An Electric Eclectic insight of the Pandemic’s effects on book sales.

Despite shops being closed for much of 2020, figures show Britons bought books in volume – although many authors continued to struggle.

UK

More than 200m print books were sold in the UK last year, the first time since 2012 that number has been exceeded, according to an estimate from official book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan.

Although physical ‘bricks & mortar’ bookshops in England were closed from 23 March until 15 June, and then again from 5 November until 2 December, with differing lockdowns in place around the rest of the UK – Nielsen has estimated that the volume of print books sold grew by 5.2% compared with 2019. This equates to 202m books being sold in the UK last year and was worth £1.76bn, up 5.5% on 2019, said Nielsen.

The Bookseller magazine (https://www.thebookseller.com/news/bookscan-estimates-2020-full-year-print-market-55-value-1234212 ) said the figure represented the biggest volume rise in the books market since 2007 and the highest annual value since 2009.

Waterstones, Kate Skipper called the figures encouraging. “So many people have turned to books for sustenance, information and joy through this difficult year.”

USA

Physical retail and online retail have taken dramatically different paths during the pandemic. Well-established chains like Brooks Brothers, GNC, J. Crew, and Neiman Marcus have all made Chapter 11 filings, while Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Target reported record sales.

While book publishing, generally, has performed strongly thus far during the pandemic, bookstores have not.

Despite much positive news around publisher net sales, the U.S. Census data show that bookstore sales declined 28.8% in October 2020 vs. 2019 and 31% YTD.

Through the summer of 2020, Barnes & Noble, like most independent booksellers, balanced opening restrictions against offering online order pickup and greatly expanded online sales. By late fall, cafe and magazine newsstand sales were still down significantly, but book sales were running ahead of a year ago, aided by a doubling in online sales.

COVID-19′s impact on publishing sales and the supply chain has been less than many feared it would be. Whatever doom and gloom surround the publishing industry during the COVID crisis, sales cannot be singled out for scorn. Trade sales in 2020 were almost uniformly ahead of 2019, and in several categories, unit sales were up over 20% through mid-December.

EBOOKS

The ebook format has been to some extent reborn during the pandemic, recovering from shrinking percentages of overall sales, and publisher disdain for the format.

AUDIOBOOKS

After years of spectacular sales growth, audiobook sales growth slowed significantly in 2019: 16.4% versus 34.7% in 2018, based on data from the Audio Publishers Association (APA). NPD Group reported that unit digital audiobook sales were up 15% through May 2020. The AAP calculated that downloaded audio sales were up 17.3% to the end of October.

In the library market, Overdrive, which had been seeing year-over-year growth in audiobooks, saw depressed audiobook adoption in the pandemic. A possible reason cited by the company: commuters who had been listening to books in the car (or on mass transit) were no longer going into the office.

ELECTRIC ECLECTIC asks…

Overall, the numbers are positive for audio; only the pace of growth is slowing.

Podcast consumption offers an interesting perspective on this data.

Spotify reported in July that in its second-quarter 21% of users were listening to podcasts, up from 19% in Q1. Overall consumption of podcasts more than doubled.

Podtrac recorded 47% download growth for the 52 weeks ending November 01, 2020.

Are these listeners being lured away from audiobooks? Or are podcasts just part of an overall burgeoning audio trend?

PUBLISHING

The pandemic has had an enormous impact on how publishing companies are staffed and how staff execute their work. And, by all accounts, that impact may mark a permanent shift in publishing workflows.

In early August, Penguin Random House confirmed it will not return to its offices “until sometime in 2021… or until it’s safe and it’s practical, whenever that may be.”

Also in August, Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch sent out a note that “we will not be requiring anyone whose work can be done remotely to return to any of our offices for the foreseeable future.”

GENERAL

Overall retail sales changed only slightly in 2020, but there were huge swings month-to-month. April sales were down 14.7% from March but were followed by an 18.3% jump in May. November retail sales dropped 1.1% from October but were up 4.1% from November 2019.

Book retail is a set of businesses. First, it’s both physical and digital. More than half of all book retail takes place online (with Amazon accounting for at least half of those sales). Physical retail, on its own, has several components, broadly speaking: chain bookstores, independent bookstores, big-box retailers like Costco, and “newsstands” at drug and grocery stores, airport stores, etc.

