OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
The Flinch is the instinct to draw back and shrink away from pain or what is perceived to be dangerous, difficult or unpleasant.
It's also the title of the latest mini-book by Julien Smith to come out from The Domino Project. Right now, you can get it for free on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk (that's the book cover shown left). It's a short, challenging read with one main point.
Embrace the flinch regularly, push yourself out of your comfort zone and get on with doing the important things in life.
Stop avoiding pain, get some scars and achieve something worthwhile. If you need a kick in the pants, go download it and share it with others.
The Flinch is important for you because of the changes in the publishing industry.
I was at the #FutureBook conference earlier this week and although it was filled with positive, forward thinking book-lovers, you could also sense the fear and concern amongst those who still believe print is the only way forward. My article on what authors can learn from the conference will be on the Future of the Book blog soon, but today a few things happened that illustrated the changing times we're in and I wanted to share them with you.
People buy from those they know, like and trust.
One of the buzzwords of the FutureBook conference was ‘discoverability', how to help people find books they want to read in the mass of information online.
Well, people buy from people they know, like and trust which funnily enough, I learned from Julien Smith & Chris Brogan in their book Trust Agents. I downloaded The Flinch on the strength of my respect for Seth Godin as well as Chris & Julien. Yes, this book is free but I have also bought 90% of all books from Seth Godin's Domino Project because I'm in his tribe. He doesn't have to ‘sell' me anything, he just has to tell me the books are available and I click to buy.
John Locke in his ‘How to sell 1 million ebooks' said that authors need to have a list of fans who will buy their next book, in the same manner as Seth has done as well. Locke was the first indie author to reach 1 million Kindle sales so he knows what he's talking about.
You can do this too.
Start a list on your site so people can sign up and show their interest. I'm doing this on my fiction blog, JoannaPenn.com where people can sign up for my next book, Prophecy. The list is small right now but you have to start somewhere and we are all growing our body of work over time. If you have a list of fans who know, like and trust you, you will never have to worry about whether your books will sell as your buyers will be waiting.
Ebooks can be sampled or bought instantly on hearing about them.
An online friend of mine tweeted me the other day, “I need to fill up my Kindle, what do you recommend?”. I read voraciously so I mentioned some great books I have recently read: A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness, The Whisperer – Donato Carrisi, The Summoner – Layton Green, The Hunger Games trilogy and some others. She then went to her Kindle and got the samples and most likely would have bought one or more of those. Perhaps you will too.
This is the power on online ebook buying.
There's no barrier between the person wanting to read and the book they can start to read immediately. There's no time lapse so no chance for them to find something else on the way to the bookstore or get distracted by a new shiny object.
Smashwords did a survey on ebook buying habits which showed 29% buy based on recommendations online from blogs and other media. I probably buy 90% of my books this way. I know I'm not a market of one but I am a heavy reader and therefore a target for publishing dollars. Perhaps I'm also an early adopter and therefore represent the future of book-buyers? How do you find your books?
You can't fight the rise of digital.
If you want to stick with print, you will soon end up missing out on even traditionally published books. That has just become reality. Newsjacking, David Meerman Scott‘s latest business book has been released in ebook only format. It's not self-published either. You might have read “The New Rules of Marketing & PR”. In fact, it was one of the books that persuaded me onto Twitter. David is a thought leader and his example will only be followed.
In terms of discoverability, I bought Newsjacking because of an interview with David on Mitch Joel's Six Pixels of Separation podcast. This backs up the stats from AT Kearney at FutureBook that show an author's engagement with readers can increase book sales. I wouldn't have ‘discovered' Newsjacking on Amazon because actually it seems to be aimed at businesses. I am a micro-business 🙂 but the lessons in it can definitely be applied by those of us who monitor the news and have the speed and agility to provide information in real-time to media hungry for a relevant story.
I hope I don't have to tell the readers of this blog that they need to be publishing ebooks as well as or even instead of print. I've been beating the digital drum for 3 years now! But I am amazed at how resistant and defensive some people are about this inevitable shift.
What do you think? Are you convinced about digital yet?