Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

12/07/2015

The Parallel Universe of Publishing


In the traditional or conventional publishing world, there is more and more ‘dark matter’ flying around that it cannot control or measure. This dark matter is generated by the ever-increasing and evolving digital or ebook side of the publishing universe; AND, since traditional publishing (TP) cannot control or measure all the new digital data with the old paper-related devices such as ‘rights’ management (that’s “precisely what DRM represents: an absurd and pathetic attempt to recreate in the digital realm a command-and-control system that profits off the characteristics of *paper*”) then TP simply makes statements such as “digital or ebooks are down or losing sales.”

Truth is, TP cannot ‘measure’ all this increasing ‘dark matter’ that holds much more favorable digital data. So their statistics are skewed or inaccurate based on incomplete data.

Talk about publishing intrigue!

Len Epp, a contributor to TechCrunch, delves into this dark matter in detail in tonight’s research/resource article:

 

On The Dark Matter Of The Publishing Industry

Key excerpts:

“Recently there were a pair of revealing eruptions in the world of ebooks and the volatile book publishing industry more generally.

The first was the announced demise of Oyster, an ebook subscription startup based in New York and backed by $17 million in VC funding.

While the announcement of Oyster’s shutdown is remarkable for its lack of transparency, apparently after its sun sets, Oyster’s excellent e-book reader expertise will be transferred to Google in the form of its founders and probably some of its tech or even the entire company, but perhaps not its pricey ebook contracts with publishers.”

“Now, there were some very smart people backing Oyster, and I suspect that a) they correctly saw that awesome tech would succeed in driving ebook reading, b) they had some kind of plan to monetize their user base, but ran into the common problem of being unable to finance a longer runway than they hoped for, which happened because c) their West Coast-y VC-style optimism prevented them from fully internalizing the willfully destructive, cynical recalcitrance of the incumbent publishers who, perhaps knowing what they were doing, forced Oyster into senseless, self-sabotaging ebook contracts.”

“There was more bad, meaning good, news to come. The next day, the New York Times gleefully reported that ebook sales were down in general. The surprising news was predictably greeted with what Mathew Ingram memorably called “a whiff of anti-digital Schadenfreude”.

Problem was, the news wasn’t just untrue, it was obviously untrue.”

“Essentially, the numbers the New York Times article was based on were limited to just 1,200 publishers, all of them being what is euphemistically referred to as “traditional” publishers — meaning “doorstopper” paper codex publishers whose business is essentially composed of a highly structured web of legal arrangements that historically evolved to maximize profit from the various physical characteristics of, you guessed it, the paper codex.”

“It was like the “traditional” publishing industry just pretended the ebooks being traded outside its own grumpy universe didn’t exist, because their “traditional” methods of tracking couldn’t see them.”

Open the door into the rest of the dark matter and publishing intrigue in The Parallel Universe of Publishing.

 

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10/06/2013

A Dreadful Year for Publishers? NOT!


A funny thing happened on the way to the new publishing industry maturing and understanding — All the publishing doomsday forecasters and naysayers have been proven wrong due to unforeseen fallouts resulting from the onslaught of digital and tech changes redefining the old traditional publishing (TP) business models.

Damn, I like that sentence — It sort of says publishing is as complicated and unpredictable as Homo sapiens, themselves — And I DON’T mean ‘complicated’ in the confined, restricted, smoke & mirrors sense that TP defenders use to defend why the old TP model was so slow or inefficient (Pssst, actually it sucked to the Nth degree – especially for writers/authors).

But, I can understand why those who grew up in the TP system (actually the only viable system existing at the time), learned how to survive in it and made a living through it, would defend it to the death.

Hot excerpts from tonight’s researched source:

“A flood of self-published books washes ashore. Bestseller prices are down significantly. Bad grammar speeds through the ether at a faster pace than ever before.  This should be a dreadful year for publishers.  Only it’s not.”

