Here’s the way traditional commercial book publishing has worked for a long, long time – they take a financial risk to find unknown readers for your book. Reaching an unknown reader is risky though.
Publishers and bookstores do not really know the identity of readers. They are hoping the unknown reader will find the right book on the right day. They will confess that they are quite often surprised at the failure or success of publishing projects.
Because they take this risk with the traditional publishing model, the publisher and the bookstore keep more than 85% of what a reader will pay for a book. It is also why most writers do not have access to the process.
But you have a clear choice now as an author:
- You can give up more money and freedom to traditional commercial publishers (if they pick you) and allow them to take the risk of finding and selling to strangers. And the “if they pick you” thing is big.
- Or, you can “choose yourself” and go with the emerging independent publishing model. Start to organize your own following, engage prospective readers, and discover who is interested in what you have to offer. Find the right “tribe” and they will start to market the book for you with word-of-mouth, long known as the most powerful form of marketing.
By proactively choosing yourself and moving forward, you are building trust, creating permission to bring your story or content to the reader. Instead of allowing others to try to market to “strangers,” you are creating awareness of your work in an effective way.
A New Model
Along with breakout publishing and distribution models, this is a key element in the new face of publishing. It’s a completely different model and it is shaking and transforming the publishing world. This kind of change means big opportunities are before you.
“It’s very seductive for an author to believe that a fairy godmother will introduce her fabulous idea to legions of strangers. Seductive, yes, but rarely something that actually happens.” ~ Seth Godin
Unless you’re a Max Lucado type, everyone does marketing today anyway. Traditional commercial publishers now want to know about your “author platform.” Do you have a website? How many people follow you on Facebook and Twitter? What are you doing to create awareness of yourself and your work? They expect you to develop a following.
Even so, all of this is if the “gatekeepers” pick you. The new face of publishing says “pick yourself” and do the practical things traditional publishers would expect you to do anyway. You will have more freedom over the creation of your content and what can be done with it. You gain access immediately with innovative publishing models like print-on-demand (no inventory, no risk, inexpensive). Everything will accelerate. And you will stand to add value to more people and to profit accordingly.
Proactive: to prepare, take initiative, act in advance, shape an outcome
It’s a different paradigm.
You can desperately hope they pick you, allowing them to take the risk of finding and getting your book into the hands of “strangers.” Or you can pick yourself and create “friends” now and in the future who value your work. This emerging model is more efficient. It’s more authentic … more influential. And it’s more transformative for you as a writer as you engage your audience.
photo credit: Jenny Downing (Creative Commons)
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