When paper fails

The results affect creators, content, ownership, and trust in radically transformative ways

When all the activities and practices that we now call “publishing” exist in a networked environment, something radical changes – affecting creators, content, ownership, and trust. That might sound like the end of publishing as it is now but it also sounds like the beginning of something exciting. And of course, it is argued that this future is already here, but, to paraphrase William Gibson, perhaps a little unevenly distributed. Responses to these new challenges are already partly in motion inside the industry (e.g., the work Safari Books is doing with bibliographies connected to their ‘cloud library’) and outside (too many to mention but one example is the very interesting Open Oil* book project) and as we move forward I firmly believe these futures will become increasingly present and their economics more mature.

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5 proven ways to create a bestselling book title

Focus on answering the reader question, “What’s in it for me?”

People may not judge a book by its cover, but they will judge a book by its title. A boring title can literally kill book sales. In contrast, a compelling title enhances sales and can help generate a bestseller.

As a marketing consultant who’s coached over 400 authors, I’m frequently asked about how I help my clients develop great book titles. I’ve been fortunate to have success in this area, such as working behind-the-scenes on two recent New York Times bestsellers, Made to Crave and Unglued.

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Author (R)evolution Day Friday Tweet Chats Start This Week

Join TOC speakers and other bookish techy tweeps January 25 at 4pm ET for #ARDay Friday tweet chat

Starting January 25 and continuing through February 8, Kristen McLean (@BKGKristen) and I (@KatMeyer) be hosting #ARDay twitter conversations featuring speakers from Author (R)evolution Day.

This Friday’s #ARDay tweetchat topic is “The Benefits of Bookish Community Participation and Building” and features Allen Lau, Mark Jeffrey, Jesse Potash, and Rob Eagar. They’ll be available to answer your questions, hear your thoughts, and tackle the topic of community from every possible angle they can cover in 140 characters or less!
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What’s so bad about the “10 Awful Truths”?

Authors need to realize they won't beat the odds if they don’t innovate

Last month I attended a Future of Publishing event in Silicon Valley, where Steve Piersanti, President of Berrett-Koehler, was on a panel that also included Barry Eisler, Dane Neller, Clark Kepler, and Guy Kawasaki. As the audience enjoyed a delicious meal before the event, we had a chance to look over the evening’s handout, Piersanti’s 10 Awful Truths About Book Publishing. I can’t imagine reading this helped anyone’s digestion.

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Liability vs. leverage

How writers lose when "piracy" gets harder

[Editor’s note: Be sure to catch Cory Doctorow’s opening keynote at next month’s TOC Author (R)evolution Day in NY.]

How much will your publisher pay you?

There’s a short, easy answer to this: as little as they can. Not because they’re heartless monsters, but because businesses pay as little as they can for their supplies, and charge as much as they can for their products*.

But that’s an abstract answer. The more concrete one — exactly how much will your publisher pay you? — hinges on how many other people have books that can fill the same niche for the publisher, and how many other publishers there are looking to fill that niche. In other words, the amount you get turns on supply and demand.

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An author-centric map of publishing

Why it's both an exciting and confusing time to be an author

When I first heard the publishing industry referred to as an ecosystem I immediately wanted to see a map of it on the wall. How does water cycle through the system? Which communities are currently well-placed, and where are the likely spots for new ones to grow?

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How to de-risk book publishing

Finding indicators that reduce risk and improve the likelihood of success

The nature of book publishing is changing, in ways big and small. In fact, the very nature of what a book ‘is’ is shifting. But that’s not what I’ve been thinking about these past few days. No, my exploration today is about authors – and what the author of the future needs to do in order to be good partners with their publisher.

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Books as apps deserve serious consideration

They may be more important than you think

While following FutureBook 12 recently (#fbook12) a topic came to mind that I feel needs to gain additional traction: Books as apps play an important role vs. existing ebook platforms.

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Author and publisher relationships

Schilling's report sheds light on hotspots and opportunities

I had the pleasure of meeting with representatives from Schilling earlier this year as they prepared a white paper called “Author and publisher relations — how publishers stay competitive in digital publishing.” You can download the free report here.

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