“Self-publishing is a huge and disruptive force in the publishing industry, but contrary to popular belief, it’s largely benefiting publishers.”

Note from John: I don’t agree with the word ‘disruptive’ in describing self-publishing – I prefer the word ‘redefining’.

Why Did Self-Publishing Tip?

Fifty Shades lit a fire under everybody. No matter what you think of the book, the numbers were so phenomenal that it made everyone rethink things – Meg Kuhn, COO Kirkus Media”

“The question is: why has all of this chaos helped publishing instead of hurt it?

The short answer is that robust competition has done what it nearly always does – improve market efficiency.  Readers, authors and publishers all see benefits.  Here are the four surprising trends from the past year:”

To get the four surprising publishing trends continue to read the following Forbes article by David Vinjamuri:

 

Is Publishing Still Broken? The Surprising Year In Books

 

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07/11/2013

The World’s First Truly Global Trade Book Publishing Company?


The Penguin Random House merger comes with costs you won’t find on a price sticker

‘A wave of consolidation has snapped what made imprints distinctive.’ – Boris Kachka

Does everyone really know just what the hell an ‘imprint’ is?

Is it a ‘bought’ company that now comes under the management and rules of the ‘buyer’ company but can still fly its own flag over its published works (sort of like a consolation prize for selling out)?

Or, as WikiAnswers defines it: it is the ‘ “brand name” under which a book is published. Most major publishers have at least a few imprints. Some of these imprints are organized as subsidiaries, or “companies within a company,” with their own editorial staffs, release lists, etc. Others are strictly brand names slapped on a book purchased and edited somewhere in the corporation. (According to Wikipedia, Random House, the world’s largest English-language trade book publisher, has more than 50 imprints.)

While the above definitions may be partially accurate (?) Wikipedia probably has the ‘most’ accurate idea of a publishing house imprint simply because it is the most complicated (like all things Re legacy publishing) 🙂 :

‘In the publishing industry, an imprint can mean several different things:

  • A piece of bibliographic information about a book, it refers to the name and address of the book’s publisher and its date of publication as given at the foot or on the verso of its title page.[1]
  • It can mean a trade name under which a work is published.[citation needed] One single publishing company may have multiple imprints; the different imprints are used by the publisher to market works to different demographic consumer segments. In some cases, the diversity results from the takeover of smaller publishers (or parts of their business) by a larger company. This usage of the word has evolved from the first meaning given above.
  • It can also refer to a finer distinction of a book’s version than “edition“.[citation needed] This is used to distinguish, for example different printings, or printing runs of the same edition, or to distinguish the same edition produced by a different publisher or printer. With the creation of the “ISBN” identification system, which is assigned to a text prior to its printing, a different imprint has effectively come to mean a text with a different ISBN—if one had been assigned to it.
  • Under the UK Printer’s Imprint Act 1961,[2] which amended the earlier Newspapers, Printers, and Reading Rooms Repeal Act 1869, any printer must put their name and address on the first or last leaf of every paper or book they print or face a penalty of up to £50 per copy. In addition, under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, any election material – including websites – must show the name of the promoter of the material and the name and address of the person on whose behalf it is being published.’

Actually though, imprints (and how they are or are not allowed to operate) have a greater affect on readers and writers when publishers consolidate as just happened with Random House and Penguin.

After consolidation, some companies prevent their imprints from bidding against one another for manuscripts. This results in not only lower advances for writers — ‘but also fewer options for writers to get the kind of painstaking attention — from editors, marketers and publicists — that it takes to turn their manuscripts into something valuable.’

Boris Kachka writes these details in The New York Times:

Book Publishing’s Big Gamble 

“IT’S official,” Alfred A. Knopf Sr. tweeted last week. “We’re now #PenguinRandomHouse.”

Mr. Knopf — or rather his ghostly avatar, the actual publisher havingsold his namesake firm to Random House in 1960, died in 1984 and rolled over many times since — was celebrating the largest book-publishing merger in history.

