Sunday, December 27, 2009
As a result, this blog gets a lot of hits from people who don't know who I am. That's the point. As I've said many times, anyone can find you on the net if they're looking for you. The goal is to have people find you when they're looking for something else.
That said, I often get emailed questions that are already answered in my blog. On one hand, a newbie author discovering me is anxious to get answers, and often enthusiastically fires off questions to me without reading all 500 of my posts. On the other hand, anyone who wants to succeed in publishing needs to be in it for the long haul. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Reading all of my entries does a lot more than simply familiarizing you with my writing. It's an encapsulation of how this business works, and how one writer views it.
So it's worth it to the read old posts.
But it's almost 2010. We're in a technological tsunami. Instant gratification isn't fast enough for us.
So here's a blog post that distills the essence of what I've learned in this biz.
Luck Is Important
I say this all the time. In fact, I think it's the #1 factor in determining success in this business. But I've never specifically identified what luck is.
In essence: Getting someone within the industry with enough power and money to recognize they can make money from your work. That's luck. It involves having the right book, in the right place, at the right time. Too soon, too late, wrong person, not good enough--these all can minimize your luck. But hard work, paying attention, and being willing to roll with the punches and accept criticism can maximize your luck.
Still, at the end of the day, it always comes down to a roll of the dice. No one said it would be fair, easy, or fun. But if this is your dream, it is worthwhile to pursue it.
Why do I pursue it?
First, because I love to tell stories. I think it's a fundamental part of the human experience.
Second, because making a living doing something I love is the whole point of life.
Third, because I'm ensuring my little place in history. The most important thing I can do as a human being is be a good husband and father. And yet, who remembers husbands and fathers? How many can you name that you don't personally know?
But writers--everyone can name a dozen writers. That I'm able to reach people, and at the same time become immortal through my work; that speaks to to the essence of what I believe humanity is.
As a species, we love to create things. I'm doing my part and making my mark, in a way that makes me thrilled to be alive.
Understand The Industry
The publishing industry is broken. No doubt about it. Any business that allows returns,
where a 50% sell-through is considered successful, where no one can figure out why things succeed or fail, is fundamentally flawed.
But the more you know about how things work, the better you can manipulate the system.
Good decision-making comes down to facts. The better informed you are, the likelier your decisions will be correct.
Listen. Ask questions. Follow examples. Experiment. Take chances. Stay alert.
The Harder You Try, The More Books You'll Sell
You will not become a bestseller by doing all the things I tell you to do, no matter how logical or well-informed I appear.
You will not become a bestseller through your blog, your touring, your speaking efforts, your internet efforts, or you social networks.
The only way you will become a bestseller is to have your books available, at a discount, in as many places as possible. And that's beyond your control.
That said, every little thing you do to sell your books can help your career.
Books sell one at a time. If you're the one that sells them, one at a time, its one more that probably would not have sold without your efforts.
The Race Is With Yourself
You can't ever compare yourself to any other writer. EVER. This isn't like the business world, where certain positions have a salary range. You can make $100 a year, or $5,000,000 a year, with no discernible difference in your output or your quality.
If you want to compare yourself to someone, compare yourself to yourself. Monitor your successes. Learn from your failures (and if you aren't failing, you aren't trying hard enough.) Try different things, make mistakes, grow, adapt, evolve.
Your peers are a tool you can use to better yourself. But they are NEVER something to aspire to.
Your only aspirations should be within your control. Which brings us to:
Set Achievable Goals
Goals should be within your power. In other words, anything that involves a yes or no from another human being isn't a goal, it's a dream.
You can and should dream, and dream big. But "I want to be a bestseller" isn't a goal. "I want to attend three writing conferences this year, polish my novel, and send queries to ten agents by November" is a goal.
Learn the difference. And don't forget to reward yourself when you reach those goals.
The term "tortured artist" is an oxymoron. Art is not food, clothing, or shelter. Art is what we do to express and entertain ourselves. If you slave over your writing, I recommend finding something more enjoyable to do. Life is too short, and too many bad things happen, to waste time making yourself miserable.
No one ever gets farmer's block. No one ever bitches about being too uninspired to wait tables.
If writing is so hard, perhaps you should find something easier.
This may seem to run contrary to:
Nothing worthwhile in life is easy. Victory is sweetest when it's hard-won.
You shouldn't EVER believe you deserve anything, or that you're entitled to success. But if you want to reach your writing goals, it often involves giving up other things in order to focus on writing.
