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Old 01-13-2012, 10:34 AM   #1
DonaldL.
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The way ahead for publishing

The way ahead for publishing

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There's a riot of cross-dressing going on; a scramble as roles are redefined by usefulness, not legacy. What does all this mean for the Olympic year of 2012? Are we breasting the tape after a sprint from the old to the new, or are we yet even to hear the bell on a long-distance test of endurance?

In my view, while 2011 may have signalled the beginning of the end of the era of publishers-with-access-to-the-mass-market as the dominant model for book publishing, it did not signal an end to the opportunity presented by writing or publishing more generally.
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So what might good publishing in the 21st century involve? There are several things at which publishers will need to excel; some new, some old. These include:

– The ability to imagine the life of a copyright in three dimensions, from book, to ebook, to app, to audio, to enhanced versions including extra content. This, along with the ability to do so dynamically as technology and behaviour change rapidly, will be crucial.

– A focus on the consumer, rather than the book trade. Expertise in consumer marketing that contends for attention in all digital spaces, alongside strength in working with both bricks and mortar and online booksellers, will be vital.

– Excellent communication with authors and readers (not just trade and media). This comes in many forms, some well-established. Social activity goes for offline as well as online. There's a reason that the publishing lunch is legendary, and that's because informal, personal dealings will remain crucial to authors (if they're not doing the publishing themselves).

– The demonstrable creation of value and the fair sharing of it. Publishers exist to create value and audience for writers, and this needs to be at the centre of all publishing endeavours.
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Old 01-13-2012, 10:55 AM   #2
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A publisher will need to.focus an ever increasing priority of available resources itto convincing authors who need publishers less and less that they still need a publisher who gets control of the copyright instead of freelance editors just paid a flat fee or crowdsourcing.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:07 AM   #3
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Another way to put it: publishers who provide a reasonable value-add to authors at a reasonable royalty (starting point, 50-50) will survive and prosper; those who insist on gatekeeping as their role and writers as supplicants...
Well, those won't do quite as well.
Not exactly new, but it bears repeating: some of the folks at the BPHs seem to be slow learners..
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:26 AM   #4
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Traditional publishers who provide quality e-books will continue to be successful under the traditional model. While some indy authors (especially those previously published) will be successful at self publishing (and a handful will become very successful), consumers will continue to pay $10+ for books from publishers because trying to find the handful of good books from the giant internet slush pile is to tedious for most readers...and is likely to become even more so in the future.

We've been through this with music. ITunes and other internet distribution models have not led to a golden age of indy music. What the vast, vast majority of consumers want is music from traditional labels. (They may be able to avoid paying for it, of course, but that's a different issue, and not one that helps the indies.)
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:04 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Andrew H. View Post
Traditional publishers who provide quality e-books will continue to be successful under the traditional model. While some indy authors (especially those previously published) will be successful at self publishing (and a handful will become very successful), consumers will continue to pay $10+ for books from publishers because trying to find the handful of good books from the giant internet slush pile is to tedious for most readers...and is likely to become even more so in the future.

We've been through this with music. ITunes and other internet distribution models have not led to a golden age of indy music. What the vast, vast majority of consumers want is music from traditional labels. (They may be able to avoid paying for it, of course, but that's a different issue, and not one that helps the indies.)
to me all that proves is that most consumers are lazy, they'll lap up whatever is put in front of them. ("good enough" *shrug*)

people don't have to wade through piles of mediocrity, great stuff is there right beneath the surface but they're not even willing to put in that modicum of effort. they want to be told what to read, watch or listen to because they're intellectually lazy, which in turn leads to the vast wasteland of mainstream tripe that we've got. i just can't identify with that mind set.


you're 100% correct and thats what irks me .
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:38 AM   #6
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LOL, you guys should be consultants for the aforementioned publishers
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:41 AM   #7
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The aforementioned publishers are mostly done. Sure they have tons of capital to reinvest in new media schemes, but in the long run they will tend to slowly dissipate, and give way to the shores of the infinite textual ocean that we are all upon.
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Old 01-14-2012, 08:33 AM   #8
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LOL, you guys should be consultants for the aforementioned publishers
Haven't you heard? The publishers think "the people complaining about the publishers are mostly frustrated would-be authors whose books have been rejected".

John Scalzi via Teleread:
http://www.teleread.com/ebooks/john-...eir-customers/
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Old 01-14-2012, 08:43 AM   #9
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A publisher will need to.focus an ever increasing priority of available resources itto convincing authors who need publishers less and less that they still need a publisher who gets control of the copyright instead of freelance editors just paid a flat fee or crowdsourcing.
Publishers do not "get control of the copyright", except in a few cases, such as academic journals. The copyright is retained by the author.
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Old 01-14-2012, 08:57 AM   #10
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Publishers do not "get control of the copyright", except in a few cases, such as academic journals. The copyright is retained by the author.
What they get is extended licenses to those copyrights.
Some are exclusive, most are limited in one shape or another.
Few are absolute.
How much they get and what they pay is what publishing contracts (and agents) are for.
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Old 01-14-2012, 08:58 AM   #11
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What they get is extended licenses to those copyrights.
Some are exclusive, most are limited in one shape or another.
Few are absolute.
How much they get and what they pay is what publishing contracts (and agents) are for.
That's right. But what they do NOT get - contrary to Mr. Phogg's assertion - is the copyright.
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Old 01-14-2012, 10:29 AM   #12
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While some indy authors (especially those previously published) will be successful at self publishing (and a handful will become very successful)...
Wish someone would tell me how I can do that...
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:26 PM   #13
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Haven't you heard? The publishers think "the people complaining about the publishers are mostly frustrated would-be authors whose books have been rejected".

John Scalzi via Teleread:
http://www.teleread.com/ebooks/john-...eir-customers/
Actually, I think that was Scalzi quoting Teresa Neilsen Hayden, and I'd thought better of her.
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:07 PM   #14
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LOL, you guys should be consultants for the aforementioned publishers
We don't want to consult for them. We want them to fail, and be replaced by a leaner operation which does not wrest control of the copyright from authors.

When someone can't get the things they have written to people who want to purchace a copy there is a problem.
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:15 PM   #15
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That's right. But what they do NOT get - contrary to Mr. Phogg's assertion - is the copyright.
I did not say they own the copyright, I said they CONTROL it.

So Harry now wishes to assert that this whole flap with Jean Craighead George never happened? She was able to get her books published in electronic form. She had control.

Tell you what, Harry. You do not have a dissagreement with me. You seem to think you have knowledge pertinant to what goes on that really needs interjected into the court proceedings. If you are correct you really have a moral obligation to file a friend of the court briefing in that case.

Or you are asserting George made the whole thing up. If so, you take it up with her.

Your fight isn't with me Harry, It is with popular authors you claim are liers.
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