When an author is offered a publishing deal, it’s very important to ask what differentiates the publisher from others, what their added value is and why the author should sign with them instead of another publishing house.
There is usually very big differences between getting a deal from a Top 5 publisher vs. a smaller publishing house when you’re an upcoming writer who hasn’t had a big hit before. If you’re very lucky and a big house signs you, it’s unlikely that they’ll do any promotion for your book. They’ll put it in their catalogue and will mostly hope and wait for demand to self-generate. Large publishers usually spend their advertising money exclusively on their top 3-5% of already established authors because it’s too risky for them to invest money in a new, unknown author.
On the other hand, when you publish with a smaller publishing house, they’re willing to take on more risk and publish new, emerging authors, but they usually lack the funds for real advertising. They’ll try their best to do it through social media, PR and free marketing tactics.
Inkitt completely changes the risk economics of publishing authors who have yet to reach their spotlight. Based on the algorithm that we have developed that analyses reading patterns, we can predict much better if a book has the potential to reach a larger readership upfront, based on crowd wisdom. This way we have the advantage to be able to publish talented authors who haven’t had their breakthrough yet and thanks to our investors, we can invest in every book launch. In many cases we have spent over tens of thousands of dollars in both pre-and post launch marketing. Just to clarify, this is an investment from Inkitt in the books and the authors receive royalties from the revenue not from the Inkitt profit.
So what exactly goes on behind the scenes when we publish a book? From the moment you, the author, submit your manuscript to us, until copies become available worldwide in both digital and print – here’s everything that goes into our publishing process, how we tailor each marketing strategy to make each author’s work a best seller and give them the spotlight they deserve.
As you know, at Inkitt every book goes through an initial readership analysis in order to collect reading data to find out how hooked people were while reading, and uncover who the book’s ideal audience is. This way, Inkitt is able to identify novels that do have best seller potential, and gain crucial information about its readership, even before publication, allowing the publishing team to elaborate a very targeted marketing strategy.
We work hand in hand with our authors and come up with the marketing strategies that are best suited for their books.
Picking the next best seller
Once we see that a novel is performing really well on the site, we contact the author to offer them a publishing deal and sign the contract.
With our team of professional editors, we make sure that the manuscript is up to snuff by giving it two rounds of in-depth editing. Afterwards we have a proofreader go through with a fine comb to polish out last stains. This is the process the authors are most involved in. We emphasize the author as the chief editor. We meet with editors as consultants, they can suggest changes and ideas, but the final say remains in the hands of the author, as we trust them to know their target audience best. Same applies for the cover. We create over three different draft options of the cover for the author to pick from and run tests on how audiences react to each cover by running Facebook ads and posting them on social media. This way we can guarantee that we guide the author into the right direction to pick a cover design that will not only please the eyes of the reader, but also sell copies.
Building author fanbases
Once we have the necessary content, we run ads on multiple social media networks with the goal to build up a large email list of engaged fans for the author. We are turning signups into enthusiastic fans by sending them advanced reading material from the author and the possibility to join in on special events like reading sessions and Q&A’s with the author.
We maintain a network of 20,000 book reviewers, bloggers and booktubers. We select the ones that are the right match for your book, individually tailoring our outreach to make sure that your book is seen by the right audience.
The goal is to get as many reviews as we can for the launch week, as it’s in direct correlation with the conversion rate of visiting to buying. We usually get for around 50-100 reviews in the launch week.
Social media consulting
We are committed to building up an author’s brand that goes beyond promoting a single book. We will help the author get set up on all relevant social channels and coach them to become a social media pro. Being a successful author is about so much more than just writing a great book (which you already have!), it’s about accessing your fans and sharing your talent with your readers. We have a very close relationship with our authors and have regular Skype calls with them to discuss strategies and help with anything that may come up.
The day where we make the whole preparation count. At this point, we have designed a beautiful cover, perfected the manuscript and built up a dedicated fanbase that is waiting for the book to launch. Now we make sure your books get as big of a spotlight as possible. By sending exclusive launch offers to the fans, we make sure that your books sail high up into the Amazon rankings. This way we guarantee that the books show up in the Amazon best seller lists and get featured by Amazon with the goal to get it in front of as many interested buyers as possible. So far 17 of the 18 books that we published became Amazon best sellers, meaning that they’ve ranked #1 in their category and a lot of them even reached top 20 or top 50 rankings among the 4 million books on Amazon.
While your book is working its way up the charts on launch day, we’ll be working together to promote your brand on your established social channels, as well as Inkitt’s social pages. These promotions include hosting live readings, Q&A sessions between fans and authors, contests, and giveaways.
After the launch, we are working on further building up the fanbase of the author by collecting emails through Facebook ads. Interested potential buyers can either sign up to future releases of the author directly through so called lead forms on Facebook or through sign up pages integrated inside the books. By generating a fanbase we are not only securing the longtime career of an author and sales for future books, but get the possibility to sell other items from the author like book bundles, audiobooks and merchandise, to maximize the royalties for the authors. We also try to get all of our others featured by Bookbub and advertised to their email list and are seeing really good results from their newsletters.
Press and media relations
To turn a book into an international best seller often marketing is not enough, you need to involve the press. This is why we are working together with a PR consultant at Mindbuckmedia, who previously worked at Amazon and therefore has great understanding of digital sales. Having a great PR strategy is one of the major requirements to get the books as paperbacks into top retailers and libraries.
Inkitt Author Breaks LGBT Stereotypes
Charlotte’s first interview with Cultured Vultures, shortly after the launch of her first novel, Just Juliet.
Since early May 2017, we have been building our own sales team to pitch our books to bookstores and libraries all across the U.S. and U.K and have been seeing very positive responses. Also, the first Inkitt audiobook is in the making right now and we might create more for a selection of our future books.
We also have a dedicated Slack channel: Inkitt Authors, where they can reach our publishing team at any time, should they have any questions or announcements. On there you’ll also find a perpetual flow of excitement, friendly exchanges and lots of shameless quotes and puns. Authors can also interact with each other, share ideas and help each other cross-promote.
Inkitt is growing and improving each month and our goal as a publisher is to support as many talented authors as we can to help them reach their full potential. We believe in authors. We believe that authors can change the world. And we’re here to help make that happen.
If you have any questions regarding our publishing process, feel free to comment below or shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founder & CEO
Since I posted this blog, I’ve been receiving a lot of emails from authors who want to submit their work to Inkitt. You can easily do it here: www.inkitt.com/novelcontest Thanks so much everyone, keep writing!