The advent of online bookstores has changed the way that writers sell their books and meet their readers. Even though consumers still like to have a hard copy of a book, internet booksellers have taken the lion’s share of book sales in the past decade making the internet the foremost shop front where most authors put their work into the public eye. This has changed the publishing industry significantly, some say more than anything since the invention of the printing press half a millennium ago.
In the past, writers composed their work, submitted it to publishers and the few that were accepted for publication then had their books publicized and marketed by the publisher through bookstores, often as part of well established business arrangements to supply the shops with a stream of new books that are almost guaranteed, to some degree, to sell well (or the publishers will generally accept the return of unsold books). In recent years the stranglehold that traditional publishers have had over book production has been broken and writers have gained more control over the publication of their work through means such as e-books and print on demand publishers. Along with the great gains for writers that use these methods of getting their books into print there has also been a shift in responsibility for publicizing and distributing books to the author himself meaning that new writers must not only be able to compose a book but must also be able to promote it themselves as print on demand publishers and e-book marketers generally only give minimal support to all but a small percentage of their most successful authors.
This means that new or emerging authors need to be familiar with the new technology that they will need to use to sell their books. Now it is only half of the writer’s job to actually write and the other half revolves around developing a profile of the web, blogging, virtual book tours and the like. I have spent a great deal of time creating author profile pages, swapping blog subscriptions with other new authors and, presently anyway, studying various aspects of how the wwweb actually works- beginning with the search engines.