The mergerannounced last October and completed on July 1 after regulatory approval, shrinks the Big Six, which publish about two-thirds of books in the United States, down to the Big Five. HarperCollins has reportedly been flirting with Simon & Schuster, which would take it down to four. (The others are Hachette and Macmillan.)

The creation of Penguin Random House (“the world’s first truly global trade book publishing company”) is partly a response to unprecedented pressures on these “legacy” publishers — especially from Amazon, which came out on the winning end of an antitrust lawsuit over the setting of e-book prices. It is also a way to gain leverage and capital in an industry that has been turned upside down. This endgame may be inevitable, but its consequences can’t be ignored.

Consolidation carries costs you won’t find on a price sticker. Dozens of formerly independent firms have been folded into this conglomerate: not just Anchor, Doubleday, Dutton, Knopf, Pantheon, G. P. Putnam’s Sons and Viking, which still wield significant resources, but also storied names like Jonathan Cape, Fawcett, Grosset & Dunlap, and Jeremy P. Tarcher. Many of these have been reduced to mere imprints, brands stamped on a book’s title page, though every good imprint bears the faint mark of a bygone firm with its own mission and sensibility.

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06/06/2013

Seems Traditional Publishers Are the REAL Vanity Publishers


Vanity prevents admitting decline of traditional publishing industry

The main question popping out of Books Expo America (BEA) 2013, just held 5/29/13 thru 6/1/13 in New York, was ‘What in the world were the participants smoking?’ — Surely they had gotten their hands on some quality weed and inhaled it into the deepest innards of their beings.

From there they all seemed to enter a never-never land and were issued rose-colored glasses!

According to some of the keynoters and other presenters, ALL is just hunky-dory in traditional publishing! After all, they made it through another year and this assures their survival, right?

Talk about vanity — Thus traditional publishers are becoming known as ‘vanity’ publishers.

A librarian, attending BEA from Pennsylvania, broke the great news that “Publishing is not dead.” Meaning the old TP business model of publishing is not dead — Now, as noted by NYT best-selling author, Michael Levin, a little later on in this post: ‘How in the hell would a librarian know if publishing was dead or not?’

Even when the big traditional publishers were at the top of their game, and the only player in the playground, they failed miserably at fulfilling what a lot of idealistic daydreamers thought or wanted to believe their noble cause was — mainly to discover, nurture and mentor new talent, as well as make money.

TP’s lost their way when they started putting the almighty buck and profit margins ahead of being the true gatekeepers that discovered and curated new artistic literature and culture. I now sometimes doubt that traditional publishing EVER had this as their true goal and was ALWAYS a hard-nosed money grabbing endeavor.

At any rate, when they ditched the noble-cause-clothes (if, indeed, they ever wore them) and donned the money-grabber garb, the only thing they had left of true value for new writers was the double shot of  marketing and distribution — and that was wrested from them by independent publishing!

I was so taken by author Michael Levin’s style and comic relief approach to this subject that I just had to pass it along :

Posted by Michael Levin in Huffington Post’s Blog:

In New York, The Real Vanity Publishers Converge

I haven’t had a drink or smoked pot in more than two decades, but I am more than willing to toss away my sobriety if the publishers who gathered at BookExpo America last week would share with me some of the high quality ganja they were undoubtedly passing around.

They think that just because they’ve made it through another year, that their ongoing survival is somehow assured.

Wrong.

If you sell enough fiction, maybe you start believing in it.

The reality is that bookstores are disappearing. That book readers are finding other things to do with their time and money. That independent publishing has stolen the raison d’etre of major publishing houses, who have lost their twin hammerlocks on the marketing and distribution of books.

New York publishers also continue to undermine the value of books by publishing mediocre books by mediocre authors who have large social media followings and therefore permit lazy publishers to publish books without needing to make the effort to market them.

