Article based on a panel at Capclave (2013) on New Media, New Markets, & Business Models
|Capclave, the annual Washington, DC. Area sci fi/fantasy con, was held last weekend and had way too many intriguing session.
As a writer trying to ride the wave to a professional level, what’s clear is that the publishing world is changing every year, if not month by month. The panel on “New Media, New Markets, New Business Models,” was moderated by Norm Sherman of Escape Pod, which is podcast and supported by a donor underwriting model. Among the panelists were: Neil Clarke of the Hugo Award-winning semi-pro ezine, Clarkesworld; Scott Andrews, editor of Beneath Ceaseless Skies, which has a nonprofit mission and was established five years ago as 501 (c )3 – nonprofit organization in the U.S; Sean Wallace; and K. Ceres Wright.
The Internet has changed everything in publishing. Barnes & Noble is shrinking, Borders is gone, and Amazon has grown. Twenty-five to forty percent of book sales are ebook sales, which are led by sales on Amazon, with Sony, the istore, and Kobo, and direct online sales making a significant dent in the rest. So, investing in digital media opportunities is vital to success.
Consider the plight of Amazing Stories magazine, a longtime print magazine, which went bankrupt and did not have an Internet presence. They are coming back, but only as a blog seeking to build quality content, which they can offer for free.
Let’s consider Beneath Ceaseless Skies model. Online reading is free. However, besides their donation model, they monetize through ebook sales of compilations of their online materials. Creating multiple streams of income is vital for their future, and finding additional means of using new media is just as key.
Clarke stated that Clarkesworld has thirty thousand readers, which only 3,000 subscribers pay for. He stated that many ezines whose business plan solely depended on the donor sponsorship model failed as support fluxuated. Clarkesworld’s business model has diverse streams of income: they offer print edition chap books, sell anthologies, subscriptions, and now feature paid advertisements. He also stressed that among the ezines and magazines, this is not a competitive crowd. Everyone of the editors is a colleague, seeking to help each other survive and succeed.
Another point regarding the expanded medium notes that Locust reports on podcasts annually, and many of those are downloads of 30,000 these days. Andrews stated that Beneath Ceaseless Skies readers are willing to pay for the convenience of stories being sent directly to their Kindles and iphones rather than read for free on their website.
Sherman pointed out that the audiobook market is proliferating. Although, podcast does not seem to be a rapidly growing market any more, the audiobook market is. People like listening to a book while commuting.
One thing is clear… new media is offering new opportunities to get out there and things can change fast. As a writer seeking to build a platform of readers, I need to keep this in mind as I consider how to become better known and promote sales of my books and stories.
Author of Highmage’s Plight and Human Mage (forthcoming)
Sample chapters of his future YA urban fantasy novel Dare2Believe are available on Wattpad.com
To learn more about the author visit his website at www.dhr2believe.net