Tag Archives: Self-pub

The Benefits (and the Beware) of Book Bundling

Earlier this week, Amazon announced Their Kindle Matchbooks program to launch this October: a book bundling system that will allow Amazon customers to order e-book copies of their purchased print books at a discount: some e-book copies will be free with this program, and the highest cost?  $2.99.

The Upsides

The immediate benefits of bundling are obvious for the consumer:  the convenience of an additional reading platform, the added value and the element of social reading, while still retaining the tactile joy of a physical copy.

For authors, bookstores and publishers, the benefits are easy to see as well:  Their customers aren’t forced to choose between digital or print.  Bundling also offers promotional value and increases discoverability.  Going one step further, it goes towards building a relationship with the reader.

Also notable is that most news outlets that announced Amazon’s Matchbook program added the telling descriptive “finally”.  Bundling has of course, been a long standing and promotion for films, music or video games: why not books?  In the past 18 months, several publishers and authors have become the testers and the trailblazers of this idea, with respectable levels of success.  Perhaps Amazon was waiting to observe their competition before developing their own bundling system, a cautious but seemingly cost-effective strategy.  

The Downsides

With all the benefits for both the buyers and sellers of books, what could possibly go wrong with Amazon’s Matchbook?

Firstly, there is intrinsic, monetary value attached to both the print and digital copy of the book.  As TechDirt pointed out last August, some publishers are concerned bundling could “leave money on the table“.  There is additional concern of buyers gifting their purchase, while retaining either the print or digital version for themselves.

Secondly, (and more importantly) the first point bears repeating: there is intrinsic, monetary value attached to both the print and the digital copy of a book.  Amazon’s Bookstore has been known to discount even their best sellers by nearly half their cover price; their prices were even further slashed in a price war with the e-commerce company Overstock.  While celebrated authors tied to one of the big five publishers may have little to worry about, most books on Amazon already sell for less than $4.00.  Amazon’s Matchbook risks further devaluing the work of a lesser known author by enforcing the premise that a digital edition should be cheaper, or free.

Is Amazon intentionally enforcing this idea?  Not likely.  The problem with Amazon is that they’ve built themselves on being able to provide consumers with the product for the least amount of money. They have been rewarded for this, but their focus is on instant gratification of the buyer, not the effect on the author or the publishing community.

As Dustin Kurtz argues, costs of producing a book have very little to do with the paper it’s printed on.  The value of an e-book shouldn’t be diminished simply because its digital.

Book-Bundling is an exciting new stage in in the ever-changing world of publishing, and a great opportunity for authors, publishers and readers alike.  Hopefully what we pursue in our passion for reading, writing or sharing is a healthy appreciation for a great bargain, while remembering how valuable our storytellers are.

What do you think of this issue?  Let us know by leaving a comment, or tweet us @SumbolaCoSI.



Audience Development for Writers

Jane Friedman
image via janefriedman.com

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) is web editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review, and the former publisher of Writer’s Digest. She has spoken on writing, publishing, and the future of media at more than 200 events since 2001, including South by Southwest, BookExpo America, and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs.

Jane spoke at the Midwest Writers Workshop this year, giving her story of audience development.  Her message is to help other bloggers and writer’s build their own audience development by sharing her own experiences and offering practical tips.

You can watch her video, Audience Development for Writers on youtube, or check it out on her blog to hear more about her personal journey with audience development and enjoy her use of memes and cat pictures.

Do you have your own tips or advice for audience development?  Leave us a comment below or tweet it to us @SumbolaCoSI!

Transmedia: Social Matter

Why Connect Social Matter to My Book?

Connecting your book to your social media content can serve several purposes: It can allow your readers to not only connect with your story, but with you as well. Sharing your social media accounts can help make you easily discoverable to a bigger audience. It can also be an opportunity to share content that gives readers a greater perspective on your written work.

Whether you add a Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ account, you name it: it’s a way of keeping your book alive with consistent, fresh information.

Interested? Great!  Below are some practical ways to add social matter to your story:

  • Invite readers to stay up-to-date on your current projects via Twitter
  • Connect your LinkedIn account to build a professional connection with your audience
  • Share images of your literary inspiration by linking your Pinterest account
  •  Create and link twitter accounts of your fictional characters (does your story include a sarcastic antagonist? Use a twitter account with his name to post what his thoughts would be on current events.)
  • List community groups that relate to your subject matter on Google+

Helpful Hints

Remember, this is supposed to make life easier for you.  It is perfectly fine if you don’t have an account for each and every social media outlet.  Instead of linking fifteen social media pages to your book that somewhat relate, but you ignore, add one or two sites that you’ve committed to, to best enhance your book.

Secondly, if you have connected your book to a social media site that you later deactivate, don’t forget to update your book on Sumbola to reflect that.


71 Ways to Promote & Market Your Book

Selling a book (no matter how amazing it is) requires promotion and marketing- a tricky feat when you are new to self-publishing. Kimberley Grabas, founder of YourWriterPlatform.com has put together a whopping list of seventy-one ways to promote market your book. In a hurry? Listed below are five of her simple steps to get people talking, posting and tweeting about your literary creation:

  • Create a plan.  Include your budget, your timeline, your goals, your website or blog development, your social media strategy, everything.  This step is the big one, so grab a cup of tea (or favourite beverage of choice) and get to it!
  • Create a pitch.  Figure out how to explain your book within a few sentences in a way that captures the premise, as well as the attention of your audience.  Make sure you include an intriguing hook in it that leaves readers and potential endorsers of yours asking, “tell me more”.
  • Think like a business.  Your audience will take you as seriously as you treat yourself and your books.  Present yourself and your work in a polished, recognizable way to optimize your potential. This means getting a professional photo taken for your book and social media profiles, commissioning a high-resolution book cover, and ensuring your online presence has a balance of friendliness and professionalism.
  • Meet people online. Getting your name and book mentioned on more than just your own website is key.  Become a guest-blogger, build a newsletter list, reach out on social media sites, hold a press release and advertise, the list of opportunities goes on.  Being active on reputable and engaging sites will work wonders when it comes to building your own audience.
  • Meet people offline.  I know, this one can be scary, but if you have a great book and an amazing pitch for it, you’re likely to get some warm receptions.  Reach out to local newspapers, radio and TV stations, go on a podcast tour, attend networking events and conventions, get involved with a book club, etc.  The relationships you build here will likely help you in the future too.

Remember: You’re not alone. The Internet has a plethora of materials to help you along in your publishing journey. Click here for the full seventy-one helpful hints on YourWriterPlatform. Please continue to check out our blog for inspiration, resources and support, or follow us on twitter at @Sumbolacosi.