This is a market strategy known as trying to fool all of the people all of the time.
It was last applied, with equal success, to the Edsel and more recently, to New Coke.

The New York Times, of course, treats Book Expo America with the solemnity due Puxatawnie Phil on Groundhog Day. It quoted such worthies as a librarian at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to the effect that “Publishing is not dead.” With no disrespect intended to the librarians of Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who are undoubtedly masters of the card catalog, the Dewey Decimal System, and shushing, how the hell would they know whether publishing was dead or not?

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06/01/2013

Traditional Publishing: Dead or Alive? Two Points of View


BookExpo America has drawn 20,000 readers, writers and sellers to the Javits Center in New York

Just what is the state of traditional publishing (TP)? Does it have a future? Is it changing? Is it in crisis? Just what the hell is going on with TP?

We’ve been discussing TP on my two blogs for some time now. Getting input from several different publishing disciplines, published writers, wannabe writers, etc. And guess what? There is no consensus on TP! Some feel this way, others feel that way.

One thing is for sure. TP HAS changed and IS changing — To what end seems to be the unknown. But, this is no big deal because everything and everyone is changing, all the time – that’s life – and the TP unknown future falls in with the rest of our future, which is ‘unknown’.

But, it’s human nature to speculate about things – and TP is one of those things.

Two current views have come out of two recent events: The Futurebook Innovation Workshop held in London’s Brick Lane, 30th May, and The Book Expo America (BEA) 2013, held over the past four days in New York.

The BEA 2013 shindig emitted a feel-good, positive-growth feeling for the print book biz, a dip in e-book growth and a calming of the digital disruption.

The Futurebook Innovation Workshop emitted an opposing view: “Publishing should expect the same profound shake-up experienced by the games industry over the next five years, HarperCollins group strategy and digital director Nick Perrett has said.”

So, what’s in TP’s publishing future: calming growth or continued shake-up?

You know what I think? Despite any real or perceived future shake-ups in publishing — I think ALL publishing will experience growth — simply because Homo sapiens are many-faceted individuals.

What do you think?

05/16/2013

Traditional Publishing Will be Usurped by Digital – But – Print Will Remain in Serious, Non-Fiction Literary Efforts


Gayle Feldman, New York based author and correspondent of “The Bookseller”, receives an exclusive interview with China.org.cn on May 8, 2013. [China.org.cn]

Here we go again – Pitting traditional publishing against indie and self-publishing; print format against digital format; old school business model against new business model, etc. – Which will be the last man standing?

How about ALL — just in different suits. 

Gayle Feldman, a deeply vetted world traveler and widely experienced 30 year veteran of the writing/publishing field, shares many of the same views held by yours truly Re the present and future state of publishing.

A little relevant background from her biography:

“Gayle became the New York correspondent for the London-based Bookseller in 1999, for which she writes a monthly “Letter from New York. 

Other essays – about her family, China, and books and writers – have appeared in The Times of London, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Times, The Far Eastern Economic Review, and on the Op-Ed page, in the Science section, and in the Book Review of The New York Times.

After being awarded a Pew-funded National Arts Journalism Program fellowship at Columbia University in 2001-2, Gayle Feldman spent a year and a half researching and writing a hundred-page study of bestsellers and prize-winning books to show how the book business evolved during the last quarter of the twentieth century as well as the directions it is taking early in the twenty-first century. Published by NAJP as a monograph, Best and Worst of Times: The Changing Business of Trade Books was published in March 2003, and has been reported or quoted in The New York Times, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, The Boston Globe, NPR’s On the Media, etc.”

Zhang Junmian, China.org.cn, reported on Gayle’s exclusive interview on May 8:

Print publishing’s digital challenge

“In the future, print books will continue, but e-books will inevitably grow and dominate some publishing sectors,” New York based author and correspondent of “The Bookseller” Gayle Feldman told China.org.cn in an exclusive interview on May 8. Feldman was commenting on the idea that in the long run, traditional publishing will be usurped by its digital rival.

