ACW

ACW

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Keeping Hope in a Changing World - Amy Boucher Pye

A benefit of having a traditional publisher is their help with marketing and sales.
Here I am at the book launch at Quench in Wokingham - a fabulous evening with lots of sales.
The only constant is change, and that’s true in the publishing world. Some would say the changes are for the worse, pointing to the previously inconceivable pairing of, say, IVP and SPCK (see Phil Groom’s blog for more info). We’ve lost probably 150 Christian bookshops over the last 5 years with the demise of the Wesley Owen and SPCK chains, and many independents. The number of books that go into bookshops has plummeted, as have sales.
And while traditional publishers are struggling, indie and self-publishers are churning out publications in a rapid fashion. The new technology is a positive change, giving authors more opportunities to publish either traditionally or via indie means. Yet those in the traditional field can seem pitted against indie publishers, and emotions can run high – as we saw over the summer in the ACW Facebook group after the publication of the Christian Writer issue with the Doris Lessing quotation on the front.
As I consider the massive changes in the publishing world, I’m now seeing it with a personal slant, as October is my publication month for my first book, FindingMyself in Britain (Authentic Media). Having worked in Christian publishing for yonks, I now find myself needing to implement the advice I dished out so heartily to authors in the past. As Steve Mitchell, MD of Authentic, says, no longer do we have the bell curve of sales where the pub month was the main sales month and then sales would drop off. Now it’s more of a diagonal curve, where pub day is day one and hopefully the start of the sales cycle.
Discoverability remains a key phrase. As authors we need to keep on reaching our audience – through speaking, blogging, and via influencers who spread the word around. My publisher wants me to blog daily for the two weeks around the launch on subjects related to the book, and then move down to once or twice a week – for many moons! This feels exciting but daunting too, and I’m just so glad Steve Mitchell recommended that I write my book as a through-the-year look – I can easily blog on the high days and holidays in British life.
Yet so many authors move onto the next project – and that’s just human nature. For instance, I’m thrilled to have signed the contract last week for my second book-baby, the 2017 BRF Lent book. So part of me thinks, let’s get on with that. But I’m glad Authentic is keeping me accountable, for I do want to keep on keeping on with the promotion of my first born.
What do you make of the state of publishing? How do you keep promoting your published books while you start in on your next projects? How do you keep your readers engaged?

Amy Boucher Pye has worked in traditional publishing for HarperCollins (UK), Zondervan and Authentic Media. She runs the Woman Alive book club and writes devotional thoughts for several publishers. She’s delighted to have released her first book, a through-the-year look at life in Britain. She blogs at www.amyboucherpye.com and tweets at @AmyBoucherPye. 

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for this! Yes - it's hard to remember that the work of talking endlessly about your book only really starts when you publish it. It's also hard to know how much to say about the book, and how much to hold back. Will regular readers in the blog community be sick of it by the end? These are the things that concern me... (or just read them as excuses for not marketing...!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you - I fear overexposure too. I keep trying to remember more advice from my publisher about giving back to the reader. So for instance with your very fine book on the book of Ruth, I would love to hear how the message stays fresh in your life. When you are spent with filming and praying and loving and writing and living, how do you keep your faith and hope burning strong? :)

      Delete
  2. Some helpful advice here Amy. Thank you. With a typically "British"(?) dread of boring people, I've not done much to push my self-published novella for a while now. Working hard on the sequel and telling myself I'll start pushing it again when that's published. But you are right - the publicity should never stop. Doing it creatively, with sensitivity and flair, as you appear to be doing - that's more of a challenge...Thanks for this reminder :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Argh! Third time I'm typing this comment because I pushed a wrong button! Thanks for your kind comments. Yes, marketing the two together is a fab idea. Just try to think of ways you can keep the reader on the journey until the second book comes out... Let's see if the third time is the charm and this comment posts!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is really helpful, Amy. As you know, I'm not British, but I hate marketing myself just the same. I've never effectively marketed my books, but have tended to take them with me when I'm speaking and have bursts of sales at that time and very little else. I see from this that I really need to push them forward... ugghhhh... but you're right. I really appreciate what you've written here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Bev; you're a huge encouragement. I guess if we look at the marketing as not pushing ourselves, but God's kingdom through what we've written in partnership with him, it helps us reorient the mission, doesn't it.

      Delete