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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Digital Publishing: New York Magazine Grabs Digital Ad Revenue - Scores Online Success

In the newly arrived digital age (really NOT so new, anymore) one of the great mysteries that has confronted magazines' digitization has been how to make money online --- A MUST for survival and transition from the sagging print editions.

Well, New York Magazine, once on the brink of failure itself, has solved this perplexing puzzle and should be a beacon of hope for other brethren of their competitive industry.

How did NYMag accomplish this? With intelligent foresight from a new, pioneering editor-in-chief AND a nimble business team that's equally adept at selling print and digital advertising.

Matthew Flamm, Crain's New York Business, takes us inside the minds and business decisions of the owners, managing staff and other players that not only rescued NYMag, but pushed it to the front of the pack:

Mags to riches

New York's Adam Moss is having his 'Approval Matrix' moment. The company's cashing in online. A publishing puzzle solved

To its groaning shelf of National Magazine Awards and bulging portfolio of stories extolling its business success, New York magazine can add one more credit: It's having its best year in a decade.

Both profits and revenue are the highest they've been since financier Bruce Wasserstein bought the barely profitable publication in late 2003 for $55 million and lured Adam Moss from The New York Times to become editor in chief. That move was among several that would make New York what it is now: a growth property at a time when much of the rest of the industry is struggling to hold its ground.

Observers also praise New York's owners for their willingness to invest for the long term and a nimble business team that's equally adept at selling print and digital advertising.

In addition, the magazine and website have racked up more National Magazine Awards since Mr. Moss' 2004 arrival than any other title during the same period.

The finishing touch has been an opportunistic approach to publishing, whether it's in print or online.

"We saw that we weren't just publishing a magazine, that we had a certain voice and way of looking at the world that could find expression in different products," Mr. Moss said. "Some would be distributed in print form and some digitally."

The editor in chief has gotten plenty of support from an A-list staff, including online Editorial Director Ben Williams, but veterans of the magazine cite Mr. Moss' vision as key to the company's success.
"He's got a really good balance between his own intense curiosities and a feel for what can resonate with a larger audience," said New York Times Magazine Editor in Chief Hugo Lindgren, who was Mr. Moss' longtime deputy at both the Times Magazine and New York.

Solving the mystery

Just as important, the company has solved the most pressing conundrum: how to make money online. Consumer magazines draw only about 5% to 15% of their ad sales from their digital operations, analysts and insiders say. New York's digital properties, by contrast, account for 40% of the company's total ad sales.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

EXTRA! EXTRA! Top Media Moguls Form Venture to Compete AND Lead in Digital and Print Book Markets

From left, Barry Diller, Frances Coady,
Evan Ratliff of Atavist and Scott Rudin.

Tonight's post takes us right into the big business boardrooms, through media chiefs' critical thinking/analyses and exposes the latest venture that is about to enter 'the turbulent world of book publishing'.

Perhaps Amazon will at last get a worthy opponent :)

David Carr (Julie Bosman contributed reporting), The New York Times, reports the details:

Media Chiefs Form Venture to E-Publish
Two powerful entertainment moguls, Scott Rudin, the film and theater producer, and Barry Diller, the chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp, are joining together to enter the turbulent world of book publishing.

Mr. Rudin and Frances Coady, a longtime publishing executive, have formed a partnership with Mr. Diller in a new venture called Brightline. It will publish e-books and eventually physical books in a partnership with Atavist, a publisher based in Brooklyn with expertise in producing electronic books and articles.

The alliance creates a new competitor in the rapidly changing digital book market, one that is dominated by Amazon, the online retailer, which has roughly 65 percent of e-book sales. Though fledgling, the new venture will enjoy the support of two influential executives who control a wide array of resources in media and entertainment.

Atavist and Brightline will exchange an undetermined amount of minority equity interests in each other’s ventures, and IAC will provide $20 million in capital to build out Brightline as a publisher in addition to making investments in Atavist.

Atavist, a start-up conceived by three friends in Brooklyn — Evan Ratliff, Jefferson Rabb and Nicholas Thompson — received attention for its content management system, which the group used to produce multimedia storytelling for various electronic devices. In May, Eric E. Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, was among a group of high-level technology executives who invested in an early round of financing for Atavist.

There were informal discussions this summer in which Mr. Diller and Mr. Rudin discussed paying as much as $10 million for a controlling interest in Atavist. A partnership grew out of those discussions.
“The book business has a concentrated number of players and is unquestionably in transition,” said Mr. Diller, sitting at a conference table at IAC’s Manhattan headquarters on Monday with Ms. Coady, Mr. Rudin and Mr. Ratliff. “There is a possibility here that if we start with a blank piece of paper that you could hit the opportunity that exists in the book business now.”