Feldman, who has worked in publishing for more than 30 years, believes that the traditional publishing sector will continue in spite of an increasingly digitized world. She believes, however, that the traditional sector should adapt and reinvent itself in order to meet the challenges from both domestic and global markets.

In recent years, the conventional publishing sector has been squeezed by internet use in general as well as tech giants like Google, Apple, and particularly the online retailer Amazon. E-books, now a multi-billion dollar category for the company, surged nearly 70 percent in 2012, Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, said in late January 2013. In addition, recent news reports have stated that Microsoft is offering US$1 billion to buy Nook Media’s digital assets.

The rise of digital reading and online book stores has also led to the closure of many high street book stores. Borders, the second-largest U.S. bookstore chain, went bankrupt in 2011, while in China, it’s reported that more than 10,000 private brick-and-mortar bookstores were closed between 2008 and 2011.

As well as this, the change-ravaged book business has been gripped by the dual trends of consolidation and dispersion. Consolidation has resulted in a smaller number of large publishers due to mergers and acquisitions — and the number is set to fall further — while dispersion has led to an increasing number of both smaller publishers and self-published authors, according to Feldman.

“Statistics show that about 23 percent of all trade book sales in the United States in 2012 were e-books,” said Feldman. “And [this is] fast growth, given that people [only] began to read e-books in 2009.”

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04/13/2013

Memo To TP’s: Do Not Miss Last Boat To Survival – Salvation Lies in the Same Source as the Challenge


Urgent Memo to Traditional Publishers: Survival

TP’s are going to have to realize: simple ebooks, that may not require publishers, only scratch the surface of a gigantic potential! Let’s call this potential ‘transmedia‘ or ‘multimedia’.

Traditional publishing is under attack from many sides — ‘the rise of ebooks, competition from other media, the growing shadow of Amazon’, etc. — and the best way to defeat these attacks is to discover how their existing talents, experience and expertise can be applied to accomplishing the new transmedia (or multimedia) publishing demands — Then taking a leadership/innovative role.

In the recent past, some traditional publishers did dip their toes in these waters, experimenting with a few innovative projects; but these half-hearted efforts didn’t pay for the start-up costs; this resulted in traditional publishers retreating to straight digitization of standard text projects, occasionally adding a half-hearted “enhanced ebook.”

TP must go beyond just accepting the new publishing media, they must embrace it, thrive in it. Salvation may lie in the same source as the challenge.

cocreators of The Silent History, a serialized, exploratory novel for iPhone and iPad, have written an exceptional article in HuffPost Re this subject. I know you will enjoy and learn mucho:

Publishing Companies Are Technology Companies. Now It’s Time For Them To Act Like It

The death of publishing has been greatly exaggerated.

Though traditional publishers are being threatened from all sides — the rise of ebooks, competition from other media, the growing shadow of Amazon — publishers have learned from the failures of the music industry, the futility of closing one’s eyes and trying to deny an evolving marketplace. They have conformed to many aspects of digitization, hurrying to convert to required formats and bowing to imposed pricing structures, hoping to not miss the last boat provided by the new marketplace.

However, accepting the future is not the same thing as embracing it, thriving in it. Many of publishers’ traditional functions — printing books, storing and shipping them around the country, maintaining a far-flung sales team — are becoming less relevant as content moves to digital. Self-publishing is an increasingly plausible option, with some remarkable success stories. While nervous companies typically fight to preserve and protect what’s left of their industry, the smart ones figure out how their skills might be applicable in the next. In this new world, how do publishers make themselves valuable and even necessary?

Salvation may lie in the same source as the challenge. Ebooks alone may not require a traditional publisher, but simple ebooks only scratch the surface of the potential of this new realm. Whether we call it transmedia storytelling, interactive fiction, or any other semi-depressing buzzword, we are beginning to see the exciting possibilities: Serialization. Collaboration. Interactivity. Communal reading experiences. Location-aware storytelling. New narrative structures, serving classic storytelling values.