Then there is digital, capturing more than 10% of most book publisher sales, and the vast majority of self-publishing sales. Amazon controls at least three-quarters of that market.

TO CONCLUDE

The changes in the retail landscape speak volumes. (Pun intended).

On the one hand, from now on publishers must treat bookselling as online- and digital-first, physical-second, with no further questions asked.

Pre-COVID it was still valid for publishers to ponder “where does Amazon fit within our reseller channel strategy?”

The question henceforth is “how do our reselling channels align with an online-first strategy (particularly for Amazon)?”

And the mouse in the corner might be heard to squeak “and what should we do about the bookstores?”

Although the sudden pandemic-driven shifts may slow or revert toward the mean with the achievement of a “new normal,” we believe that important underlying changes will persist and continue to evolve.

Keep Happy, Paul

Give your books their best chance

We are all guilty, at times, of taking things for granted, and that includes me.

For example, I have taken it for granted you know what Electric Eclectic is and how it works, which I know you, or at least many people, do not.

So, I shall endeavour to explain…

Whether you are an established author, an emerging writer or a debut novelist, all of us have one main wish when it comes to our works; we want our books to be read.

To achieve your dream, you must let the world know you have written a great work, a wonderful collection of short stories or poetry, an enticing novel, your mémoire, or whatever writings you may publish.

This is when things become difficult for indie authors. Few of us have the funds, the know-how, the contacts, the experience or the backing to compete with mainstream publishing houses.

Neither do most have the luxury of time; many indies hold down full-time jobs, have children and family members to care for, along with the many other commitments.

Life can be hectic and demanding.

These are a few of the reasons I founded Electric Eclectic.

Electric Eclectic is NOT a publisher. We do not take any royalties.

Neither do we claim any rights over your work. What is yours, remains yours.

So, what is Electric Eclectic?

In its simplest form, Electric Eclectic is a marketing brand.

Technically, Electric Eclectic is a decentralised international co-operative alliance, managed by members in various countries around the globe, forming a strong branded synergy of collaborative association specialising in authorship, book branding, publishing, marketing and promotions.

Using Electric Eclectic branding, being part of the alliance, allows authors to penetrate deeper and wider into the publishing marketplace reaching many more readers than one can do alone.

Electric Eclectic authors work together and for one another while promoting their books and author presence.

Electric Eclectic concentrates in promoting the brand itself, creating marketing opportunities and offering services for the benefit of its member authors.

As an Electric Eclectic author, you also have the backing of the other members, who will willingly advise, help and support you when required.

Electric Eclectic has a far-reaching, multi-platform social media presence encompassing, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, MeWe, LinkedIn and many more.

Plus, we have a great ‘friends’ network, these are other author networks and publishing houses who work closely with us in promoting indie authors books and those published by the small press, therefore greatly extending our market penetration.

We have a large range of information; Documents, Files, Links, Giveaway books, and various Services to aid and assist Electric Eclectic authors and to help and encourage the use of the marketing and promotional opportunities available through Electric Eclectics initiatives.

Electric Eclectic is not a membership scheme.

There is no annual fee or charge.

It is NOT FREE to join, but it’s darned close.

We do ask for a once off, lifetime author registration fee. This confirms you as an Electric Eclectic author. You’ll be surprised just how small this fee is.

The second cost is a licence fee, allowing you to use the Electric Eclectic branding. Each book using the Electric Eclectic branding requires a licence, as this is linked to the books ISBN or ASIN. Again, this is a very small amount.

We do NOT claim Electric Eclectic is the answer to your all your prayers.

This is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme. Nor do we promise the sales of your books will increase a million-fold overnight or the number of ardent fans will rocket through the roof.

Electric Eclectic should form ‘part-of‘ your authorship, publishing and marketing armoury.

It is NOT intended to replace it. You will still need to work at promoting your books.

What Electric Eclectic is, is a low cost, effective method of reaching a wider audience, connecting with likeminded authors, gaining accesses to help, information & documentation, and benefitting from Electric Eclectic’s marketing initiatives.

