Thursday, October 11, 2012

Vampires Make Good Business Partners

And they won't bleed you dry, pun quite intended.

Knowing that this book, when it's done and ready, will be shoved out of the nest and into a crowd of other self-published books, is a scary thing. I mean, I like my ideas. I like that I have control over the project. I sort of relish the idea of producing this book by myself, because I promise I'm gonna make it sweet.

But it's scary and off-putting to most people because they're afraid they'll never experience what I call (and there are probably other names for it in this line of work) the Twilight effect.

It has very very little to do with vampires, and a heck of a lot to do with how the publishing business works at its best and most organic moments.

In the fall of 2008, I worked at our local Books-a-Million while taking a semester off of college. If you remember, that was the year that the first Twilight film was released, in November, just before Thanksgiving. I honestly didn't know much about that series except for that they had vampires and were really popular.

I was working the day after the movie came out, and I obviously hadn't seen it yet. A lot of customers who came in that day requested at least one of the Twilight books, often the first one. Why?

They liked the movie.

They liked it so well, they bought the first book, and maybe the second. Eventually, we actually ran out of copies of New Moon (which was frustrating, because Christmas.) We sold a lot of copies of Twilight that season. The best part was that people who enjoyed the first book would come back and buy all of them. This meant a larger audience for the next film. That meant more books sold.

It did help that the series was already a bestseller, of course. Money was spent to produce the book and film series.

I'd say they got a return on their investment. That's how business works.

One of the hesitations in the decision to self-publish is knowing that it's very, very likely that there won't be a film franchise to boost sales.

But seeing that demonstration of how the publishing business works is encouraging, because ultimately, during that Christmas season, that bookstore did really well because of word of mouth business.

It's exciting because communication is at the heart of society now. Of business. When given two differing reviews of a product, people are autonomous enough that they want to find out for themselves. And maybe they'll talk about it.

People talk.

And that's awesome.

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