This isn’t about killing books, or forcing unnecessary flash into the reading experience; it’s about providing new tools to our writers and storytellers, engaging readers in new ways. Some early experiments have been successful, while others have been more possibility than reality — which is to be expected with any new form, a natural part of the process of discovery. The formative years of transmedia fiction are taking place against a backdrop of hyper-accelerated technology and an uncertain traditional-publishing industry — at the intersection of startups and panic.

But the potential is clear. Expecting books to be unaffected by these new reading devices would be like expecting cinema to consist of nothing more than filmed plays. True embrace of the emerging formats requires projects more ambitious than simply digitizing a traditional text.

So far, the growth of these evolving forms has been limited by practical obstacles. Unlike straightforward ebooks, transmedia projects can be very difficult for individual authors to undertake on their own. Platforms must be built from the ground up, new markets must be discovered, audiences educated — all for a single one-off project. These challenges would instantly shrink, however, if many projects were brought under a single umbrella — essentially, a new-media publisher. Much of the labor would transfer smoothly from one project to the next: a growing library of code, discovery of best practices, usage analytics, and a relationship with a new community of readers. Costs would quickly decrease, and production speed and sales would improve.

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03/24/2013

The Publishing Industry Will Never Be The Same – What Say We Make It Better! – Or Seeking Literature’s True Business


Make Publishing Better Than It Ever Was

Excellent idea! And one also fostered by +Jon Evans — an author (whose novels have been praised by The Times, The Economist and Washington Post), journalist, software engineer and TechCrunch weekly columnist — whom I recently discovered and, must say, admire. I admire his wit and intelligence — and especially for introducing me to +Richard Nash — another deeply accomplished,  independent publishing entrepreneur, VP of Community and Content of Small Demons, founder of Cursor, and Publisher of Red Lemonade plus much more.

Jon’s outlook as excerpted: “For the last five years, in the face of this spreading transformation, the publishing industry has been caught in a tawdry and depressing spiral of denial and decay, constantly attempting to reject new media, new technologies, and new business models until they can fight back no more…That’s why Nash’s essay is such a breath of revolutionary air. The publishing industry will never be the same, but why can’t it be better? Why can’t a whole new model of publishing be created, rather than this false dichotomy between “published” and “self-published”?”

Richard’s outlook as excerpted: “You begin to realize that the business of literature is the business of making culture, not just the business of manufacturing bound books. This, in turn, means that the increased difficulty of selling bound books in a traditional manner (and the lower price point in selling digital books) is not going to be a significant challenge over the long run, except to free the business of literature from the limitations imposed when one is producing things rather than ideas and stories.

A business born out of the invention of mechanical reproduction transforms and transcends the very circumstances of its inception, and again has the potential to continue to transform and transcend itself—to disrupt industries like education, to drive the movie industry, to empower the gaming industry. Book culture is in far less peril than many choose to assume, for the notion of an imperiled book culture assumes that book culture is a beast far more refined, rarified, and fragile than it actually is. By defining books as against technology, we deny our true selves, we deny the power of the book. Let’s restore to publishing its true reputation—not as a hedge against the future, not as a bulwark against radical change, not as a citadel amidst the barbarians, but rather as the future at hand, as the radical agent of change, as the barbarian. The business of literature is blowing shit up.”

“The business of literature is blowing shit up.” — I like this thesis and it bears repeating.

I know the theme of my post tonight will make some of my past commenters happy 🙂

Let’s explore this issue more (and be introduced to numerous cool links as a byproduct) in this dissecting TechCrunch article by Jon Evans:

 

“The Business Of Literature Is Blowing Shit Up”

If you love books–heck, if you even like ‘em–run, don’t walk, and read this magnificent, magisterial essay by Richard Nash on their past, present and future. It’s long. Don’t be frightened. But even if the Internet has shredded your attention span, at least scroll down to its epic final paragraph. Go on. I’ll wait.

