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Publicity

May 11, 2008

Recently I have gotten a job with a bookstore, one of the big chains.  So far, it has been great to be just surrounded by books.  On the other hand, I have been able to see first-hand how many books get sent back.  I had heard about the numbers (only 5% of published books being profitable and whatnot), but seeing the sheer volume of books that are returned is something else entirely.  Although I feel some of this could be avoided by actions on the publishers part (advertising books other than Harry Potter, for example), part of it also has to do with the shift towards digital fiction, a shift which has been suppressed by the publishers.

With digital fiction, the means of publication is very simple, just about anyone can create a text file, a PDF, or an e-book (although that takes slightly more work).  The means of distribution is also very simple, once its on the net, anyone can access it.  The problem now is the means of publicity.  It matters not how good your fiction is if no one can find it.  Personally, I envision a dedicated Reddit style site that people submit fiction to, but right now there isn’t one (the best that I have been able to find is the scifi subreddit for genre works).  The other side of this is that authors need to start making an effort to read fiction online, to help bootstrap things.

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