Monday, January 26, 2009

A New Publishing Model?

Wes R. sent this link to a Time Magazine article of interest to writers.

15 comments:

blogless troll said...

It's true: saying you were a self-published author used to be like saying you were a self-taught brain surgeon. But over the past couple of years, vanity publishing has become practically respectable.

Yet vanity brain surgery is still for the woefully talentless. Talk about unfair.

The books of the future may not meet all the conventional criteria for literary value that we have today, or any of them.

How many form rejections has the author of this article received?

You know what would be cool? Having semi-relevant links strewn throughout an electronic novel like this article does. You could even take old boring novels and spice them up:

"Thar she blows! A hump like a snow hill! It is Moby Dick!" (See top 10 New England ski resorts.)

BuffySquirrel said...

Way to leave out Aphra Behn. AGAIN. That white patriarchy bias never gets old, does it?

Also, way to take one example of successful self-publishing and declare it a trend. My cat was eating the box my husband's fish came in earlier today--I declare that the cat food of the future will be cardboard!

Wes said...

There is a classic article entitled "Marketing Myopia" studied in most MBA programs. While it was written in the early 60s, much of it is still valid today. The premise is that railroads back then defined their business as operating a railroad, rather than seeing the larger picture of being in the transportation business. Since then RRs have broadened their view offering intermodal service and running pipelines and fiber optic cables along their rights of way, and they have become more successful.

Might not publishers be in the same boat now? Is it accurate to say publishing's business is printing and selling books? I've seen people on my communter train reading from electronic devices. Why not cut out some of the printing and distribution costs, but use the editorial expertise to refine and market digital content?

BuffySquirrel said...

Seems like the "new model" already has its proponents:

http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2009/01/victoria-strauss-shades-of-edit-ink.html

Robin S. said...

BT, you're a scream. An abomination of annotation.

Phoenix said...

Why not cut out some of the printing and distribution costs, but use the editorial expertise to refine and market digital content?

Hey Wes, there are a number of reputable e-pubs that have already adopted this model: they critically select, edit, then sell books in electronic format. No advances, but authors get royalties anywhere from 30-45%. Most of the authors I know that have gone this route make maybe a few hundred dollars per title. (See top 10 ways to make money online)

(Thanks for the idea, BT. I think you're on to something there! Co-marketing at its best...)

Dave F. said...

The book publishing industry is surprised that the public likes and enjoys a book or books the publishing industry does not like, does not approve of, or thinks the subject matter is suitable for the public...

How very unremarkable that statement is in terms of history. Newspapers gave way to magazines gave way to radio gave way to television and now is giving way to the internet.

Books printing and publishing is spreading into electronic forms and the publishing houses are going the way of newspapers. Where once big publishing houses decided what books would appear in print, now anyone can create a book and market it. If a writer has an audience for his/her/their, then no one can stop them from publishing it. Just like news.

By the way, Still Alice is a book about Alzheimer's Disease.

Stick and Move said...

BT, you slay me. I was thinking the exact same thing as I was reading that article, but you said it funnier than I thought it, so thanks for that. I always like those people who think like me, it affirms my self-worth. Thanks for that, too.

blogless troll said...

This debate always gets bogged down because the pros/cons of self-pub get mixed up and confused with the pros/cons of e-pub and ebook versions of traditional pub and POD or whatever because they sometimes overlap but not always. Things will change, but the revolution is never as sexy as the revolutionaries dream it'll be.

Evil Editor said...

Perhaps a writing exercise in which we write a scene or post a couple paragraphs from something we've written, including several semi-relevant links is in order.

BuffySquirrel said...

I wrote an article like that for Strange Horizons once. Wonder how many of the links still work. lol

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2002/20021021/manhole.shtml

Anonymous said...

Coming from the tar pit known as TIME, it's almost interesting.

Wes said...

Another thing publishers bring to the table is brand. It's the promise of what you will get and reduces doubt about making a purchase. When someone buys a book published by Harlequin (sp?), they know what they are getting. Major publishers will always contribute significant value thru their brand, editorial expertise, and marketing savvy. Hopefully these will keep royalties from eroding.

Of course I'm writing this like I know something about publishing. Take it with a grain of salt.

And the comment about TIME is well taken. How can a weekly news magazine produce only 60 pages of copy with all the issues and events the world is facing? Pitiful. Many of us read that much on the net each day.

Chris Eldin said...

There is nothing better than a troll on a roll.

That first comment is a scream!
:-)

I tend to think that whatever makes kids happy, the parents will follow. So if kids start reading books on their PSPs, the parents will start accepting electronic forms of delivery. I could be completely wrong though. I wish I had a random link to through in here, to make me look smarter.

Neelloc said...

Interesting article, Buffy. I wish it were true. It's worthy of 'Mythbusters'!
IMO, much boxed frozen fish tastes like cardboard anyway.
(I'll probably link this article and discussion to my LJ blog to make me seem smarter...)