It’s been a rotten decade for book publishers, newspapers, and anyone else clinging to that 15th century technology called the printing press. Marc Andreessen has advised the mighty New York Times to “burn the boats” and shut down their presses. His partner Ben Horowitz claimed last year that “babies born today will probably never read anything in print.”

Meanwhile, Borders is deadthe tablet is killing the e-reader, and Barnes & Noble’s Nook has gone from investor darling to dead-weight albatross. The “Big Six” publishers may seem to be surviving nicely, but check out this graph:

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02/09/2013

Publishing’s Past Not So Hot – Let’s Take a Peek


What am I going to do with all these damn books?

Many people often lament the ‘good old days’ of this or that (publishing being the key word tonight). You know what I’m talking about. These types are usually victims of what I call ‘stunted time warp’. They remember a time that was simpler (and clearer) to them — not because it really was, it just seemed that way to them because they were too young, naive and had no accountability to understand what was truly occurring in the underbellies and backrooms to make things appear perhaps more simple, righteous and clear-cut on the surface (for the uninitiated) — AND as they physically grew and aged, their mental understanding and education RE those specifics did not. They are ‘stunted’ and therefore believe in things that live in the fantasies of their own minds and were never reality in the first place.

This post takes a little insightful look at the small (and not so small) publishers of the so-called ‘golden age’ of publishing and resurrects some literary works that have been forgotten, out of print or never appreciated as much as they should have been in the past due to draconian shortcomings in the so-called traditional publishing (TP) system.

Just what are these draconian shortcomings? The main ones, in this writer’s humble opinion, were and still are:

1) Continuously undermanned  (even the big houses) to handle the awesome workload of incoming manuscripts (both talented and not so talented) from millions of submitters. This is evident by the numerous and often rude original rejections received by tons of later-famous authors for their exact, later-published manuscripts. 

2) Assuming the reading public were/is too stupid to know what they wanted or needed to read or would enjoy.

3) Having the audacity to assume a ‘gatekeeper’ role to protect the reading public from what they considered ‘bad literature’. This is actually a form of censorship — And just where did these self-appointed ‘gatekeepers’ receive their God-like abilities? I was unaware of any universities awarding degrees in supernatural powers 🙂

4) Nonexistent to poor marketing for contracted newbies. (This one never made sense to me as the more invested in marketing the more return realized).

5) Promulgating, perpetuating an unsustainable publishing model for years.

6) Denying most authors a semblance of fair profit margin (except in rare cases).

7) Denying most authors a proper say in literary rights.

What model/system solves these problems and empowers writers? Digital (and POD for those who enjoy print more) self-publishing, of course.

Is this model perfect? Not yet; but, it is evolving more perfect everyday. (Was TP ever perfect?)

Does this new publishing and literary openness and freedom scare some? Of course. Especially those victims of ‘stunted time warp’ as mentioned above.

Will they adjust to modern publishing? Those that are true writing professionals will — just like those in the past have survived past publishing milestones that stunned publishing in totally new directions.

David Streitfeld , The New York Times, writes this:

Publishing Without Perishing

In the old days, life for small publishers was a hassle. The economics were such that copies got dramatically cheaper when printed in bulk, but then the books had to be stored, which was expensive. Finding an audience was the hardest part; some independent presses took years or even decades to sell out a modest print run.

Now books can be efficiently printed in small quantities, like one copy. Amazon, meanwhile, is happy to do the job of fulfilling orders. The stage is set to allow everyone to become his own Alfred Knopf.

