Recently I had a chance to ask Nicole Langan, owner of Tribute books about the changing publishing climate and the new direction she is taking her company to. As a person who is interested (and sometimes critical) of all aspects of books I was very glad that she agreed to answer a few questions.
Q. Can you tell us more about Tribute Books becoming solely an ebook publisher of young adult titles?
A. Our main reason is the explosion in popularity of e-readers such as the Kindle, Nook and iPad. Over the course of 2011, we’ve watched our ebook sales outpace our print sales by 2 to 1. The under $5 price point of most of our titles and the ease of purchase and delivery are surely contributing factors.
On a business level, the young adult genre sells especially if it is well written and has a paranormal romance theme. On a marketing level, the devotion of the young adult fan base is unparalleled. On a personal level, I thoroughly enjoy a good young adult novel and review many on my blog at http://tributebooksreviews.blogspot.com.
Q. Why did you make this decision?
A. In 2004, I started Tribute Books. Since that time, I’ve worked with dozens of authors, illustrators, photographers and editors in publishing over 30 books. Some of our books have gone on to win awards such as the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year and the Mom’s Choice Award while others were endorsed by PBS and The Thoreau Society. We’ve covered a wide range of genres from children’s picture books to history to sports.
Personally, I felt as a one-person operation that I was spreading myself too thin in trying to market to too many different markets by publishing books in such a wide array of genres. If I had a marketing staff of 20 people, it would be a different story. That is why I made the decision to focus solely on the young adult genre for now.
Q. What kind of authors are you looking for and what do you offer them?
A. My preference is for damn good writing, the particular topic is secondary in importance. However, books written with a series in mind or those that delve into the paranormal will have a slight edge. Manuscripts that have already been professionally edited will receive greater consideration. Our preference is to work with authors who have already been published through a royalty-paying press and who know the ins and outs of book promotion. An established social media platform is a must, and we will not consider writers who do not have a well-followed blog, Facebook page or Twitter account.
Interested authors can submit their manuscripts via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. There will be no charge for the authors we select to work with, and they will receive 50% of the net profits of their ebook sales in quarterly royalty payments. We’re looking for Microsoft Word documents with a maximum of 350 pages of text with no photos, charts, illustrations, graphs, etc. The ebooks will be available through Kindle, Nook, iPad, Smashwords and as PDF downloads through Tribute-Books.com. They will retail between $2.99 and $4.95.
Q. What are the challenges of book promotions in the social media age?
A. In my opinion, social networking is the bread and butter of any author’s promotional efforts. Without it, it’s like trying to paddle upstream without a canoe. Readers want to connect with the person who wrote the book. They crave interaction with an author. Nothing beats getting a writer to comment on a blogger’s book review post or getting a personalized thank you tweet from your favorite author. The days of authors being isolated from their fans is over. They’re now able to build an online following and receive instant feedback for their work. They have the opportunity to take part in creating their own literary community.
Q. How do you see book bloggers fitting into a promotional campaign?
A. I am a big believer in the power of social media. I even conduct monthly blog tours for outside publishers and authors in order to help them increase the online presence of a book. Book bloggers are a powerful force in the book industry. With more and more book stores closing and book review columns being cut from major newspapers, readers are depending on bloggers to help them find the books they want to read. They are turning to the internet as a reference point to fill this information gap.
We try to keep an active online presence with our web site (http://www.tribute-books.com/), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Archbald-PA/Tribute-Books/171628704176), Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/TributeBooks) and blog (http://tributebooks.blogspot.com/). We’d love to have anyone who loves young adult literature to join us for the ride.
Thanks Nicole – good luck with your new business model.
Zohar – Man of la Book