Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue


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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Agile Publishing Concept Emphasizes Process Over Perfection

Agile Publishing – Direct from writer to reader

There are pros and cons to the “agile” publishing concept. And there are a lot of discussion and opinions floating around RE streamlining for fast feedback . But, I feel this is a process in evolution and will morph out of major drawbacks. 

The major pro is speed/fast results — elimination of the multi-layered bureaucracy between writer and reader. The major con is possibly lower quality lit.

 Gabe Habash gives insight and a good definition of ‘agile’ publishing in this piece for Publishers Weekly:

Is Publishing Ready for Agile? 

“Agile” is becoming more of a buzzword in publishing circles as companies look to harness the new possibilities digital is providing, but many are still unsure whether the agile model is right, and others still aren’t sure exactly what “agile” means for publishing. To tackle these concerns and more, BISG hosted a webcast with featured speaker Kristen McLean, the founder and CEO of Bookigee. (John’s Note: BISG = Book Industry Study Group)

So—what exactly is “agile” publishing? “It’s a philosophy that is grounded in the customer, getting a lot of good feedback, and not necessarily assuming you know the answer without communication,” said McLean. “It’s for learners, not knowers.”
McLean laid out the key concepts of agile: quick cycles (as quick as a week), self-organizing working groups (as opposed to traditional hierarchical working interactions), and iteration (agile publishers assume that there are going to be changes along the way), among many other key principles. One of the more radical differences between agile and traditional publishing, McLean noted, is that it emphasizes process over perfection. “It’s more important to get it out than to get it perfect, because when you get it out you can test it.” This focus on process (which leads neatly into agile’s tenet of customer feedback and interaction) is difficult for publishers to accept. “We don’t like typos; we don’t like half-finished books,” McLean said.
But early evidence, McLean reported, is showing that agile creates a much higher sense of job satisfaction. This is due in part because of the emphasis on transparency and accountability with agile’s self-organizing working groups—the structure naturally highlights those who are pulling their weight, and those who aren’t.
Read and learn more 
Related article on agile publishing: Entering the Shift Age
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