Mr. Rudin, who frequently works with authors like Michael Chabon, Jonathan Safran Foer and Jonathan Franzen to turn their books into films, said he had heard a steady stream of complaints about the opaqueness and resistance to change in the publishing business.

While traditional publishers are now releasing books in both paper and digital formats, e-book sales have surged in the last several years. E-books now account for more than 15 percent of publishers’ revenue, posing a challenge to the dominance of print in the long run and leaving the future of brick-and-mortar bookstores in doubt. Fiction has been an especially rich market for digital books: major publishers say new novels often sell more e-book copies than print copies in their initial weeks of sale.

Mr. Rudin worked for Mr. Diller as head of production at 20th Century Fox during the 1980s, and the two men have remained friends. For this venture, they decided to work with Ms. Coady because she was an early innovator in trade paperbacks at Random House and went on to work with authors like Augusten Burroughs at Macmillan’s Picador imprint.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dissecting the Publishing Industry - A Revealing Autopsy

Dissecting publishing
old and new
The old, so-called literary gatekeepers have fallen on the trail of progression (or is that the 'trail of tears'?); book critics or reviewers have morphed into thousands of social networking bloggers; agent, editor and marketing duties have been taken over by the necessarily more entrepreneurial writer --- and, guess what?

The writer has, indeed, become the publisher!

Hell, the newbie writer did most of the publishers' work under the old TP system of publishing anyway. It's just a whole lot easier today thanks to technology.

This publishing industry upheaval has created many new self-publishing support services niches --- and, oddly enough, has not been totally negative to the traditional publishing industry.

Warren Adler, published author (War of the Roses), gives this intriguing insight in the HuffPost:

Decoding the Self-Published Author

Every author knows that producing a book requires an extreme act of concentration, discipline, organization and stamina. It is an achievement requiring enormous effort, time and isolation rarely matched by other forms of artistic creation.

Despite all the revolutionary changes that roil the publishing industry and are currently upending the old methods of presenting books to the public, the bedrock fact remains that a published book, whether presented on paper or on screen, still carries with it a measure of prestige and achievement.

Despite the difficulties involved in a book's creation, there is no shortage of people determined to produce works that reflect their own vision, whether they are motivated by chasing the false gods of fame and fortune or simply satisfying their overwhelming need to be heard and their views, talents and interests projected beyond the confines of their own minds and imagination. There are perhaps millions of people worldwide currently bent over their desks composing works they hope to share with others.

A few short years ago, the pipeline for these endeavors was strictly regulated by time-honored methods of filtering. A band of business-minded publishers, fed by a gaggle of first look agents, would submit choices to publishing houses whose editors and marketers filtered out their own choices. These choices were then cataloged seasonally, and an army of salespeople was dispatched to book buyers of independent and chain stores who subsequently made their own choices based upon past sales, and perhaps a few gut choices of their own.

The road to marketing and publicity channels was well rutted. Mass media outlets had their own filtering process to determine which books they would feature in their review columns, and advertising sections of books were well established. A few well-respected critics could be relied upon to filter their own choices to public scrutiny.

Media outlets hit upon the idea to record book sales as a kind of horse race of popularity, which helped them with their advertising, and kept the sales pot boiling for those authors lucky enough to be included.

Roughly, this is the way the system worked for many decades. Publishers supported their prolific authors with advances based on projected sales and future royalties, and those books that didn't sell went back to the publishers in an arcane system of consignment.

For those authors who didn't make the filtering cut, the only solution was "vanity" publishing, which meant that an author could pay to have his book published, and for the most part, try to get his book into the system. A camel through the eye of the needle is a good analogy. While there is no real statistic on author rejections by agents and publishers, the real figure based on the amount of self-published books being shoe-horned into the current offerings on e-readers indicates that those numbers must have been staggering.

That publishing system has been completely overturned by time, taste and most of all, technology. The industry itself has been sliced and diced into categories and sub-categories and sub, sub categories. In fiction, hundreds of genres and sub-genres have been created and built around categories to appeal to specific tastes; categories such as romance, mystery, fantasy, zombies, vampires, graphic novels, erotic, young adults, children, etc. with new categories emerging like ever thin slices of salami.

In non-fiction, the slicing and dicing has reached epic proportions in areas such as politics, religion, popular culture, race, memoirs, exposés, diatribes, self-help, pop psychology, nutrition, diet, health, and sex -- especially sex. On that latter subject the recent Fifty Shades of Grey category has jumped the fiction and non-fiction categories by building a kind of story around a 'how to' guide to sado-masochism performance.

Read and learn more

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Friday, September 7, 2012

You're Not Ready to Publish If ...

To Publish Or Not To Publish?
When you think you are ready to publish your masterpiece who should you turn to for advice/mentoring?