To find out more how you can become an Electric Eclectic author, please email us at, eebookbranding@mail.com

Keep Happy, Paul White, founder of Electric Eclectic.


Orphans of the pen

Like many writers I have a store of part written works. Literary orphans, many of whom deserve better parenting than I have given.

Some are first drafts of short stories, ones which need attention before I could possibly allow others to set eyes upon them.

Some are beginnings of new books and novels. Many are several chapters – or more – in length. A few far longer, yet abandoned and gathering dust in the archives of ‘I’ll take another look at it, soon, one day, when I have time, sometime.’ 

Some are mere scribblings, outlines of thought, rough drafts of similar concept, or of unjointed notes, sort-of-bullet-points, fleeting notions.

Occasionally, I have pulled the odd page from the depths of neglect. In a few instances, I have reworked such a piece, even developed it into a viable story.

But those times are seldom.

Generally, when I unearth an old unfinished, partly written, abandoned tale, I quickly scan it, faintly recall its birth and return it, with a promise of coming back and spending some time with it ‘when I can give it the attention it deserves.’

Which is probably, almost certainly, a long way off from this current day, like… never.

We make the excuse of having more pressing and urgent tasks as current commitment. We enjoy the conception of creation, of having new babies in the making and we look forward to the birth of out next.

That is, if they reach as far as the publicatory birth. If our current focus is not waylaid or distracted by another fancy, another attractive proposition of literary lust which causes us to forsake the unborn penned pages, formed only weeks ago, during our crazed desire to conceive another narrative fable.

We, as writers, are not good rolemodels for caring and nurturing our creativities.

This is, as you can tell, one of the ‘things’ which I have been silently musing over during the past however-long it has been.

I wanted to understand why I could not simply open a file, drag out the unborn foetus of past indulgence and continue writing where I had left off. Even a re-read and re-write, rather like a genetic splicing of characteristics, to take each past abandoned child of mine from infantile scrawling to full blown beauty and let them loose.

So, I tasked myself to do precisely that. To wrench open the doorway of dusty archives and let the light flood in.

I was astounded by the mass of unloved writings huddled in the dank corners of my hard drive. However, I was determined to make amends for the neglect suffered by these poor word documents. After all, they never asked to be created.

One by one, I read the works.

By the time I reached mid-way point of the fifth part-work, I had my answer.

It is all to do with mood, muse and moment. At least it is for me.

Allow me to explain…

As I said earlier, literary lust and crazed desire set us on a special relationship in the attempt to conceive a beautiful outcome, a desired work of the bestselling nature.

While our mindset is concentrated, focused on a single relationship we flourish, some of us are capable of holding two, maybe three such affairs on a steady and productive track.

But each and all of these are balancing on a knife edge of frustration, distraction and boredom. Unable to help ourselves, our minds are constantly on the look-out for other attractive propositions and exciting ventures.

Therefore, once our muse is diverted the love for what is under our fingers wanes. Rarely is it lost, just lessened, it diminishes, at least for the present.

Then, one day we find these lost loves, or that which we once begat from such a relationship; they reach out, arms feebly grabbing for our attention.

But are we ready to take them to our bosom once more?

Most time, the shame is, we are not. We are not ready or willing. So, we slam the door in their faces, committing them to the darkness of closed files one again.

Why are we so cruel in our neglect?

The answer, I have found, is that mindset I mentioned earlier. To pick-up and move forward, we must rekindle the fondness we felt before, relight the old flame of particular creation.

Without us being ‘in the zone’ with regards to each individual story, we shall never see them grow into the works they surely deserve to be.

Maybe, to assuage your guilt of the shame and self-reproach I have now raised in your heart and mind, because of your wicked neglect over your part works, maybe you should unlock you archive doors and take some time with your unborn literary children.

Bring them out of the shadows, let them dance in the sunlight of new development and re-writing nirvana. You never know what wonderful orphans you may have forgotten.

Need more encouragement?

Then do this…

Dust off one of your lost children, re-write and re-work it into a Novelette or Novella, then publish it as an eBook or a Pocketbook or both, under the Electric Eclectic brand.

Share your creation with our Electric Eclectic authors, allow us to help you spread the word of your new-born, to introduce it to our loving readers.

