WebProNews recently spoke with Ellen Gerstein, the Director of Marketing at John Wiley & Sons, the publishing firm behind the "For Dummies" books among many others. She discussed the impact blogs and social media have had on the publishing industry and gave some advice for bloggers looking to get books published.
"I think there’s a general impression that people aren’t buying books anymore, and while there may be good content out there, it’s really hard to find the readers who are going to pay money for a book," she says. "There are still books being written that have great content and are selling well, and are finding their readers…"
"I think there will always be a place for books…As long as we work to keep our books relevant, that we deliver them on the platforms that people are looking for…yes, the rise of the Kindle and the iPad and the iBookstore have really done wonders for publishing," she adds. "It’s giving us a new medium to reach people, and having that platform for our content has been a good thing."
While there may still be plenty of people buying books, whether that’s in the form of print or digital publications, there is no question that there is a lot of free content out there available to be consumed.
"I think Twitter and blogging is helping us find new authors, but in some senses, it is making us focus more on what the customer is really looking for," Gerstein tells WebProNews. "I think there’s less leeway, because there are so many avenues for putting you content out there, that we have to be more choosey about what goes into a book."
Many bloggers out there have no doubt considered turning some of their best posts into books. After all, you’ve done all of that writing about a particular subejct. Why not?
"It is a very different process between what works in kind of nuggets of content on the web and what works on the printed page, and it is more formal," says Gerstein. "One of our authors, C.C. Chapman, was on our panel [at BlogWorld], and he made the point of saying, ‘when I write a blog post, I can go back and change any of it. Once I put something into print, it’s done.’"
That’s the magic of the web, but when you’re talking about digital formats for books, the possibilities are opened up there as well.
Gerstein offered the following advice for bloggers looking to get published. "I would say, really concentrate on your platform. Figure out what your message is and what community you want to connect with."
"It’s the people who have the platforms, who are out there creating good content and bringing quality information to a community that we’re looking for, and I think if you work on serving that niche…then take it to talking to a publisher, talking to an agent, considering writing a book. Make sure you’re sure who you’re speaking to and why you’re speaking to them before you take that next step."
Of course there are self-publishing options on there. In fact I actually spoke with BookBrewer.com at BlogWorld. This is a service that will let you turn your blog into an eBook and get it on eReading devices like the Kindle, Nook, iPad, iPhone, Android, Kobo, etc. and in online stores like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders. There are also other options, such as Lulu, InstantPublisher, etc.