Director’s Post: eBooks on the Move

by Anne Converse Willkomm

While on Twitter today I came across an article on Digital Book World on the top selling ebooks of 2013.  As I scanned the list, it brought me back to one of my first Push-to-Publish conferences about 5 years ago. Self-published authors were scarcely considered human. They kept to themselves, and the traditionallypublished authors made little effort to engage. The boundary between these two camps was not nearly as defined a year later, and even less loosely defined the following year. In 2012 and again last fall, no real line existed in the sand.

According to Digital Book World’s article, numbers 7, 10, and 17 in the top 20 of the 2013 bestselling ebook list were self-published. That’s 15% of the list – pretty impressive, given there were no self-published titles on the 2012 list. According to an article written by Jeremy Greenfield on Digital Book World, self-published books took the No. 1 spot on the Amazon ebook list four times in the first quarter of 2013. As the first quarter of 2014 winds down, it will be interesting to see if this pattern holds true. It appears that it will, as Amazon reports an increase in self-published ebook titles. However, it is important to note that from self-published titles in Amazon’s eBook genre best-sellers list, the self-published titles represent only 3% of the total daily revenue.

What does this mean?

Self-published authors are forces to be reckoned with, and the E.L. James and Hugh Howeys of the world are not merely statistical exceptions. It might indicate that self-published authors are putting in the time and effort they were once accused of bypassing, i.e. to write and create the best book possible versus writing and uploading with little to no editing. It also means that self-published authors are becoming savvy. They are learning how to market themselves and their books. Self-published authors are taking advantage of price shifting and manipulation to get their books into the hands of readers and reviewers. During 48-hour ebook giveaways, self-published authors can get their books onto readers’ phones, tablets, and ereaders. Some of those readers will write reviews, which will further promote the book. Traditional publishers do not practice this. They release a book and maintain a consistently higher price than most self-published authors. But are the traditional publishers making lots of money on ebook sales? Not yet.

 

Event: Panel Discussion on Digital Publishing

trendsdigipost

Trends in Digital Publishing, a panel discussion with Thomas Hartman, Scott Chappell, Don Lafferty, and Calvin Reid, will be help in Rosemont College’s Lawrence Auditorium at 6:00pm on Monday, March 24. The event is free and open to the public! To register your RSVP, please click here. For any questions or concerns, contact Anne Willkomm at awillkomm@rosemont.edu.

Event: Cover Letter Workshop!

coverletter

Hone your cover letter writing skills! Join us for our cover letter workshop on Monday, February 10. The workshop will begin at 5pm in Lawrence 307. Please RSVP to Anne at awillkomm@rosemont.edu.

In this 1-hour workshop we will look at the structure of cover letters, what to include, what not to include, how to address them, what to do when there is no contact name, and more.

Hope to see you there!

From the Director: The Importance of Attending Conferences

by Anne Converse Willkomm, Director of the Graduate Publishing Programs

I think back to my first literary conference. It was in Winston Salem, North Carolina – the Annual Conference for the North Carolina Writers’ Network. I went with a couple of writer friends, and honestly, went more to see them than to take advantage of all the conference had to offer.

I quickly adjusted my faulty thinking as I sat in my master class with Ron Rash. For any of you who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting this acclaimed novelist, he’s fabulous. He taught me about voice, specifically the Southern voice. The keynote speaker that year was Jill McCorkle. She read “Cuss Time” from a collection of short stories and I laughed until I felt as if I had done a hundred crunches. I met the new Executive Director, Ed Southern, and pleaded with him to keep the week-long Writer’s Retreat (it had been condensed to 3 days and moved to Charlotte). I met a host of fellow writers, a group of fabulous small presses, but more than that, I was, for 48 hours, immersed in something I am completely and utterly passionate about – writing, books, authors, and publishing.

As writers and publishers we can’t attend every conference, but some of the biggies are a must, such as BEA (Book Expo America), AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs), SCBWI (Society of Book Writers and Illustrators), ALA (American Library Association) to name a few. If your budget allows, attend other conferences as well. The benefits are enormous. You never know whom you will meet and what kinds of positive impact that relationship might have on your career.

When I attended the Winter SCBWI conference in New York last February, I had the lovely pleasure of meeting and chatting with author/actress Julie Andrews and her daughter/author Emma Walton Hamilton after they spoke about their new title, The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart. They were both lovely women, so willing to talk about their craft and encourage other writers to follow their hearts.

So look at the conferences in your region and sign up. Where will you be this weekend? I will be at Push to Publish sponsored by Philadelphia Stories, held on the campus of Rosemont College. I will meet new writers, re-connect with others, moderate a panel on trends in the publishing industry, and I will enjoy every minute of it!

Event: Pub Hub!

blog pub hubAttention students! Mark your calendars for the big evening networking event this fall!

You are invited to meet, mingle, and connect with area and regional publishing professionals at the third annual publishing network event sponsored by the Graduate Publishing program at Rosemont College.

Be sure to RSVP before November 1st!

The event will take place at the Center City location on South Broad Street from 5:30 – 8:00pm. Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be provided.