We thought this was a late-discovered April 1st post until we checked the date, but it seems that, when it comes to stepping outside the box, there’s plenty of life left in the print sector.
Colouring books for adults (that’s coloring books, for you guys across the pond) are apparently storming the charts (LINK), and we can expect a ton of copycats to follow suit.
For those indies who hide behind the bricks-and-mortar excuse as to why trad pub leaves us standing, it’s worth taking a closer look at this latest phenomenon, because there are two important lessons we can learn from this as we look on enviously at those sales figures.
First, while we’re not sure if it’s even possible to make an ebook that anyone can colour in on screen – if not, we’re sure someone will come up with an app very soon – there’s plenty of scope for indies to get in on the act with POD.
One adult colouring book title alone has sold 1.4 MILLION copies world wide.
What’s significant is how these colouring books are holding their own in the Amazon charts. No, not the ebook charts we indies are glued to, but the overall sales charts we indies shy away from because it’s all trad pub.
Here’s the thing: every ranking title on Amazon’s print chart list has NOT been sold in a bricks and mortar store.
It did NOT get the sale because evil Big Pub paid for the plinth in B&N or Waterstone’s and it did NOT get the sale because evil Big Pub has the unfair advantage of being able to get books in bricks and mortar stores that are off-limits to indies.
We indies really need to ask ourselves WHY our print titles can’t compete in the ON-LINE stores like Amazon, etc, when self-evidently we do pretty well in the ebook stores.
There are lots of reasons, and we’ll come back on this in detail another time, but one reason is simple and self-explanatory. We indies (collectively) spend all our time marketing our ebooks to ebook buyers, rather than marketing our books to readers. Many indies don’t even bother with a print edition, or treat it as an afterthought. And as for including a link to our print title when we do our promotions… Don’t be silly. We’re indies!
Meanwhile trad pub pretty much owns the ON-LINE print charts because (collectively) indies have this crazy idea that if we can’t get our books into the high-street stores then print isn’t worth making any effort for.
The second thing we can take from this colouring books for adults phenomenon is this: Follow your passion, and be passionate about it.
When these illustrators were creating their colouring books for kids they stepped back, looked at what *they* were passionate about, and instead of just following the sheep ahead, created a colouring book for adults, because it’s what *they* would like to have been able to buy but it didn’t exist.
At worst it catered to a niche and created a small but welcome new income stream. At best, it pretty much created a new genre, and a tsunami of cash for those who got in early and stole the show.
As indies we are not reliant on a publisher to invest in our passions and dreams. If we choose to follow the sheep and chase whatever the latest chart fad is. and only as an ebook, then we have only ourselves to blame when we find the bandwagon is overcrowded and we can’t get a foothold.
Take full advantage of the freedom and the possibilities available now and the new opportunities opening up every day. Don’t carry on as if nothing has changed except the ability to upload ebooks. Embrace the New Renaissance!
Create, write and publish what you are passionate about, no matter how silly, how seemingly non-commercial or how crazy it may seem.
At worst, you’ll feel better for it and will have a new, if trickling, income stream. And at best, you could be driving the next bandwagon instead of chasing after it.