You need to love writing. In fact, you need to love it so much you're willing to give up other things that other people (perhaps even you) deem important.
How do you know if your love is strong enough and worth the sacrifice?
When you write THE END, if it isn't the coolest feeling in the world, perhaps you should consider a different career.
But if writing THE END is so fulfilling that it was worth giving up TV, sleep, food, sex, and surfing the internet, then you're in the right profession.
Get Used To Insecurity
As a writer, you'll have the biggest ego in the world, and no ego at all, at the same time.
Money will sometimes be plentiful, and sometimes be scarce.
You'll have major accomplishments, and major setbacks. Your mood will swing on a daily basis.
Some dreams will come true. Some will be murdered.
There are no guarantees.
This business is unstable, and being an artist, you're probably a bit unstable to begin with. These things can feed on each other. Doubt, insecurity, and depression, are all part of the career.
There will be long periods of waiting. Lots of them.
There will be challenges (and by that, I mean you'll get screwed.)
But you need to roll with the punches. Set-backs are opportunities to grow. Rejections are learning experiences. This is a business, and can't be taken personally.
If you go into this understanding you're in for an emotional roller coaster, you can handle the turns and dips much better.
Know When To Quit
The measure of a human being is what makes them finally give up. The stronger the person, the more they can take.
In my previous blog post, I said that you are the hero in the movie of your life. Act like it.
What do you want? Who do you want to be?
That dictates what you need to do.
Quitting, like admitting you're wrong, is one of the noblest things you can do in life. It says that you understand, and accept. It allows you to grow.
But if you want to conquer, quitting isn't an option. No one ever accomplished anything great by quitting.
Know your limitations. But also know your potential for greatness.
Gracious. Grateful. Easy going. Helpful. Fun. Giving. Thankful. Courteous. Honest.
In other words, be a nice person.
While "nice" doesn't mean "successful", it does mean you'll sleep better at night.
I believe a successful life is one where people miss you when you die.
As a writer, you have the potential for a great many people to miss you.
But not if you're a dick.
There. Now you don't have to read 500 blog entries.
Happy New Year! See you in 2010!
I have a feeling it will be the best year ever...
Friday, December 18, 2009
Newbie Writer Resolutions
- I will start/finish the damn book
- I will always have at least three stories on submission, while working on a fourth
- I will attend at least one writer's conference, and introduce myself to agents, editors, and other writers
- I will subscribe to the magazines I submit to
- I will join a critique group. If one doesn't exist, I will start one at the local bookstore or library
- I will finish every story I start
- I will listen to criticism
- I will create/update my website
- I will master the query process and search for an agent
- I'll quit procrastinating in the form of research, outlines, synopses, taking classes, reading how-to books, talking about writing, and actually write something
- I will refuse to get discouraged, because I know JA Konrath wrote 9 novels, received almost 500 rejections, and penned over 1 million words before he sold a thing--and I'm a lot more talented than that guy
Professional Writer Resolutions
- I will keep my website updated
- I will keep up with my blog and social networks
- I will schedule bookstore signings, and while at the bookstore I'll meet and greet the customers rather than sit dejected in the corner
- I will send out a newsletter, emphasizing what I have to offer rather than what I have for sale, and I won't send out more than four a year
- I will learn to speak in public, even if I think I already know how
- I will make selling my books my responsibility, not my publisher's
- I will stay in touch with my fans
- I will contact local libraries, and tell them I'm available for speaking engagements
- I will attend as many writing conferences as I can afford
- I will spend a large portion of my advance on self-promotion
- I will help out other writers
- I will not get jealous, will never compare myself to my peers, and will cleanse my soul of envy
- I will be accessible, amiable, and enthusiastic
- I will do one thing every day to self-promote
- I will always remember where I came from
- Keep an Open Mind. It's easier to defend your position than seriously consider new ways of thinking. But there is no innovation, no evolution, no "next big thing" unless someone thinks differently. Be that someone.
- Look Inward. We tend to write for ourselves. But for some reason we don't market for ourselves. Figure out what sort of marketing works on you; that's the type of marketing you should be trying. You should always know why you're doing what you're doing, and what results are acceptable to you.
- Find Your Own Way. Advice is cheap, and the Internet abounds with people telling you how to do things. Question everything. The only advice you should take is the advice that makes sense to you. And if it doesn't work, don't be afraid to ditch it.
