One of the sometimes inscrutable changes that happen frequently in book publishing comes from the name on the book, the imprint. I was reminded of how strange these changes can be when I discovered quite a while ago that Bookcraft, once the name of the second largest LDS publisher, is now no longer in use.
This past week has been quite busy for news about the LDS market and the publishing industry. The following are noteworthy:
- Cedar Fort saw unexpected promotional success with Melissa Moore‘s book, Shattered Silence, which will be the subject of an Oprah episode that airs September 17th.
- Deseret Management announced that the websites of Deseret Book, KSL, the Deseret News, LDS Church News, and Mormon Times will now all be managed by a new division in the company, Deseret Digital.
- A 17-year-old American Fork teenager M’Lin Rowley, signed a 10-book deal with Deseret Book‘s Shadow Mountain imprint.
Zoe Murdock owns, with her husband, H.O.T. Press, which for years published tech manuals. When she decided to write fiction–the semi-autobiographical novel Torn by God: A Family’s Struggle with Polygamy–she just went ahead and published it herself. (personal website, twitter)
Moriah Jovan started B10 Mediaworx to publish her novel The Proviso. The novel is the first in a six-part series. The second volume, Stay, will be released around Thanksgiving. (blog, novels website, twitter)
Table of contents
On the seemingly larger number of LDS women than LDS men in indie publishing
The future roles of traditional/indie publishers and traditional/e distribution
How to get folks to your site
On editing for publication
On paying the bills
On selling out
What we can expect from them in the future
Back to work
Now let’s start by letting them introduce themselves: Continue reading “Those LDS Ladies of Indie Publishing”
Tonight the Living Scriptures salesman showed up at our door. His car’s GPS had every member of our ward plugged into it and after visiting the Coes, it told him to drive to our house next. He was a nice guy, a BYU student, getting married at the end of the summer. I was able to offer him some good advice for his fiancee about getting a California teaching credential. So even though we didn’t buy anything and scored a free DVD, I still think he came out better. Continue reading “Selling the Bug-Eyed Blue-Eyed Jesus (that’s just wrong)”
In the wake of last week’s news about Deseret Book taking Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books, I started thinking again about what alternatives there might be to Deseret Book’s dominance of the LDS market. There seems to be little question that many more sophisticated books, although apparently some are books that make the most sensitive or religiously conservative uncomfortable, and as a result those books are mostly shut out of LDS bookstores.
That might be a simplistic explanation, and perhaps doesn’t cover all aspects of the problem. I’ve tried to discuss the problems with Deseret Book in the past (see The problem of Deseret Book Part 1: A Question of Size, The Problem of Deseret Book Part 2: A Question of Focus, The Problem of Deseret Book Part 3: Unresolvable? and Bad Move, Deseret Book). Let’s come up with some ideas for other ways to get LDS books to LDS consumers, especially those in areas not served by LDS stores.
In school, my marketing professors taught that businesses would avoid a lot of errors if they would introduce new products only after studying the intended market for the product first. Too many products are created only to find that there isn’t a market for them — no one wants to purchase them.
Its kind of like the idea “start with the end in mind,” execpt you have to do research to figure out the end first.
Marketing experts agree that the proper way to create a product is to start with a market study. Which group of people would be interested in which features of a potential product and how much would they be willing to pay for that product. Knowing this, the producer can decide whether or not the product is worth the effort. Or, just as importantly, what features or benefits the product should have to distinguish it from other products competing for the same customers. Once the study is complete, then, they argue, the product can be designed to meet what the market wants.
So, is this the way that a writer should plan out the books he writes?
When my now 14-year-old daughter was an infant and toddler, we employed a nanny to care for her. Since we were fairly permissive employers, we allowed her to use the time when our daughter was sleeping as she saw fit. One day I came home to find her reading Sam Taylor‘s Heaven Knows Why?
She later joined the Church.
In my view there are two conflicting strains of advice for authors regarding what they should write. One, which I’ll call the “write what you know” advice, claims that writers are most successful when they write about what they know intimately. Authors need to know a subject before they write, according to this advice.
The other line of thinking, let’s call it the “research before you write” advice, suggests that authors research carefully not only the subject but for the market for a book to make sure there is some kind of market for the book. Authors, this idea claims, should write what will sell, not just whatever they happen to know about.
If you ask me, both views are simplistic, at least.