Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

02/28/2013

Turning the Publishing Industry on its Head


I’m Publishing and I’m upside down !

Today, a good book publishing/marketing/funding model is to make books for your readers versus trying to find readers for your books.

Now, think about this for a moment — Where have you heard this, or something similar, before?

Hmmm — For those who are really thinking about this concept, it implies that you must first have readers before you write your book, right? This is great for known authors with an established fanbase.

So, how does the newbie or wannabe author get their readers lined up before publishing a book first? (Hint: You must publish something.)

Let me know how you think this can be accomplished.

But, for now, I have found a great, short video (and text) interview with Seth Godin, entrepreneur, author, speaker and book guru of sorts, on the Motley Fool by Brendan Byrnes that delves into this book strategy model a little deeper:

How to Turn the Publishing Industry Upside Down 

The video below is taken from an interview that Motley Fool analyst Brendan Byrnes recently had with Seth Godin, author of The Icarus Deception. Godin is also a talented public speaker, marketing guru, blogger, entrepreneur, and respected thought leader.

Seth’s forward-thinking and contrarian views are critical considerations for finding success in life, business, and investing.

It’s the same approach our own chief investment officer, Andy Cross, took when selecting The Motley Fool’s Top Stock for 2013. I invite you to uncover his market-beating thinking in this new free report. Just click here now for instant access.

Brendan Byrnes: Hey folks, I’m Brendan Byrnes and I’m joined today by Seth Godin, the author of The Icarus Deception. First of all, thank you so much for your time.

Seth Godin: Pleasure.

Brendan: Before we get to the book, I wanted to ask you about an interesting way that you raised money for this book, or what you called “organizing your readers” for the book. How did you do that?

Godin: A lot of people have heard about this new service called Kickstarter. The idea, apparently, is that you can go to folks and say, “I’m an artist. I want to make something. Put up some money so I can get it made.”

What really happens is, most of the public is willing to do it if they get a prize in exchange, so you can say, “You’ll get a copy of my vinyl LP,” “I’ll come to your house and put on a concert.” Different amounts of money get you different prizes.

I saw it growing and resonating with people, but what I realized was it’s very difficult to get a stranger to show up and say, “Yeah, I’m going to fund your work.” I also knew that the hardest part of book publishing is the first 10,000 copies. Getting the first 10,000 people to touch the book is really hard, but then if the book is good, it will spread.

I went to my readers and I said, “I’m doing this Kickstarter. There’s all these different prizes. The cheapest price is $4. You can get a preview of the book when it’s done, digitally, and the most expensive prize is hundreds of dollars and you’ll get eight copies of this and a big copy of that, and this…”

In four hours, I hit my goal and in three days we sold out of everything. People say, “Wow, that’s an overnight success.” Well, no. It took seven years of building an audience that wanted to participate.

(John’s Note: And herein lies the secret key)

I then spent every penny I got, plus a little extra, to make the stuff. I came out with four books at the same time, which was thrilling to do, but from a business point of view what’s interesting is I was making books for my readers, as opposed to trying to find readers for my books. That turns the entire industry upside down.

Read and learn more

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12/26/2010

How Many Authors Are Dumping Their Publishing Houses to Self-Publish?


“Until someone comes up with an algorithm to sort the good manuscripts from the bad, publishers and their human network of agents and editors maintain an advantage,” McQuivey said. ‘But sooner or later someone will create a new way for readers to find the books they most want to read, and that someone may or may not be a traditional book publisher.'”

Great, previously-traditionally-published authors are jumping from their old publishing houses to self-publishing to take advantage of higher percentage earnings, cheaper operational costs and faster distribution directly to their readers.

New technology, eBook stores, apps and platforms are blooming all over the bloody place!

This phenomonon, coupled with the fact that big plublishing has been lousy “gatekeepers” for at least the past three decades (or since they essentially sold out new authors and talent for their quick bottom-lines–sort of the greedy condition that happened on Wall Street), was exactly the stimuli needed to invent better ways to accommodate writers, recognize more talent and satisfy the vast market of unquenchable readers.

I believe big publishing has always underestimated the reading market.

Further, big publishing became arrogant and got the cart before the horse; putting greater value on just the business of selling a creative commodity over the commodity-creators themselves and just leaving the real producers/artisans chump change.

Alex Pham reports these details in the LA Times:

Book publishers see their role as gatekeepers shrink

Writers are bypassing the traditional route to bookstore shelves and self-publishing their works online. By selling directly to readers, authors get a larger slice of the sale price.

Joe Konrath can’t wait for his books to go out of print.

When that happens, the 40-year-old crime novelist plans to reclaim the copyrights from his publisher, Hyperion Books, and self-publish them on Amazon.com, Apple Inc.’s iBooks and other online outlets. That way he’ll be able to collect 70% of the sale price, compared with the 6% to 18% he receives from Hyperion.

As for future novels, Konrath plans to self-publish all of them in digital form without having to leave his house in Schaumburg, Ill.

“I doubt I’ll ever have another traditional print deal,” said the author of “Whiskey Sour,” “Bloody Mary” and other titles. “I can earn more money on my own.”

For more than a century, writers have made the fabled pilgrimage to New York, offering their stories to publishing houses and dreaming of bound editions on bookstore shelves. Publishers had the power of the purse and the press. They doled out advances to writers they deemed worthy and paid the cost of printing, binding and delivering books to bookstores. In the world of print, few authors could afford to self-publish.

The Internet has changed all that, allowing writers to sell their works directly to readers, bypassing agents and publishers who once were the gatekeepers.

Read and learn more

08/24/2010

Best-selling Author Dumps Traditional Publishers


The publishing and book world is ABUZZZZZ with the news that Seth Godin, a top selling marketing author, is dumping his traditional publisher because they take too long to get his product to his readers AND he has developed a close enough relationship with his readers, through his online blog, that he feels he can sell directly to them and dispense with the laborious publishers.

Phew! That was a long and laborious sentence, I’m out of breadth…It says a lot though:

First, it points out the importance of blogs to establish an author’s online platform and relationships.

Second, life is too short to waste it jumping through the traditional publishing hoops.

Third, the internet can tell you just who your readers are (and provide better tracking).

This from Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg of the Wall Street Journal:

In a significant defection for the book industry, best-selling marketing author Seth Godin is ditching his traditional publisher, Portfolio, after a string of books and plans to sell his future works directly to his fans.

The author of about a dozen books including “Purple Cow” said he now has so many direct customer relationships, largely via his blog, that he no longer needs a traditional publisher. Mr. Godin plans to release subsequent titles himself in electronic books, via print-on-demand or in such formats as audiobooks, apps, small digital files called PDFs and podcasts.

“Publishers provide a huge resource to authors who don’t know who reads their books,” said Mr. Godin in an interview. “What the Internet has done for me, and a lot of others, is enable me to know my readers.”

It’s unclear how many, if any, best-selling authors will follow Mr. Godin’s lead. However, his departure from Portfolio, an imprint owned by Pearson PLC’s Penguin Group (USA), comes at a critical juncture for the industry. With many new titles spending less time on best-seller lists and in bookstores, publishers are increasingly dependent on brand-name authors such as Mr. Godin to deliver significant book sales.

Read more http://alturl.com/keqy6

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