- Set Attainable Goals. Saying you'll find an agent, or sell 30,000 books, isn't attainable, because it involves things out of your control. Saying you'll query 50 agents next month, or do signings at 20 bookstores, is within your power and fully attainable.
- Enjoy the Ride. John Lennon said that life is what happens while you're busy planning other things. Writing isn't about the destination; it's about the journey. If you aren't enjoying the process, why are you doing it?
- Help Each Other. One hand should always be reaching up for your next goal. The other should be reaching down to help others get where you're at. We're all in the same boat. Start passing out oars.
I Will Use Anger As Fuel. We all know that this is a hard business. Luck plays a huge part. Rejection is part of the job. Things happen beyond our control, and we can get screwed.
It's impossible not to dwell on it when we're wronged. But rather than vent or stew or rage against the world and everyone in it, we should use that anger and the energy it provides for productive things.
The next time you get bad news, resolve to use that pain to drive your work. Show fate that when it pushes you, you push right back. By writing. By querying. By marketing.
I Will Abandon My Comfort Zone. The only difference between routine and rut is spelling.
As a writer, you are part artist and part businessman.
Great artists take chances.
Successful businessmen take chances.
This means doing things you're afraid of, and things you hate, and things you've never tried before.
If, in 2008, you don't fail at something, you weren't trying hard enough.
I Will Feed My Addiction. Life is busy. There are always things you can and should be doing, and your writing career often comes second.
So make it come first.
Right now, you're reading A Newbie's Guide to Publishing. Not A Newbie's Guide to Leading a Content and Balanced Life.
You want to get published and stay published? That means making writing a priority. That means making sacrifices. A sacrifice involves choosing one thing over another.
If you can't devote the time, energy, and money it takes to pursue this career, go do something else.
I Will Never Be Satisfied. Think the last resolution was extreme? This one really separates the die-hards from the hobbyists.
While an overwhelming sense of peace and enlightenment sounds pretty nice, I wouldn't want to hire a bunch of Zen masters to build an addition on my house.
Satisfaction and contentment are great for your personal life. In your professional life, once you start accepting the way things are, you stop trying.
No one is going to hand you anything in this business. You have to be smart, be good, work hard, and get lucky.
Every time you get published, you got lucky. Don't take it for granted.
When something bad happens, it should make you work harder. But when something good happens, you can't believe you earned it. Because it isn't true. You aren't entitled to this career. No one is.
Yes, you should celebrate successes. Sure, you should enjoy good things when they happen. Smile and laugh and feel warm and fuzzy whenever you finish a story or make a sale or reach a goal.
But remember that happiness isn't productive. Mankind's greatest accomplishments are all tales of struggle, hardship, sacrifice, work, and effort. You won't do any of those things if you're satisfied with the status quo.
Who do you want on your team? The kid who plays for fun? Or the kid who plays to win?
If you want this to be your year, you know which kid you have to be.
This year I'm only going to add one resolution to this growing list, but if you're writing for a living, or trying to write for a living, it's an important one.
I Won't Blame Anyone For Anything. It's tempting to look at the many problems that arise in this business and start pointing fingers. This is a slippery slope, and no good can come from it.
Do agents, editors, and publishers make mistakes? Of course.
You make mistakes too.
Hindsight is 20/20, so we can all look at things that didn't go our way and fantasize about how things should have gone.But blaming others, or yourself, is dwelling on the past. What's done is done, and being bitter isn't going to help your career.
So try to learn from misfortune, forgive yourself and others, and make 2009 a blameless year.
2010As A Newbie's Guide to Publishing closes in on its 500th blog entry, I can't help but reflect on how much the publishing industry has changed in the seven years I've been a part of it.
Here are some new resolutions that reflect these changing times.
I Will Be Wary. The medium in which stories are absorbed is changing in a big way, and it will continue to change. 2009 will go down in publishing history as Year Zero for the upcoming ebook revolution. Writers should explore this new territory, but we need to understand that Print is still King, and any goals and dreams a writer might have regarding publication should be focused on getting into print.
That's not to say that ebooks shouldn't be explored and experimented with. They should be, and in a serious way. Erights are a very long tail--one that can potentially continue long after our lifetimes.
Don't forsake print for ebooks without understanding what you're giving up, and don't give away your ebook rights to get a print deal.
I Will Be A Pioneer. Remember the old saying about how to recognize a pioneer? They're the one with the arrows in their backs and fronts.
