by Jan Sikes
No one can dispute the fact that the publishing industry has changed drastically over the past twenty years. No longer is traditional publishing a writer’s only option. But, with that freedom comes an entirely new set of challenges.
A positive financial impact to the Texas economy is one of the most significant results of the Indie publishing boom. Yet, even with the growth in sales tax revenue from the new publishing generation, Texas authors and writers are all but ignored. That is one challenge that is being met head-on by an organization created specifically to help Texas authors.
May has been designated as Texas Authors & Writers month with a variety of programs created to promote the great works by these authors. This includes bookstore events and, most importantly, the Lone Star Festival on May 20, in Seguin, Texas.
The Lone Star Festival is exclusively for Texas authors, artists, and musicians. But, the celebration is for everyone who enjoys supporting these artisans. Lone Star Festival is part of the Book Festival Network, which is only one of the many programs that B Alan Bourgeois has created to help support not only Texas authors, but Indie authors around the world.
The Authors Marketing Guild, previously known as the Texas Association of Authors, was founded by Bourgeois with the sole purpose of educating and helping authors market their work. Marketing is undoubtedly the hardest part of writing books, and he has some entrepreneurial ideas and innovative ways of doing that.
Started in 2011, as The Texas Association of Authors, it quickly expanded to encompass a non-profit, DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Texas whose purpose is to help put books into the hands of adults and children who can’t afford to purchase them. Through DEAR Texas sponsorship and promotion, book festivals soon sprouted, providing authors with a place to connect one-on-one with readers and sell books.
Add to that yearly conferences, utilizing professionals in the marketing field, from whom authors can receive one-on-one mentoring and sharing of ideas, and a solid marketing service begins to emerge.
But the growth of this complex organization did not stop there. In 2014, Bourgeois created the first of its kind museum dedicated to preserving works by Texas authors from the past two-hundred-years to present time, for future generations to enjoy. The Texas Authors Institute of History is currently an on-line endeavor with plans to turn it into a physical museum where people of all ages can visit, learn about Texas authors, and have educational opportunities in the field of writing.
What’s the bottom line? All of this takes time, money, and people.
In 2018, there were over forty-five-thousand authors in the United States. Currently, in Texas, there are an estimated 10,080 authors, a number which grows on average by ten percent each year. And, while Texas is a big state, as with most other states in the U.S., authors receive little support.
Why is this? The Texas Commission on the Arts designates the largest portion of its budget to visual artists with only a tiny percentage going to authors.
Again, Authors Marketing Guild is fighting to change this. In 2016, a proclamation presented in the House of Representatives, declared the Texas Association of Authors to be a valuable organization working toward better education through reading, in Texas.
And even with all of that, nothing changed. Authors are still all but ignored by the government, even though they bring millions of dollars into the economy each year through their work.
As a self-published author, I know the struggle up-close and personal. As with most authors, I have to work a separate job to support my passion for writing and publishing books.
When Amazon opened its doors to authors for self-publishing, they also opened their pocketbooks to take the lion’s share of authors’ profits, as well as compromising the integrity of quality authors by allowing unedited works to be published. Indie authors are fighting that stigma every day, and even though progress has been made, the fact remains traditionally published authors receive more respect than Indies even though they produce high-quality works.
And while the choices for authors today are varied, none carry a silver bullet or guarantee of success.
With over a million new titles uploaded to Amazon each year, the market is saturated. Combine that with the fact the there are fewer readers than ever before, and you quickly get the picture. The idea of making a decent living writing books is pretty far-fetched. So why do authors do it?
True writers have a passion for telling stories. They have a burning desire to create, and a spine-tingling love affair with words.
It takes a group effort to create a change. It also has been said that before the change, comes great chaos. We are in publishing chaos. Now it’s time for a change, and through the efforts of organizations like Authors Marketing Guild, progress is being made. But it can’t be done by just one man. It takes a group of like-minded dedicated people.
If you are one of the estimated 10,080 authors in Texas who would like a hand-up when it comes to publishing and marketing your work, this organization could be your answer. Will Authors Marketing Guild sell your books for you? No! But it will give you the education, tools, and most up-to-date and relevant tips to help you publish and sell your work, and maneuver through the publishing maze.
For more visit https://authorsmarketingguild.com/