A few months back, I tipped Writer Unboxed readers to a new self-published ebook project I launched, The 33. I used its unusual episodic format as an example to encourage storytellers of all stripes — traditionally-published writers, self-published writers, publishers and more — to thoughtfully examine the ebook marketplace and spot opportunities to tell and sell stories in new ways.
Today, I’ll share some of the insights I’ve learned since The 33’s debut, and encourage you to embrace another customer-centric strategy as you move forward with your own writing, and building your career.
First things first: Tell your inner artist to go for a walk or something. That frail, hand-wringing creature has no business reading this post. We’re not talking about craft here. We’re talking about making money with your words. Tell your inner artist to put on some yoga pants, grab a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, and go fret about impostor syndrome or something.
Okay. So. Regardless of your publishing persuasion — traditional, self, Big Five or scrappy indie — you oughta be interested in earning some scratch from your words. And so, with your inner artist busily chomping away on some Chunky Monkey, let’s talk straight: Stories are products. Readers are customers.
Stories are products. Readers are customers.
By studying customer behaviors, you can craft stories — and offer those stories in resonant ways — that will sell more products. This will entertain more people, and put more food on your table. Win-win.
As I mentioned in my last post, observing larger trends in e-publishing is a critical component to this success. E-reading devices — from Kindles to tablets to smartphones — are now ubiquitous. Short stories and short novels / novellas are growing in popularity. Serialized narratives are, too. And the dark days of miserly early-adopters who wouldn’t download a novel unless it was free or 99 cents have ended. Thank goodness.
These trends, and others, suggest that customers’ comfort with e-fiction and shorter-form narratives are here to stay. [Read more…]