I've tried to be forward-thinking in my career, rather than being content with my role as a cog in a broken machine. Your best chance for longevity is to question everything, test boundaries, experiment with new ideas, and be willing to change your mind and learn from your mistakes.
Your job is to survive, by any means necessary. So pull out the arrows and forge ahead. Discover the difference between determination and stupidity by being an example for one or the other or both.
Though this may seem at odds with the previous resolution about being wary, it's actually quite simpatico.
Q: What do you call a wary pioneer? A: Still alive.
I Will Read Books. I'm surprised I haven't mentioned this in previous years. If you're a writer, you must be a reader. I don't care if you read on your Kindle, or on stone tablets. Reading, and giving the gift of reading to others, is essential. Period.
I Will Stop Worrying. Worrying, along with envy, blame, guilt, and regret, is a useless emotion. It's also bad storytelling. Protagonists should be proactive, not reactive. They should forge ahead, not dwell on things beyond their control. Fretting, whining, complaining, and bemoaning the state of the industry isn't the way to get ahead.
You are the hero in the story of your life. Act like it.
Now quit reading blogs and get some writing done.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Sure, you should have a website, and assorted billboards that point to your website (like social networks and blogs), but if someone Googles your name and finds you, you really haven't won any major battles.
The goal is to get people to find you when they're looking for something else. When that happens, you're spreading your brand.
As long as I've been on the Internet, I've been playing around with various ways to get people to find me while looking for something else.
The pinnacle of this idealogy would be to do something that went viral--that spread word-of-mouth and captured millions of viewers.
Hasn't happened yet. Might never happen. But I have thought about it.
For as long as I've had a website, I've been giving away free ebooks. They've been downloaded tens of thousands of times, and recently the frequency is picking up. But I haven't gotten huge volumes of new surfers because I give away ebooks. It's worthwhile, but hardly viral.
I've played with videos a few times, releasing my video to Hyperion on Youtube a few years ago, and last year doing a book trailer for Fuzzy Navel. All total, these have been watched about 5000 times. Not viral at all.
I went heavy into MySpace a few years ago, getting more than 12,000 friends. Then MySpace started to suck, so I spend my effort on Facebook and Twitter. I have a few thousand friends on those, but I'm not a "must see" destination, even though I try to make my daily updates amusing.
I put a funny little Flash game on the Jack Kilborn website, to promote Afraid. It's gotten over 1600 hits, but that's far from viral.
My goal, from the beginning, was to do something that encorages word-of-mouth. Something funny, different, goofy, and unique enough to stand out, while still resonating with the majority of people who see it. I've tried to do this with my writing, from the very start. My books, named after drinks (hook) are funny and scary (hook.) Easy to remember titles + a unique approach to thrillers.
They've caught on, but not virally. It's tough to reach a large audience when you've never had coop, or been in Wal-mart.
With Afraid, I didn't try to write a horror novel. I tried to write the scariest novel of all time. Did a blog tour (a hundred blogs in a month this March), which lead to better sales than my previous books, and over a hundred ratings on Amazon. But again, it didn't set the world on fire.
I wrote a novella with Blake Crouch called SERIAL, and that's the closest thing to viral I've done. I haven't seen the latest numbers, but I estimate it has had over 200,000 downloads. Nice, but it hasn't made Jack Kilborn a household name.
Keep in mind, aiming for viral is a lot like buying a lottery ticket. You can try, but don't have high expectations it's going to work. The stars have to align.
Still, the key word is "try."
My detractors (and I have a few) will often point to the many things I've done to promote my writing and say, "But all that didn't make you a bestseller."
I never thought it would. But I knew I'd sell more books by trying than by doing nothing, and the more I try, the more I do sell.
Which brings me to a new experiment.
Two days ago, I listed an auction on eBay for signed copies of all of my books. I've mentioned it on Twitter and Facebook, and now I'm mentioning it here.
There have been eBay auctions that have attained viral status, either by selling something outrageous (like a Dorito that looks like Michael Jackson), or by using a funny description. My old high school friend Dawn Meehan sold a baseball on eBay in a humorous way, which lead to a blog, an appearance on Good Morning America, and a book deal. She went viral, using only her wit.
So I decided to give it a shot. The main goal of the auction isn't to sell the books. It's to introduce people to my sarcastic brand of humor. The product description is essentially 500 jokes.
The point, of course, isn't to be viewed by people who alreayd know me. It's to be viewed by folks who had no clue who I was before looking at the auction.
