After analysing the ebook performance of our authors so far this year, we’re revising our position.
We got a bit of flack earlier this year for our article about blogs, and I’m sorry but some of you you are going to like this even less. As of this summer, unless an author will have a blog, twitter account and fully fledged eCommerce site, we won’t be considering their manuscript. Why?
Well, it’s simple risk management for us in a very fast changing and risky industry. If we look at our authors that have blogs they sell more books. The ones that provide content for Twitter - sell more books . The ones that are active on Facebook – sell more books. See a pattern here? Yes, of course we have one or two inactive authors whose books are so good they sell well anyway, but that’s less than one in ten – and how on earth do you tell that up front…..
In practice this is how it is working for MX Publishing. Let’s take our new Holmes authors. Many of them are professors, journalists, historians, many with plenty of time and enthusiasm – and critically access to interesting content. We are now making all these tools mandatory, but only in the provision of content. If the author hasn’t the skills or knowledge to set up a blog (most of them give it a good try) we’ll do it for them. Likewise with Twitter – we’re supporting our authors with over 50 Twitter accounts now, and it accounts for more than 25% of our traffic.
In the same way as the large publishers have identified that the consumer wants to interact with the author, the natural next step is to enable the consumer to buy direct from an author microsite. So over the summer we will be building eCommerce sites for each author (starting with those with multiple books). With a start to finish build time of under an hour, and the flexibility to launch whichever currency we like, we will build US sites for our US based authors, UK sites for UK etc.This isn't a blog with a 'buy' button, but a fully fledged catalogue (CMS) eCommerce site, critically PCI DSS Level 1 compliant [the highest security level for the payment card industry] - all linked electronically back to our fulfilllment house(s).
We’re convinced it will really let our social-media active authors really shine.
So, if you won't play blog, twitter, Facebook, and eCommerce then try another publisher.