News, commentary, and fiction by Barb Hendee, co-author of the Noble Dead saga (www.NobleDead.org); author of the Mist-Torn Witches series, the Vampire Memories series, and more.

Major Publishers Catching On?

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Any writer who has tried publishing as a "hybrid" (meaning doing both traditional publishing and self-publishing) quickly begins to understand that these are two very different worlds.

Almost everything works differently--even the mindset with a new release.

In traditional publishing, when a new book comes out, it is an "event." If there is any marketing or publicity done by the publisher, it is all done before the book is published. Pre-order numbers are watched carefully, and a book's success or failure is decided in the first week of publication. Of course . . . most are considered failures and thus abandoned.

With a self-published novel, the writer puts the first book of a series up, does a little marketing, and gets started immediately on the second book . . . and then the third. We don't expect to be making much money or to gauge how the series is doing until book four--or even five--goes up. That's also when serious marketing begins. That's when a writer tries for an ad at BookBub. With BookBub, the writer has to apply and show that the series has some potential, and a BookBub ad is expensive, but if you manage to arrange for one, you can really get your series "seen" by thousands of readers. A self-published writer is looking to "grow" a series readership, and this is not a sprint, it's a marathon.

Traditional publishers have begun taking advantage of BookBub, but again . . . mainly with the first book of a new series that is being "launched." Again, the success or failure of the book is decided in the first week of publication. After that, if it's not a huge success coming out of the gate, the book is considered "done."

This is apparently changing somewhat, and I am both surprised and very happy.

I received a message from my publisher, Ace/Roc (Penguin Random House) letting me know that they are going to drop the price of the e-book edition of The Mist-Torn Witches (book one) to $1.99 from October 16th - 30th and pay for a BookBub ad on the 21st. They are beginning to realize there might be potential in an existing series. I am astonished, but I'm happy.

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