So far, I've had over 200 hits on the eBay auction. That's a lot of hits for eBay, but nowhere near viral.
Here's the auction link: http://tiny.cc/JeuuU.
Feel free to check it out, and spread the word. I'm really curious to see if being a smartass, coupled with the social networks I'm already involved in, can translate to a lot of traffic, both on eBay, and by extension, on my website.
Worst case scenario: I sell some books.
Best case scenario: Billions of people visit the auction, leading to my being elected ruler of the world, where I will encourage public nudity and legalize drugs.
Please do your part to help.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
In case any of my blog readers are interested, I'll repeat some of the most asked questions and answers.
Q: When is the next Jack Daniels book coming out?
A: I'm flattered that Jack has so many fans. The sixth Jack book, CHERRY BOMB, came out in hardcover in July, and the paperback version will come out next June. I'm working on a 7th Jack book called SHAKEN, but I'm buried with other projects and have put it on hold.
SHAKEN is not under contract. Hyperion, the publisher of the other six, dropped their mystery line, me included. But I do plan to complete SHAKEN sometime in 2010, and will either search for a new publisher, or release it as an ebook. If you'd like to read the first few chapters of SHAKEN, they're in my ebook collection PLANTER'S PUNCH.
Q: Will you do a sequel to THE LIST? Will you do a sequel to ORIGIN?
A: Again, I'm flattered people are enjoying my early technothrillers, which are available for free on my website as ebooks, and elsewhere for cheap wherever ebooks are sold. THE LIST in particular seems to have struck a chord with people, and it has sold over 10,000 copies on Kindle alone.
Those who have read these ebooks know they've never been traditionally published. These were the books that helped me land my agent, but they never sold.
It seems pretty silly to write a sequel to books that never sold, and yet I do have an idea that would serve as a sequel for both THE LIST and ORIGIN. It's called THE NINE, and would feature characters from both novels. I don't know when I'll have time to work on this, but I do plan on writing and releasing it within the next year or two.
Q: What's the status of TRAPPED?
A: TRAPPED is a semi-sequel to AFRAID, written by my pen name, Jack Kilborn. There's an excerpt from TRAPPED in the back of the AFRAID paperback. I wrote two versions of TRAPPED this year, and my publisher didn't like either of them, so they passed on it.
TRAPPED is a very intense, gritty, and horrifying book, so I can't say that I really blame them. But TRAPPED will come out, eventually. I just don't know when. In the meantime, Jack Kilborn is almost finished with another horror novel called ENDURANCE which is pretty nasty, and is on track to be released in 2010.
Q: Who is Joe Kimball?
A: I'm Joe Kimball. That's my pen name for a science fiction series I'm doing for Ace. The first book, TIMECASTER, is sort of a Buck Rogers type of novel, with lots of sex and violence and even Harry McGlade. (The hero of TIMECASTER is Jack Daniels's grandson.) It will come out in 2010, with a sequel to follow.
Q: Should I forsake finding an agent and a print deal and release my book as an ebook?
A: I get asked this a lot. I've done pretty well with ebooks, and my sales aren't slowing down. But I also have a known name (two known names if you count Kilborn) and this is no doubt helping my ebook sales. So while I'm able to pay my mortgage with my Kindle profits, I don't know of many other ebook writers who can say the same.
Right now, the best way to pursue a writing career is to find a good literary agent and sell the book to a well-respected print publisher. In other words: DON'T DO IT ON YOUR OWN.
Are there exceptions? Of course. Before you pursue a writing career, you need to clearly define your goals, and decide what you want in order to be happy. If you want your book in stores, you need to go the traditional route.
If you've already gone the traditional route, and gotten rejected, I think ebooks are something you can try ALONG WITH continuing your agent/publisher search, not instead of.
Then again, if your goal is to simply have your book available, and to maybe make a few bucks, then visit Smashwords.com. You can upload your ebooks for free, set your own price, and they'll upload them to Amazon, B&N, and Sony. I recommend keeping your price under $2.
Q: How can I make my ebook available for free on Kindle like you did with SERIAL?
A: Go to Smashwords.com and upload your book, setting the price as free. It will be uploaded to Amazon for free. You can also go to Mobipocket, upload your book there, and charge 1 cent, and it will appear on Amazon for a penny.
Q: Will there be any movies based on any of your books?
