Continuing Jim's great discussion yesterday, I heard a term last week that I think sums up one of the challenges in this new e-book publishing revolution - "discoverability". It's one of the things a traditionally published author would look for in a publisher - their ability to get your book noticed. "Discoverability" is about being able to rise above the noise out there in e-book land and, for me at least, I think it represents a real and ongoing challenge.
While I agree that we authors should view this brave new world as a marathon not a sprint, I also think its hard enough already to juggle writing with all the publicity currently demanded. This marathon could, for so many writers, become a marketing slog to the detriment of honing their craft. For me, therein lies the dilemma. While I would love to be putting out independent e-books as well as traditionally published titles, I worry about how I am going to fit in all the marketing and publicity I need to make both a successful endeavour. Likewise I see the vast wave of self-published e-books and worry how will my books be noticed amid all the flotsam and jetsam.
So just how can a writer increase their "discoverability"?
First off the quality of the writing needs to be there - that's a given...but then what?
- Social networking sites, websites, blogs, twitter feeds etc. are all necessary components but there is still a lot of 'noise' (and a lot of writers hawking their wares!) out there in all of these;
- Advertisements (in all print, media and digital forms) - although I think many authors have had mixed results when it comes to traditional forms of 'advertising';
- Word of mouth - the most powerful of all and the driver of almost all successful novels. I suspect however that 'discoverability' is an important precursor to getting this;
- Reviews and review sites (by industry, readers as well as peers) - definitely an important component of any marketing plan - but nonetheless there remains the age old problem of books that receive great reviews but still fail to garner much in terms of sales or recognition;
- Personal networking opportunities - still, I suspect, as important as ever, but with book tours falling by the wayside, writers have to increasingly use social networking media to achieve this.
What else should be added to the list?
Do you think that despite the revolution, traditional publishers may be able to regain an upper hand by offering more opportunities to achieve this elusive "discoverability" (and the jury is out on this one as many publishers paid little attention to getting their authors noticed anyway!).
So what does "discoverability" mean to you? How are you going to try and achieve it?