Become an Electric Eclectic author today and start sharing your once orphaned works with the world.

Email Electric Eclectic, eebookbranding@mail.com

August edition of the Electric Press magazine is now live online…

The August 2020 edition of Electric Press – Literary Insights magazine is now online. Read for FREE below

We welcome contributions and submissions for the next edition of Electric Press magazine, the November 2020 edition. Click HERE for details


Your Story

I first posted this in November 2014, on Ramblings from a Writers Mind my blog where I Write about Writing for Writers.

I am now including it here, on Electric Eclectic’s blog, as I think it is relevent for those of you who have not, as yet, attempted to write their story


Once again I sit here with a vague idea running through my mind, yet I have an uncertainty of how I am going to transfer my thoughts onto the page.

I do not view this predicament as a problem because this is one of my Ramblings and, the whole point of writing a Rambling, is I take a loose concept and start writing without any structured plan.

On good days the whole thing sort of stitches itself into a passable tapestry of cohesive substance.

I hope today is a good day.

Although, I have often heard people say ‘I could write a book about.. this or that’, or ‘that would make a fantastic story’, I rarely, if ever, find any of the people expressing such actually write a darned thing, about anything, ever.

It is all too easy to say such and such would make an interesting story, but far, far harder to write it; I am not speaking of the technical aspects of creative prose, simply the act of putting pen to paper and jotting out more than a few paragraphs.

One of the most difficult things to do is to start writing a story, your story.

I have known people who have journals, diaries and vast libraries of notes, all ready to start writing their story. Ten years later those notes have vanished, the diaries are collecting dust in the loft and the journals long forgotten.

But none of that matters, they say, because… ‘it’s all here in my head’, ‘it’s my life story, so I know it anyway’, or ‘I plan on starting it after…’

I have heard it all.

Once upon a time, I used the same lame excuses to procrastinate about writing the stuff I had bobbling around in my own head. Now, if I go a day without writing at least a few paragraphs, a short story, a poem or one of these Ramblings, I get tetchy and irritable.

Honestly, I suffer withdrawal symptoms.

It is my love of writing and, by ‘writing’, I mean actually transcribing words onto paper, (or in this modern world, onto a computer screen); the more I write, the more I need to write. The more I write, the more I learn about writing, about words, syntax and grammar.

But most of all, I learn about the pliability of words, how they can be moulded and shaped, crafted as a glassblower would fashion his works from a semi-molten liquid into goblets and vases. It is akin to a cabinet maker taking great lumps of raw wood and, carefully whittling and chiselling away until an intricately polished dresser stands proudly displayed.

Words can be shaped and formed in a million and more ways, they are the basic raw materials of a writer’s art, the fundamental building blocks for wordsmiths, the elemental ingredient of the author’s labour.

What is more, these words are free. They cost nothing and are readily available to everyone, including you.

So why not take advantage of this?

Now is the time to clamber into the loft and bring those diaries into the daylight, time to dust off your old journals and to recall your history. Now is the time to sharpen your quill, your pencil, or charge up that laptop and start to write the story you have within yourself.

I shall leave you with this wonderful quotation from ‘I know why the Caged Bird Sings,’ by Maya Angelou,

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Paul.


Wheter you are a ‘newby’ or experienced author, there is much to learn about writing and publishing and any advice or guidence that can save you making mistakes and a ton money is a must.

These two books, The Frugal Author and Lots of Author Stuff you Need to Know do just that; they save you heartache by stearing you away from common mistakes and pitfalls, show you ways of doing things which could save you hundreds of pounds (or Dollars) in both the creation and the publishing of your books.

These two books contain the answers to those questions which have been plaguing you for an age. The ones you really want to know the answers to but have been afraid to ask. They are full of the distilled results, the acquired knowledge and personal practice of being a successful, award-winning, Amazon bestselling indie author, one who dislikes paying out more than is necessary.

These ARE NOT a ‘how-to books‘. They ARE NOT a step by step guides or tuitional publications. These books simply share methodology, ideas and principles which you can adopt fully or partially, implement in part or whole over time, and adjust to suit your working practices.

Download your copies today, The Frugal Author and Lots of Author Stuff you Need to Know.