A: My novel AFRAID is currently under option with Principle Entertainment. The directors attached are the Dowdle brothers, who made a kick ass horror movie called QUARANTINE and another kick ass horror movie called THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES (which is a lot like WHISKEY SOUR, where a serial killer makes snuff films.) It's a good match and things are moving forward.
Options for my other books are currently available. Contact my agent, Jane Dystel, if you'd like to make an offer.
Q: I read you sent 7000 letters to libraries, signed at 600 bookstores in one summer, toured 100 blogs in a month, and got over 500 rejections before you sold your first book. Those numbers are insane. How am I supposed to do that?
A: You don't have to. You should never compare yourself to any other writer. We all have our own paths to follow, and we all decide what we can and can't do.
Q: I'm a new writer. Will you critique my story?
A: I'd love to. But I can't. I'm ridiculously busy these days. My advice is to join a writing group. Every big library, bookstore, and college has them.
Q: Why haven't you replied to my email?
A: If you've emailed me and I haven't responded, I am still having email issues. Since I have 10,000 people on my newsletter mailing list, certain spam bots have marked my IP as a spamming address. Which means there are some ISPs that don't get the emails I send them. It's annoying, and there's nothing I can do about it until I buy another computer and get a new IP. But I do still love you. I promise. :)
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
1. Ebook readers will be available in stores for less than $99. I believe this is the magic price point, and the ability for consumers to purchase their device at their favorite department store will finally allow this tech to enter the mainstream.
2. Amazon will adopt Epub standard format. I've blogged about formats before, and how proprietary formatting is preventing worldwide acceptance of ebooks. The closest to a universal format is Epub, and once there are millions of non-Kindle ereaders out there, Amazon will want a piece of the pie and offer different formats.
3. Ebook readers will improve. Well, no duh. All tech improves as time goes on. But I'm talking about the look and feel of the device, not just what it can do. As advanced as ebook readers are, they still look low tech. Compare this to the iPhone or iPod Touch. These devices look, and feel, 21st century. Some ereader manufacturer will come up with a device that just looks right (the Nook comes close) and it will sell like crazy.
4. Ebooks will go multimedia. The potential for ebooks to change the way a book is experienced has not been explored yet. Author annotation, interviews, video, audio, extras, music, deleted chapters, short stories--these are all benefits that could be added to content at no cost.
5. A third party etailer will rise to prominence. Currently, people buy most of their ebooks online at Amazon. But someone with deep pockets will launch a big website and begin to gobble up marketshare. My guess is this site will be the first to begin offering the out-of-print backlists of published authors. Public domain isn't the key to success. Copyrighted work that is only available used is the key to success, because ebooks can make these vetted, professional books available again. It's a gigantic, viable, untapped market.
6. Estributors will become common. Where there are writers, there are folks who help writers and take a percentage of their income. Agents currently hold this position. But it won't be long until some smart folks realize they can make money being a liaison between the writer and the ebook world, and offer services that include editing, formatting, uploading, and cover art, so the only thing the writer has to do is write.
7. Print publishers will get savvy. Some major publisher is going to realize they can make more money selling ebooks for under $3 than selling them for $15, and they'll give it a try and be successful. Others will follow suit.
8. Ebook bestsellers will emerge. As more reviewing sites and blogs dedicated to ebooks rise up, word-of-mouth will propel some independent ebooks author to bestseller status. It's inevitable, and both the print publishers and Hollywood will take notice.
9. Print books will be packaged with an ebook version. Perhaps it will come on a CD or an SD card. Perhaps it will come with a code so the ebook can be downloaded for free. But some smart publisher is going to include the ebook with the print version. A really smart publisher would also include a download for the audiobook version with the package. Then folks wouldn't mind paying $25 for a hardcover, if it came with those downloads.
10. Exclusivity. If an author is big enough, they are available everywhere: Amazon, Nook, Shortcovers, iTunes, Sony, etc. But someone is going to sign an author exclusively, so their book is only available in one etailer location, to lure people to their device and website.
11. I'll continue to pay my mortgage with ebook sales. I've been self-publishing ebooks on Kindle since April, and every month since I've earned enough to make my monthly house payment. I'm also going to release a novel exclusively as an ebook in 2010, as a long-term experiment, to see if I can earn more in five years than I could on my previous print deals. This is the beginning of a very long tail, and writers really do need to think about how much their ebook rights are worth over the course of their lifetime and beyond. Because that's how long this technology will be around.
What are your predictions for the upcoming year?