Friday, August 4, 2023

Profit Strategies for Authors with Sara Megibow

Sara Megibow (she/her) is the Vice President and Senior Literary Agent with kt literary out of Highlands Ranch, Colorado. She has worked in publishing since 2006 and represents New York Times bestselling authors including Rebecca Roanhorse, Casey McQuiston, Margaret Rogerson and Jaleigh Johnson.  Sara doesn't do picture books or nonfiction, but does represent MG and YA.

She enjoys the chess game of profit strategies when brokering her clients' deals. Sara mentions the 3 paths to publishing are self publishing, small or midsize publishing houses, and the 'Big 5' (Penguin/Random House, Hachette Book Group, Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, and Macmillan). Big 5/traditional publishing is the zone Sara works in most and what her strategy talk will be focused on.

Sara starts by explaining to us there are four zones the money comes from to make the 'profit' part of profit strategies. Here are three:

1. Distribution is primarily still focused on print sales for kidlit as far as distribution type—it's not uncommon for 90,000 YA print novels to sell but only 8,000 in its digital format.

Print sales distribution chunks are Barnes & Noble, Amazon, indie bookstores, Readerlink (which buys for Target, Costco, Walmart, etc.), and libraries. A good profit strategy looks at where your particular title being published will fit best within one or more of these 'chunks' and tailoring your distribution/marketing to that particular group.

2. Formats (audio, e-, or hardcover) and subsidiary rights — sub rights — (audiobook, movies, and translations) are also considered when an agent is developing a deal. 

3. Publicity campaigns. Which should be tailored to that book's market and what's working well that month for that particular market segment. Social media advertising is mostly tailored to impulse buys, which translates best to e-book sales, which means hardcover picture books aren't benefitting as much from social ads the way plainer, longer text books that translate well to ebook format are. Publishers doing a trade published hardcover picture book will be heavily or totally weighted towards print vs. a YA romance novel may get way more ebook publicity dollars like paying for an Amazon spotlight page or an ebook discount day.

Neither Sara nor her clients can control buy in from the major retailers and whatever economic whim they are currently chasing or what format consumers are preferring to read. Instead focus on what you can control: Your writing/art and keeping *your* website updated (and from that probably your email newsletter list!)

No comments:

Post a Comment