Authors are underserved, could be served better by publishing industry. The traditional book tour only reaches people who go to bookstores for readings. Authors can also add blogging, public speaking, and events.
Anderson and partners have started booktour.com to help people find out what author events are coming up. (In beta, will launch July 10th.)
For me, at least, the focus on book tours isn’t that useful. They’re looking at other promotions as supporting book tours. I think most of us are looking at stand-alone promotion — you need critical mass to do a book tour.
Really, these guys are talking about author brand. Interestingly, this ties back to the earlier keynote, where Chris Andersen said that the interests of authors and publishers diverge.
Authors want to brand themselves and increase their visibility. Meanwhile, publishers want their authors to sell more books. But establishing an author as a brand makes the author more viable outside the relationship with the publisher.
“Search privileges the old. Older stuff has more time to get links.” (Andersen)
“Publisher will lose interest very soon.” The economic model demands focus on new content.
A comment from a woman in the audience who runs a niche publisher. They don’t do book tours, but they “follow authors around” when they do their own promotion. They take a longer view of book life.
Another comment from someone at Simon & Schuster. She feels that many of her authors are artists, “but not personalities.” They might be good writers, but not so good at the self-promotion game.
“Authors can be barriers to participation in marketing.” This from an audience member from Penguin Books in the U.K.
Oddly, nobody has mentioned self-publishing. In a world where the author is expected to do all of the promotion, what does the publisher bring to the party? In the past, the answer was perceived quality or the knowledge that somebody has done editorial work, but if the book is selling based on the author’s reputation and visibility, then what does the publisher bring? Distribution isn’t that important when sales are being driven by direct links to the author’s web site.