Two books ALL authors NEED

67a375_50c9c874d0784b8b10e108187b58ae51

Whether you are writing your first book, consider yourself an emerging writer or are an established author, there is always something more, something new to learn about our business.

We may be well versed regarding grammar or have a literary doctorate under our belt; it does not mean we know what Etherpad or Zoho are. Trim sizes and paper weight may confuse us and we may never decipher the difference between the Frontispiece and a Colophon.

If you are looking to publish small press or mainstream it is good to know the accepted word counts of various genres. It also makes sense to understand publishers and agent’s jargon, such as Boilerplate, Permissions and Blues.

What does 4/0/0/4 mean to you? Or Casewrap? Are you familiar with Endsheets?… I’m just asking.

Who should write your books Foreword and who should write your Preface? Do you need either one if you include an Introduction?

Do you understand Copyright and why you might need a Disclaimer? Is it a legal requirement to have an ISBN… and where do you get them anyway?

How would you like some clear advice regarding the difference in formatting eBooks and Print books (Paperback and Hardcover) along with font style advice and free downloads?

How about some samples to help you write your back cover ‘blurb‘ and getting to know how literary agents work and what is it they do… exactly?

All these questions and more are answered, many with examples you may copy and use; along with links, site addresses and downloads to make your life a whole lot easier, to save you money, time, and ton of wasted effort and frustration.

EEnewLogoPaul White, the founder of Electric Eclectic, has two books designed to aid authors and writers to understand the publishing world and what you need to know to be a successful indie author.

Paul’s books are not about the writing process, neither do they offer advice on promotion or marketing… there are a plethora of publications, blogs, vlogs and podcasts which portend to do that.

Do not expect his books to be ‘self-help’ handbooks or a ‘step-by-step’ instruction manuals… they are not.

‘The Frugal Author’ focusses on the cost of self-publishing, giving detailed information Publication1on reducing expenses while maintaining, if not increasing, quality.

Paul says’ “No one needs a large ‘book debt’ before publishing. I advise how authors can be in profit from their first few book sales.”

Following the success of The Frugal Author, (revised edition now published), Paul received many questions about publishing and writing. This encouraged him to write a second book on ‘being indie’ where he addresses, in detail, the most frequent questions asked.

AuthorStuffThe result is ‘Lots of Author Stuff you Need to Know’, a weighty tome of understanding, knowledge and experience of the printing and publishing world. It is a book every author needs to have to hand regardless of experience.

“These books are full of the distilled results, the acquired knowledge and personal practice of being a successful, award-winning, Amazon bestselling indie author.” Says Paul.

The Frugal Author: https://mybook.to/FrugalAuthor

Lots of Author Stuff you Need to Know: https://mybook.to/Authorstuff

Prices on hold until the corvid 19 crisis is over. So, now is the perfect time to download both.

 

Answering Questions…

129310

Recently, we have seen an increase in the number of people asking who or what is Electric Eclectic.

So, it is the question I shall answer here.

Technically, Electric Eclectic is a decentralised international co-operative alliance, managed by members in various countries around the globe, forming a strong branded synergy of collaborative association specialising in authorship, book branding, publishing, marketing and promotions.

Okay, I hear you say, but what does that all mean?

The best way for me to answer that question is to give a little history of Electric Eclectic.

A few years ago, I was browsing the net, looking for some books to read.

A simple task.

Well, no, not really. As I searched I quickly realised this was a bit of a minefield.

Not only is there a plethora of titles on major bookstores websites, but there are also books on offer, or discounted, or offering gifts, or vouchers and even a vast number available for free.

Now, while there is such an overabundance of free and heavily discounted books, why on earth would any sane minded individual want, or even consider buying a book?

Clearly, this trend of giveaways is damaging the publishing world as deforestation is killing our planet. Readers DO NOT follow reading a free book buy purchasing the authors’ other titles, they simply move onto another free book, then the next and the next and the next. (See, FREE is killing indie)

Not only do the industries own figures show only 2% of free books are ever read, but they also show 97% of those who collect free books do not make any other literary purchases.

This got me wondering.

Why, if the book is well written and entertaining, should authors be offering their books at a vastly discounted price anyway, or even trying to bribe someone by giving away goods and vouchers?

