Some of the most crucial meetings at BEA aren’t those where you pitch new business, but the opportunities where you build existing relationships; particularly with retailers. It’s a BEA tradition of ours – and many publishers – to sit down with the account managers at our retail partners. We update them on our plans for the coming year and they tell us about their latest technology developments and sales recommendations. Frequently, these meetings offer tantalizing glimpses into new features and storefront and device capabilities. Here are three of the biggest takeaways for authors that we noticed from this year’s meetings with Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samsung and others at BEA.
1. International is here in a big way! The launch of many new international markets on the part of Amazon and the iBookstore is big news for authors. Your ebooks can now easily reach readers in Asia and around the world; and sales are growing steadily in these new channels. It’s crucial for every author to understand how international distribution works; ie, that each retailer has digital outlets in different countries through which it sells your titles. It’s often incumbent on the rights holder or distributor to authorize the ebook for the retail channel to sell it in their international outlets. The good news? International sales are growing quickly. We’ve seen ebooks sell 50% more after they have access to full international distribution via the retailers who provide it.
2. Retailer-specific ebooks matter. The reality that one ebook does not fit all retailers was another important lesson from BEA. If you have more than one ebook you’ve released, you need to create different versions of your ebooks for the different retailers. Why? Because you can link to the sales pages for the other ebooks written from within your ebook itself. But most retailers require you to link only to their store—thus, you need to create differently linked ebooks for Amazon and the iBookstore. Each ebook should feature a first page with marketing information that gives readers an easy way to access your ebooks in the retail channel where they purchased the title they’re currently reading.
3. Proper branding is important. As an author, you should definitely have a Web presence for your ebooks. A webpage provides a destination for your readers where you can capture email addresses and communicate with your audience. Just make sure that when you link to your ebooks in the different marketplaces, you provide the correct branding and logos for the various channels. The retailers want to make sure they’re properly represented on the Web, and it makes your presence look more professional.
These tips aren’t going to be a substitute for writing a bestseller—but they can definitely make it easier for readers and retailers to find your book, and start talking about it.
Matt Cavnar is Vice President of Business Development at Vook.