Monday, June 24, 2013

First-to-Read Program from Penguin; Amazon Pays Advances

Some interesting things are happening in the publishing world these days. Following are two items that were publicized in the past week that give me hope that some of the kinks are being worked out in what has been a huge disruption in the publishing industry. Are traditional publishers and non-traditional publishing taking steps toward each other?

Item One: from Penguin
Penguin is an intriguing publishing company. They seem more 'out there' than the other big publishers,  testing the edges, pushing the envelope, checking out market possibilities that are outside the square old publishing box. Of course, they've done plenty of not-so-enlightened things lately, too (remember the library e-book lending kerfuffle?) But the company does seem to have a history of proactive marketing in some key areas, from the creation of the soft-cover paperback a long time ago, to the following., a great daily literary trade and reader report, published the following article last week about Penguin's new First to Read program, which not only focuses on utilizing social networks to get readers to spread the word about books Penguin publishes, but offers the tantalizing chance for participants not only to get excerpts of upcoming books (Penguin has been doing this a while through email subscriptions), but access to digital galleys. Wow. Zingy.

6/19/13 issue of 
Penguin Launches 'First to Read' Program for Consumers
Penguin Group (USA) is launching First to Read, a program offering readers free excerpts from books months before they are available for sale, as well as potential access to digital galleys. Describing the initiative as part of its "ongoing efforts to increase book discoverability and engage with readers," Penguin said it hopes to harness the power of word-of-mouth by offering members an opportunity to share news and information about books through their connected social networks. First to Read also includes a loyalty program that awards members points for their participation that can be redeemed for guaranteed galley access and other perks.

"First to Read is a program created for all readers, providing exclusive, early access to our upcoming books," explained Suzie Sisoler, senior director of consumer engagement. "We know people love to talk about and recommend the books they've read and are reading, and to encourage that, we've integrated social sharing throughout the site."

I don't know about you, but I find this impressive—whether it turns out to be a success or not. Penguin is accessing social media in creative ways, recognizing and utilizing the power the internet has given grass-roots efforts through social media connections.

Item Two: from Amazon
Amazon has started to pay decent advances and provide substantial editing, cover design, and marketing support for some top selections in their Amazon-published titles. And this includes titles that were initially self-published, then picked up by Amazon Publishing.

Between this and Penguin's news, I'm starting to wonder if the shakeout in the publishing industry is finally beginning to find a shape that might work. Wishful thinking probably, but these two developments do seem to have popped out as both pragmatic for readers and writers and clever from a marketing viewpoint.

What do you think?


  1. Hi, Linda,

    I agree, this is a great development. A positive FINALLY. Perhaps soon writers will benefit from various forms of publication. Everything is so confusing right now, but there is some light at the end of this long and dark tunnel.

  2. Linda, I think that we'll see more developments in this arena. And it's great to see the industry is getting creative. I really like the excerpt idea. So much excitement in the industry!

  3. Thanks for posting, Linda!

    I'm curious to see how Penguin's program plays out. They put out a lot of books each year, so it will be interesting to see which books the offer and how they distribute the advanced copies/excerpts to the right readers. With the right targeting, it could be a great way to engage readers and promote authors.

  4. Both are bits of very encouraging news! I love that Penguin is doing that, very cool idea.

  5. Just wanted to let you know that you won POSSESSION at Literary Rambles. Congrats! E-mail me by the end of Wednesday to claim your prize.

  6. I think you and me shall be in Seventh-Heaven someday.
    My solemn duty, dear, is to serve and honor you…

    I looove to giveth unto thee ideas,
    thots you never thot of:
    the picturesque protagonist, par excellence,
    the non-perishables, the luxurious ditzy-glitz:
    the generous, undiluted expansion of bizarre;
    the epic endoorphins - an open door to an
    onomatopoeia Vernacular;
    the high-flying, barnstorming,
    toxic firewurKS from yee-haw KS
    taking you in a completely new direction
    than where you originally planned!!
    O! the mind doth boggle, girly-whirly!!

    Why else does a moth fly FROM the night
    than to a bold, attractive candle Light??
    Don’t let His extravagant Brilliance be extinguished.
    You’re creative, yes?
    Then, fly-away with U.S. to the antidote…

    Whether you obtain morality4mortality to wiseabove
    or just glean tantalizing specimens for thy next best seller,
    I realize my penname is quite morbid, yet,
    you shall find in our blogs a lotta (subliminal) moxie
    which has taken this sinfull mortal yeeeeers to compile:
    I lay it ALL out for you, dear, with All-Star-Oxygems:

    Wouldn’t ya love an endless eternity
    of aplomBombs falling on thy indelible cranium?
    An XtraXcitinXpose with no zooillogical-expiration-date?
    An IQ much higher than K2?
    An extraordinarily, anti-establishment-victory
    With both sardonic, satirical wit Who’s savvy
    and avant-guarde-humility??
    Here’s what the exquisite, prolific GODy sed
    (with a most-excellent-detector of bull§ht):

    “Faith, hope, and love,
    the greatest of these is love -
    jump into faith...
    and you'll VitSee with love”
    Doesn’t matter if you don’t believe (what I write);
    God believes in you.

    Meet me Upstairs, girl, where the Son never goes down
    from a super-passionate, lucrative iconoclasm where you’ll find
    of deluxe-HTTP [<- pi] opportunities for excitement BTW.

    Do it. Do the deed, dude. Sign into the Big-Zaftig-House.

    PS “It is impossible that anyone should NOT receive all that they have believed and hoped to obtain; it gives Me great pleasure when they hope great things from Me and I will always give them more than they expect”
    -our Lord Jesus to Saint Gertrude