James Morrison, a 36-year-old editor and graphic designer in Adelaide, Australia, is an old-fashioned book enthusiast, with around 10,000 books in his personal library. In 2007 he began a blog, Caustic Cover Critic: One Man’s Endless Ranting About Book Design, which showcases and evaluates new jackets. Like any inveterate reader, Mr. Morrison would stumble across obscure books practically begging to be reprinted. For instance, he read an account by the historian David S. Reynolds of “the largest monster in antebellum literature,” which was “the kraken depicted in Eugene Batchelder’s ‘Romance of the Sea-Serpent, or The Ichthyosaurus,’ a bizarre narrative poem about a sea serpent that terrorizes the coast of Massachusetts, destroys a huge ship in mid-ocean, repasts on human remains gruesomely with sharks and whales, attends a Harvard commencement (where he has been asked to speak), [and] shocks partygoers by appearing at a Newport ball.”

Mr. Morrison concluded that “the audience for an 1850 book-length Monty Python-style doggerel poem about a socially aspirant sea serpent is probably just me,” but how could he be sure? The Internet is all about weaving people together with even stranger tastes.

The critic has published about a dozen out-of-copyright volumes using Lulu, which does the printing, and Amazon, which does the selling and shipping. He dubbed his venture Whisky Priest in homage to Graham Greene, himself an enthusiast of uncommon and unjustly forgotten literary efforts. On the Whisky Priest list are the Batchelder book; a collection by Edith Wharton; “Artists’ Wives,” Alphonse Daudet’s stories about the war between the sexes; and Storm Jameson’s “In the Second Year,” a prophetic look at fascism.

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01/30/2013

A-List Author Ditching Traditional Publishing and Embracing the Amazon Model – Some Insights


Traditional Publishing Getting Dumped

Lately, more and more A-list authors are bypassing traditional publishers and self-publishing through various e-book venues.

Why ?

Some, I imagine, go indie because it’s there and they just want to try. Others jump on the self-publishing band wagon to have more freedom and control and still others like the higher margin (even though it’s a higher margin of a cheaper price — think ‘volume’ here).

Tim Ferriss, A-list author of the  4-Hour Workweek and 4-Hour Body  AND the subject of tonight’s post, gives great insight into other reasons why established authors are dumping TPs for digital-publishing through the Amazon platform — like the detailed data intelligence (analytics) provided (who’s buying the ebook & sites driving the most sales, etc) — data never provided by TPs. This is info that can help authors market their own books better and tell them what countries in the world they might possibly want to direct their next project/s. Global marketing here we come !

This Tim Ferriss interview from Business Insider by Dylan Love:

Why One Insanely Successful Author Ditched Traditional Publishers And Went With  Amazon Instead

Tim Ferriss is an entrepreneur, lifestyle hacker, and author who writes about  how to optimize aspects of your life.

His newest book is 4-Hour Chef, and while  there are plenty of recipes in it, it’s actually about about how to maximize  your learning ability. Ferriss teaches the reader the techniques he used to go  from being indifferent towards cooking to becoming a kitchen warrior.

Ferriss’ previous books, 4-Hour  Workweek and 4-Hour  Body, were released through conventional publishers, but he’s one of a  growing number of A-list authors opting to go with Amazon’s publishing model  instead.

We conducted a brief email interview with Ferriss to get his thoughts on  where books and publishing are heading, and here are some of the highlights on  what he had to say:

  • Publishers need to behave more like talent agencies or venture capital  firms to survive.
  • Despite being boycotted by Barnes & Noble,  he doesn’t regret his decision to publish through an Amazon property.
  • E-books are a net positive for the publishing industry.

Here’s the full Q&A:

BUSINESS INSIDER: How does the experience of releasing 4-Hour Chef  through Amazon compare to releasing your other books through more conventional  publishers?

TIM FERRISS:  I was penalized for the bestseller lists  (due to the Barnes and Noble boycott, etc.), but I was able to get incredible  Amazon on-site promotion and data intelligence.  Wondering who’s buying  your books, where, and which sites are driving the most Real converting traffic  to your book page?  I have that insight now, which I never had  before.  It’s been extremely cool and will inform everything I do in the  future.

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