The Publishing Pendulum

October 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

Traditional publishing is restrictive. The restriction comes from economic constraints on the publisher. Publishing has always been a few hits to lots of misses and the only way to eliminate the economic risk was an extreme conservative approach. Yes, many authors are feeling the liberation of not having to answer to those conservative publishing enclaves, but economics still govern.

The problem isn’t being “branded” as a self published author, but rather the author never gets a brand. JA Konrath has a brand, “the self-publish” brand, which he has been cultivating for a couple of years quite successfully. This is why his books sell. Everyone knows who he is, even people who don’t read his type of books.

Somewhere there is a happy in-between, a sweet spot where the author has freedom, the publisher allows it and readers get what they want and a lot of books get sold as everyone plays off each other’s strengths and needs. I think that is the future and that the self-publishing pendulum will swing back until it is resting somewhere in the middle — which is good news for the middleman.

Content, Content, Content

October 7, 2010 § 1 Comment

What makes a book last?
To play off the old real estate adage — content, content, content.

I can’t even keep up with the stuff I write, let alone anyone else, and I read — a lot. As a publisher, I hope I can direct my readers to the types of content they desire. Desired content is as varied as humanity, so directing the reader to what they may be interested in feels like an overwhelming task.

I feel the tension as I’ve begun the publishing company in a whole new way. Immediate gratification seems to drive the human compulsion to buy. And motivating the compulsion to buy is what a business is all about. Content, however, is what gives the book legs. A great book is not like a great feast. A great book can sit on the shelf for decades and it will still be a great book. A great feast can sit on the table for about four hours before it starts to go bad. The battle between immediacy and longevity is just one paradox the writer and the publisher must face, but it is a biggie.

As a publisher, I hope I can provide great books and great feasts.

The Flood of Words

October 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

Authors and writers are finding themselves in a similar position to musicians, except that is hard to go on tour and play to large crowds. The entire blog tour idea is somewhat analogous, but no T-shirts and beer.

I’m not so sure how it will all work out either. It is a great time to be a reader is a little bit like saying it is a great time to be swimmer during a flood. I’m not sure what the landscape is going to look like after the flood, but everybody needs to be finding an ark.

I think the easiest way around the pandering of self-promotion is a straightforward, outright declaration of what your self-interest is. I just got finished reading Christopher Hitchen’s memoir and his friendship and relationship with Martin Amis and Salaman Rushdie didn’t stop him from commenting fully on those authors or praising their work.

Taste is taste. If you like someone’s taste, odds are someone with similar taste will like yours too. Think staff recommendations at the indie book stores. It won’t matter if it is a book written by them or a friend or relative. Influence comes from the reader’s taste and finding other reader’s with similar taste. Think of it as the log you grab as the Titanics of publishing sink.

So When Do You Become A Publisher?

October 6, 2010 § 1 Comment

I’d say

is a start.

TDTM
Falling Back To Earth
The Fourth World
Twisted Sister

The crazy thing — this is going to be over ten within the next week or so. I will also be adding four or five more authors.

I love my new job (and I still have that attorney day job).

Books v. eBooks: A Non-Argument

October 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

Too much time is wasted on the argument over books versus eBooks. Formatting has always changed. The fact that Shakespeare may have wrote with a quill and his plays were originally preserved in folios doesn’t much matter today. The only thing that mattered is the words that dripped off his pen — and the word’s impact on audiences, culture and the language.

What matters today is the same as the 1600s — whether the words will last. Any real writer will strive to have words that impact. The only real discussion about formatting should be about how to reach the widest possible audience for words that truly need a wide audience.

This comment brought to you by my sponsor: Binary Press Publications

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Defining Publishing

September 26, 2010 § 1 Comment

From a purely utilitarian standpoint, the attempt to label a publisher is an attempt to categorize quality for marketing purposes. The more accurate the label, the better indication of the quality of the product.

The problem isn’t with the vocabulary. The problem is that publishing is an industry in flux. At one stage in publishing history pamphleteer was a pejorative, but pamphleteers also produced classics, ie Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense.” Recently, so called traditional publishing applies as much to celebrity drek as to quality literature, so this isn’t really about quality either.

The identification by the public of the publisher “type” is the duty of the publisher. The publisher has to communicate to its audience who they are and what they do. A good publisher will be able to do that. A poor one won’t.

Publishing is about providing words to the public. The hope remains that despite the categorization of the publisher, in the flood of words, quality will still float.

How To Read and Drive Safely — At the Same Time

September 21, 2010 § 3 Comments

The bus driver caught in Portland reading his Kindle while driving his bus originally peaked my interest, because I read my Kindle all the time when I’m driving. I didn’t see what the big deal was until he turned the page. This was a dead giveaway that the bus driver didn’t have a clue how to use his Kindle. If you are going to drive and read, let the Kindle read to you with its text to speech function, then when you are done driving, you can just start reading where the text to speech voice left off. It turns the pages for you, so you can drive.

Maybe Amazon can do that for the next commercial — How To Safely Read Your Kindle and Drive At the Same Time.