Someone who is an experienced, published author, for sure. And a successful published author is even better (you realize, of course, all published authors are not necessarily successful).

But, what if you could get a successful published author who also knows marketing? And possibly international marketing?

One person I've read about seems to fit those specs: Penny C. Sansevieri, Author and CEO, Marketing Experts, Inc.

She dishes out the following insightful wisdom in the HuffPost:

7 Signs That You're Not Ready to Publish

When I speak at events or read emails from authors, a lot of people say: "I'm ready to publish." In fact, many of them are, but the lion's share of these folks really aren't. Wondering which category you fall into? Here's a list of some ways to know that you're just not ready and what to do to improve your publishing game.

1.You haven't researched the (publishing) industry: This is pretty important. You need to understand your industry, what's going on and what changes are going to affect your book and publishing experience. How can you do that? Get to know the trades that report on publishing, read them, read blogs, know what is happening in the industry. Believe me, it's not only good to stay current but it could save you a lot of time and money. And who knows, you might even learn a thing or two about this often chaotic market!

2.You haven't researched your market or genre: This is another biggie and oddly enough, very often overlooked. Do you know what's selling in your industry? Who else is writing about your topic? Have you bought or read their books? It's important to know what's trending in your market, what's selling and what isn't. It's always good to read other people's work because you really want to know how others are addressing the topic that you're going to be writing about. Not only that, but these could be great people to network with.

3.You hope to get famous: Another hot button. First, who really wants to be famous in the age of Twitter and YouTube? Okay, well, maybe you really do. If that's the case, don't spend too much time dreaming about it in publishing because fame is always preceded by hard work, and a lot of it. The problem with best-selling authors such as Amanda Hocking and others who have started with nothing and become success stories is that everyone wants to emulate them. It's wonderful to have a goal but it's not always realistic. Most authors who have attained great success didn't just show up at the fame-party ready to sign autographs. Most of them probably spent months working tirelessly to get the word out about their book. Could fame happen? Maybe. But first focus on the work.

4.You believe that book sales are what it's all about: It's not the end-game, trust me. Book sales are often elusive and never, ever guaranteed. We recently had an author say that she was considering hiring a marketing firm who promised her X number of book sales. Unless they planned to buy the books themselves there's no way anyone can know how many copies of a book will sell. Create other goals or other mile markers. Yes, we all want to sell books and sure, at some point that will happen, but much like point No. 3, this is always preceded by a lot of hard work.

Read and learn more 

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Number One Book System = Amazon Best Seller

The possibilities of a self-published
 author are infinite and only limited
 by their own imagination.
Digital Marketer (DM) has apparently established a sure-fire way to become an Amazon Best Seller --- Its called 'Number One Book System'

DM has some pretty well respected digital/ebooks/marketing experts on their staff. Might be worth checking into.

This Digital Marketer press release from PRWeb:

How to Become an Amazon Best Seller with Number One Book System Showing the Way Topic of DigitalMarketer.com Article

Digital Marketer’s new program, the Number One Book System, is guiding writers on the path to self-publication, according to a recent online article.

Digital Marketer’s latest online article said their new Number One Book System is showing people how to become an Amazon best seller by self-publishing their own eBooks. Amazon.com is the most massive e-commerce site on the web, the article said, and eBooks are some of its main attractions. Readers are scooping up eBooks faster than authors can write them, which is why the Number One Book System is proving to be such a revolutionary program, said the article.
Using the Number One Book System gives authors the chance to start from absolute scratch and work their way towards getting a book to number one on Amazon Kindle through crafty promotion and grassroots community support, the article said. A membership in the program includes a spot in the Number One Book Club, the premier online community for e-publishers to connect and collaborate.

Kindle eBooks have officially dominated the book world since they surpassed print book sales on Amazon.com last year, said the article. The numbers are astounding, and eBooks are creating a modern technological way for readers to absorb written content. The article said record amounts of eBooks are being downloaded and read, thanks to Amazon’s vast collection of book-hungry customers.

A recent press release from Amazon.com told the rest of the story:

“Amazon.com today announced that its catalog of over 180,000 exclusive Kindle books have been purchased, downloaded, or borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library more than 100 million times,” it said.

Capturing the flow of the mighty eBook river is a no-brainer, said the online article, and that’s what Digital Marketer wants to convey with its Number One Book System. The program isn’t just a how-to, it’s a comprehensive collection of the most useful tips and tricks that can manage a best-selling eBook’s performance over the long haul.

With the community-based cooperative of the Number One Book Club, writers will have endless support and assistance in writing, reviewing, and promoting their books in any and every category imaginable. The club gives members the ability to break into groups and allows for forum-style communication so like-minded people can work together towards their Kindle goals.

Read and learn more

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