Earlier this month, I took part in a Q&A with the Sisters in Crime of Upstate South Carolina writers’ group at their monthly meeting in Greenville. They’re a fun bunch of devoted and serious crime-fiction writers, male and female. If you’ve been looking for a network of writers in this region, I enthusiastically recommend them.
One of the Sisters in Crime asked, “What changes do you see coming in traditional publishing business models and contracts?” Quite a few transformations are occurring, so I’ll make the answer I gave to that question into a three-part blogpost. Most of these changes already are taking place, but they might not be noticeable to everyone just yet.
Publishers’ fortunes are rising and falling on the basis of one megabestselling series, such as The Hunger Games trilogy, the Fifty Shades trilogy, the Millennium series trilogy, Twilight, and Harry Potter. It’s easy to see all the consumer-facing hoopla, but these series have had huge impacts on their publishers’ bottom lines in certain years.
Businesses like clothing stores, restaurant chains, ad agencies, and health spas that have never before been involved in publishing books are starting their own publishing initiatives. It makes sense to capture all of the profit potential in a particular niche of special interest. This kind of specialization is often referred to as a vertical—in essence, a one-stop shop. Get your canoe + purchase a code to stream the movie Deliverance + sign up for whitewater sports classes + buy the paperback edition of Into the Wild all in the same store, right? Special markets, and suitable formats for books sold through them, are becoming more interesting and important.