After all, these are books which they have invested a great deal of time, lest to say money, in writing and publishing. Are their efforts not worth a few pounds or do these authors know their work is of such poor quality their book would not stand up to the competition without some form of enticement to gain a sale?

I was at a craft fair not so long ago and small handmade trinkets, bracelets, necklaces and such were on sale at what I thought were very high prices, as were the greeting cards and other craft paraphernalia.

After talking with a few of the stallholders I understood the investment of money and effort they spent in producing each individual item. I then realised that £15.00 (GBP) for a handcrafter sterling silver beaded necklace (on leather) with polished semi-precious stone was indeed a very reasonable asking price.

The cost of this necklace was bought further into perspective when I realised I spent £3.50 on a paper cup half-filled with lukewarm weak coffee, a price I accepted without flinching.

I know which was the better value.

My thoughts are, if you have something of quality, especially something created with the uniqueness of original thought and conception, then you have something which, by its very nature, holds an intrinsic value which should never be diminished.

This experience cumulated with me founding Electric Eclectic in 2017, which I originally referred to as Electric Eclectic books. 

EEnewLogo

My original concept was a simple but effective one.

I knew most, if not all authors, have a vast accumulation of unused stories, part works, short unpublished tales and so forth. Mostly, these sit in a desk drawer or on a computer file gathering the dust while waiting patiently for the ‘I’ll finish that one-day’ promise to be realised.

I thought, why not encourage my fellow authors to dust off these neglected, forgotten, orphaned stories and publish them as short works, as eBook Novelettes to introduce readers to their writing style.

As I am a firm believer people do not value-free, as it holds no value whatsoever, my idea was to price these Novelettes at a simple 1.00 price, be it Pounds, Dollars or Euros.

By giving each of these books a light edit, a uniform format, and a consistent cover design we were able to create a brand image, bolstered by the edition of the Electric Eclectic logo.

These books, our Electric Eclectic Novelettes, would give readers a low-cost opportunity to sample the works of all our Electric Eclectic authors and, once they found the authors whose writing style and narration they enjoyed, they could then purchase the author’s main books knowing they were getting a quality read they would thoroughly enjoy and not be taking a chance on an ‘unknown’ writer.

For our Electric Eclectic authors, they would earn a small royalty on the sale of a story which would, in all probability, still be languishing in a dead file and have the chance of gaining new fans and followers.

I do not know of any other marketing programme which pays an author to promote their own books.

EEEEE

By having all our author’s books sharing a common brand, Electric Eclectic, gave us all a far higher prominence in bookstores, such as Amazon and, of course whenever any of our books were promoted the brand was promoted too.

This way, each author is also helping their fellow Electric Eclectic authors showcase their works along with their own.

Since then Electric Eclectic has somewhat evolved.

We now offer far more than just our original Kindle Novelettes, although they are still a major part of our library. Electric Eclectic now have paperbacks (novels and short story collections) and are currently introducing a smaller version paperback, called pocketbooks; these are still complete, whole books, but are printed in a smaller size to make them easier for carrying, whether commuting or travelling on vacation.

All this is a boon for readers of Electric Eclectic books, they now have a much wider choice of formats in which to enjoy our author’s books and, as we are frequently introducing new authors to the Electric Eclectic fold, there are new books and stories to discover.

There’s more…

Electric Eclectic has grown far beyond its original concept and is firmly focused on developing the emerging new independent authored publishing market, a ground shift environment for future generations of writers.

Electric Eclectic boasts its own Amazon store, a YouTube channel, online magazines and catalogues, marketing services, Author Assist services, blogging networks and an influential social media presence across and beyond the major platforms, using core and micro-social influencers to reach both broad and niche market demographic targets.

Visit and browse, https://electriceclecticsblog.wordpress.com/

EEauthorbecome

Become an Electric Eclectic author.

Each year Electric Eclectic welcomes a small number of authors to our ranks. This year is no different.

To join us, email: EEbookbranding@mail.com

I hope the above answers your question about Electric Eclectic, of course, should you have more questions or need clarification about anything Electric Eclectic, please contact us.

Keep Happy,

Paul White

Founder, Electric Eclectic.