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5 Reasons Why Most Digital Books will Fail and So Will Their Authors

Submitted by on June 7, 2010 – 3:21 pmNo Comment

There is a lot of buzz today centered on digital publishing:  whether it be a Seth Godin blog circulating about the magazine world, book publishers racing to get their back- listed titles converted to digital format, or every online portal available racing to get a piece of the DIY author. All these conversations are important to listen to and keep a pulse on as the publishing world continues to adapt to new technologies. With that said what I don’t hear anyone talking about is promoting online books. Case in point, the WSJ article we posted last week  barely touched on the social media aspect or author promotions; the article focused on author royalties and the monthly incomes generated for DIY systems, which is why every software mogul is jumping on board to spearhead the potential cash flow.

Selling books still takes a lot of work, and simply having an eBook converted, will not sell your book. Steve Jobs reported today, at the WWDC conference, that 22% of the market share is already owned by the iBook store; this will put you in position to sell digital books, but you still have to promote them.   

To help the cause, we put together a punch list of reasons why most digital books will fail and so will their authors:

  1. The book’s content is horribly written because it has not gone through the typical vetting process with a team of editors. (But hey, the author did show the manuscript to five of their closest friends, and they all loved it)
  2. The metadata in the book, which Google loves, does not push or accelerate the author’s overall brand, platform, or core message so the online shelf life of the book is less than expected.
  3. No one is talking about the book online or anywhere for that matter, oh and by the way, the author has absolutely no platform but was told by someone you can download a blog template for free.
  4. There is no collaborative effort being done to market the book but everyone the author knows (I’ll be generous and say a few hundred – even a thousand people) is excited because they can see the book from their BlackBerry and buy it for $2.99.
  5. There is no need for the book in the market because there are twenty other books exactly like it which have already sold thousands of copies (the value of a team – helping to separate a book from the rest) but the author is really excited because there is a review posted to Amazon with a three star rating.

We have worked in book promotion for over fifteen years and have seen many books published that don’t sell.  In fact, they completely fail. The ones that have sold well are done with a team; planning and strategizing the need in the market, assessing the timing, the execution, the marketing and publicity.  While I am an entrepreneur at heart and love seeing people make it in life, do me a favor and put a winning team together, before you hit the convert button.