Thursday, February 16, 2012

Knowing Your Business

Knowing what business you are in has been theme of the publishing blogosphere over the last couple of days.

In an ideas convergence, sparked by Kodak going bankrupt, many commentators are looking at what happened to Kodak and drawing some parallels to the publishing industry.
Knowing what business you are in is the most important pointer to your future as Rachel Gardiner points out with this comment.
Publishers, agents and authors need to start from this very important truth: We are not in the “book” business. We are in the business of storytelling. This encompasses entertainment, information, ideas, creativity, inspiration, and intellectual exploration. It also comprises a social element—the relationship between reader and writer. We are in the business of fostering this relationship.

Mike Shatzkin, publishing futurist, puts it another way using statistics to highlight that in a conservative estimate publishers are looking at over 30% of their revenues coming from online...either through ebooks or Amazon bookstore.
But being halfway through the change in consumer buying habits in our decade of change has profound implications for all the big players in the publishing value chain.

Both these commentators are calling for a wakeup in the publishing industry and this is echoed in the comments section of each of these posts with big hitters weighing in to comment.

Kristin has advice for the big six to take now. Her post, bracing for impact, has a list of important points the traditional publishers should be doing now so they don’t go the Kodak way. (here is just one point she makes...)
New York, if you guys had an e-division, you could take on new untested writers that agents deliver with very little risk. If a new writer sells so many e-books, she earns a print deal and can earn a spot in a…bookstore. Publishers don’t waste paper printing books that don’t sell and bookstores don’t waste shelf space on…books that don’t sell.
 (Since this morning, when the post went up, she has over 109 comments endorsing her call and it is being retweeted everywhere.)

In the spirit of knowing what business you are in, a few writers have been looking at tips to improve the storefront of the author.

Authorculture looks at the author photo and the common mistakes authors make with this vital tool.

Joanna Penn has a guest post on writetodone with the 7 truths of being a writer. This has struck a chord with nearly 100 comments on the subject.

In the add-this-to-the-craft files....

Jami looks at using the Save The Cat Beat Sheet...(Save The Cat is one of the foremost books on screenwriting...)

Alison has an interview with Holly Cupala about marketing...check out Holly’s trailer...

Do you have a book manifesto? If so, does it reduce you to tears? If not, something is wrong...or why you are writing in the first place....

This morning I heard about the pinterest site on radio that is taking the social media world by storm. I know a few writers who use mood boards or inspiration boards to gather pictures of their characters houses maps etc...Check out this post about how pinterest works and how authors can use them to huge advantage...

As you contemplate the changes in the publishing business, spare a thought for those who are up against the wall holding on to the need for a printed book... a list of the downsides of an ebook.
1.You can’t hide a gun in an ebook...check out the rest of the list.

Of course if you can figure out a way to hide a gun in an ereader...a life as a crime writer could be beckoning or you could be taking care of business in a new way....



Melinda Szymanik said...

That's what I liked about Pear Jam Books: the focus on storytelling and building the relationship between authors and illustrators, and readers!

And I disagreed with the photo thing - for some that anarchic look is part of their brand. Loved the seven qualities of writers thing tho' :)

Maureen said...

Yes I was thinking about them as I was reading Rachel's post. It is the new nimble companies that will make the running.... I think Jill is going about it the right way.
I will be interested to see if more publishing companies follow her model.
On that could argue that NZ's Big six are quite small so if they had more autonomy they could be a flagship testing ground for their head offices...wouldn't that be interesting. NZ is already a banking test ground with a literate population and clear defined borders...heheheh

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