Content is King but Author Success is Fleeting

It seems like every day you hear about a new New York Times Bestselling author and the millions of copies of their new book that are being distributed. “That’s easy!” you think, “I can do that!”; but you will be mistaken. The odds of being a best-selling author are one in a million–you are probably more likely to hit the lottery than enter the stratosphere of top selling books. While this is incredibly frustrating for individuals who make their living writing books, it is not unexpected.

The Proliferation of Blogs

One of the key reasons that authors are having such a hard time these days is long-form publishing, aka books, are falling out of favor with readers. Attention spans are incredibly short these days, with people much more interested in learning a small tidbit of information and moving on, or reading a portion of a story–only enough to get the high points–before their attention is distracted somewhere else. For this reason, blog authors have come into the forefront. Some authors have embraced this direction, realizing that in order to stay relevant they must reinvent the way they publish content. The savvy ones comprehending that if they have something longer to say that they can publish it as a series of posts, which is yet another good way to keep people returning to your blog or website.

Along with being a shorter form of conversation, blogs also offer the added benefit of being a very quick way to distribute content to a broad marketplace. If something happens out in the world, no more are readers forced to wait months or possibly years to learn more about an in-depth situation. Instead, readers simply Google the topic and they can then stitch together foundational knowledge of the topic from the breadth of blog posts.

While one particular blog post may not share all the information that a reader is looking for, generally readers can get the majority of what they need to know by browsing through a few blogs. Also blog posts can be always updated  after new research or product comes out. If you would write a book about rifle and also the include the best shops, versions, accessories, ammo or optics to get then this information can be outdated in months. However with blog post you can always update and refresh the content like in this AR-15 optics buyer guide. After the models get old or discontinued then it`s very easy for author to replace them and suggest new, better products.

Content Monetization

The monetization of content has really helped drive this direction with the advent of Google AdWords and other direct digital marketing opportunities. With Google AdWords working across different platforms, authors realize that they can create an email that drives people to a website where their AdWords implementation sits and makes them money while people browse their content. The shorter forms of content are also great for reading on mobile phones and with nearly 40% of reading done on a smaller form-factor device, either mobile phone or tablet, creating shorter content continues to make sense.

Author Discoverability

Bloggers have also figured out reviews and commenting–the more active they are out in the blogging community, the more other bloggers will return to their site and leave comments and share the information on social media networks. This sharing and commenting does more than raise interest levels of those who stumble upon the micro-targeted content, it also has the added benefit of raising the blog in the eyes of the almighty and far-reaching search engines. Even blogs about insane content such as makeup and fashion can make a very reliable income from advertising and also from endorsements for corporate sponsors. This trend is growing, as corporate sponsors are looking to get their products and services out in the marketplace in ways that feel more “authentic”. Having a fad-celebrity create content around their products such as a blog post or a video feels much less like a traditional ad and more like an endorsement from a friend to consumers.

The Impact of Publishing Houses

Traditional authors generally do not have access to advertising dollars, and unless they are willing to share their book in a digital format will run up against additional challenges should they attempt to publish it at a large publishing house. Publishing houses are feeling the crunch as well, and are cutting back their author pools to only the largest authors who have a huge online following and a platform in which to promote their content. The continued disenfranchisement of publishing houses feeds into the problem, as authors have even fewer conventional ways to distribute their work.

The frustration of authors who may feel as though they are losing a form of their craft is offset by the knowledge that many can reinvent themselves by investing time and attention in creating a shorter form of the conversation in the pattern of a blog.