Every writer wants to know how to build a stronger platform. We get constantly asked, How much is enough? What number should I shoot for?
When asked how much money is enough, John D. Rockefeller famously said, “Just a little bit more.” The same goes for platform numbers. More is always better. Even if you have a large platform, it could be a bit bigger, right? Most writers are in platform infancy. So what do you do when you’re pulling together your proposal and you want to talk about your platform that you wish was, “Just a little bit more?”
Here are three ways to talk about your platform when you don’t have one:
Writing is hard. There’s no way around it. As the old saying goes, “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.” What often makes writing worth doing is that challenge. It’s putting pen to paper in order to make sense of our thoughts and share them with others. That type of work takes inspiration.
Did you know we provide further inspiration on Instagram? If you’re not following Author Coaching on Instagram, you are missing out on our Tip of the Week posts:
Need a jolt of inspiration when scrolling? We also provide quotes to keep you going.
If you’re not following us on Instagram, you are missing out! Like an aid station in a marathon, we’ve got what you need to keep going in the pursuit of your publishing dreams. Follow us today!
It’s almost open enrollment for Author Coaching University – are you on our waitlist? We want you to be the...
In a recent inspirational post on Instagram (Follow us @author_coaching), a writer asked us, “I feel like I need thicker skin but also don’t want a hardened heart in the process. Any wisdom on how to do that?"
That’s a great question.
No one wants to become some Grinch-like writer living alone with a dog on top of Mt. Crumpet, envious of all the writers out there doing what you wish you were doing. If you’re an introvert that loves dogs, there might be something in that life for you, but for the rest of us - it’s tough to have thick skin.
If you want to cultivate a thicker skin, the first step is to own the things you can control. You can’t control what that agent is going to say, right? Here’s what you can control: Putting together a well-researched query letter. You’ve done everything you can to give your manuscript the best opportunity possible: you know the agent’s genre of expertise,...
Cue the marching band….
First Half Reports
With the publishing industry’s first half of 2022 in the books (see what I did there?), we all feel pretty good about the unnoteworthy results: flat. If you’ve been with the Update for the last year or two, you know that the industry has been rocking and rolling (intentionally mixing metaphors because it’s fun).
Through June 30, 2022, trade book sales were hanging in there with the same period for 2021. The American Association of Publishers (AAP) reported survey results with sales off only 1.6% for the first six months of the year. Adult sales fell 2.6%, but children and YA sales picked up much of the slack, coming in at 4.3% over 2021.
Corporate earnings reports for Q2 are here, with publishing hot-shot—and the focus of so much courtroom drama of late—Simon & Schuster still crushing it. S&S saw revenues increase 34% and profits jump 54% over Q2 2021, with CEO Jonathan...
For those of us who majored in Economics, the dreaded word “recession” always seemed straightforward. You’re either in one, or you’re not. While the economy has become rather nuanced in the first few years of the ‘20s, the downward pressures are clearly being felt. Except in some very rare situations, books are the definition of a discretionary purchase. So, a downturn—whether or not you want to call it a recession—is definitely going to rear its ugly head here in the Update.
The folks at Variety conducted a survey in early July and found that 55% of U.S. adults expected to reduce their spending on entertainment in a recession (a category that includes books). Only 10% said that none of their spending habits would change in the event of a recession, to which their credit card companies shouted “hooray.”
Regardless of what the politicians might be telling us, the fact is that Amazon saw a drop in revenues from its...
Audiobooks Stay White-Hot
The Audio Publishers Association reported double-digit revenue growth for an astonishing 10th consecutive year. 2021 audiobook sales saw an increase of 25% over 2020 – a year that was itself up 12% over the prior year. The genre leading the way: romance, with a 75% increase in revenues for 2021. No editorialization on such a figure will be provided by Market Update at this time.
The number of audio titles produced in 2021 was also up—6% over the title count in 2020—for a total of 74,000 titles released in audio.
More stats (because that’s what we do here):
Not sure how to feel about that last figure, as it could indicate a decrease in literacy. Perhaps it’s time to...
We are definitely seeing a slowing in several sectors of the publishing industry. The weekly numbers for May 2022 are reported later in the Update.
Wall Street Watch
The numbers for the first quarter of 2022 are coming in from Wall Street. The results are mixed.
We have no doubt seen a slowdown from the red-hot pandemic-fueled periods of 2020 and 2021. But, while sales numbers for 2022 are fairly decent overall, some in the industry are clearly feeling the pinch on the profit line thanks to a steady dose of higher costs, supply chain delays, and inflation.
For instance, HarperCollins reported a 5% increase in sales in the first 3 months of this year but settled with a 16% decrease in earnings compared to the same period last year. Most of the revenue increase can be attributed to the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt acquisition, but that wasn’t nearly enough to save the bottom line.
Hachette parent Lagardere was similarly helped by acquiring...
Whether you are ready for it or not, summer is here! That means sunshine, ice cream, and vacation. It also means there’s a new season ahead of you. What are you going to do with this time?
For some authors, summer is a bonus season. With kiddos home from school, and vacation vibes all around, anything they can get done during this time is a bonus. That’s why goals beat intentionality when it comes to taking advantage of this or any season of life.
There is a belief out there that if you want something badly enough, you will make it happen. You will overcome the obstacles in your way and triumph. Passion makes for great Nike ads and the best kinds of movies. We love a character that digs deep and wants it badly enough. “Alexa, play Eye of the Tiger.” But where does that leave the rest of us when our gas tank is empty?
Passion can be a lousy friend if you’re waiting on it to help you achieve your writing goals.
Wanna make it big on TikTok?! Yes, if you’re an author you do—particularly a fiction author.
What is #BookTok?!
#BookTok is a linkable “hashtag” inside of the TikTok app, and somehow it is driving book sales in a big way. TikTok is probably not the social media platform that you would assume would be frequented by voracious readers. But apparently, they are on there. Reader-fans are going on TikTok, sharing about their new favorite book(s), and tagging them with “#BookTok.” And the click-throughs go wild.
The smart people at NPD BookScan did some digging into this latest book marketing phenomenon. They tracked a group of 90 fiction authors who were featured on #BookTok. Comparing those authors’ sales in 2020 (before #BookTok started) to 2021, they found that those #BookTok authors saw sales growth of 73% for the titles being tracked. Those authors alone saw sales go from 9 million copies to 20...
Barnes & Noble Reports Solid Growth
B&N CEO James Daunt reported in an interview with Publishers Weekly that despite a slow December due to the omicron COVID variant, B&N stores were trending 5%-6% above pre-pandemic 2019 numbers. Daunt cited two factors that drove increases in overall book sales: backlist sales and BookTok. BookTok seems to have ignited the interest of young people in books, with teenagers and young adults responding to the recent hashtag-related social media marketing trend.
Daunt also credited the hasty store remodeling that occurred during the pandemic as a source of increased foot traffic and corresponding product sales. While that effort was done mostly with existing furniture and fixtures, B&N is now taking about 30-40 stores through a more comprehensive remodel, with the plan to update all locations as soon as feasible.
Well, its bookstores, anyway. Amazon has announced the closing of all...