pages for static info (eg Home, About Us, Contact Us)
      • Go to Settings | Reading
        • For Front Page Display select A static page
        • Choose a Page for the Front page and for the Posts page (ie your news/blog articles)
      • Save Changes . You’re done!
    • Internet Marketing Summary
      • The internet puts more marketing and selling tools in authors’ hands
      • You still need time and ongoing commitment to use it (after the day job)
      • Authors committing to use these tools should expect strong support from their publishers
        • Driving traffic, creating digital resources to use on their sites, etc
      • This will become an increasingly important part of assessing which publisher is best for you
    • Thanks! Martin Taylor web: digitalpublishing.org.nz email: martin@digitalstrategies.co.nz blog: activitypress.com/ ereport