In the Beginning…
Thousands of years after storytelling and hundreds of years after written language, someone recognized the financial value in the exchange of the knowledge and entertainment within what we consider a printed book. When that individual first commissioned some monk to copy a volume for sale to a noble instead of for their personal consumption, the industry of publishing had begun.
Many authors confuse the act of printing and the industry of publishing. Here’s the difference:
When you take your manuscript and have it converted for consumption, that’s printing. You could take a handwritten manuscript and photocopy it, or send your digital manuscript to a Print On Demand (POD) publisher and order 1,500 copies. Both of these actions are considered printing.
When you publish your work, you convert it for consumption, package it, price it, market it, and distribute it for the consumption of a market. There is an expectation that the author will deliver value to the literary consumer and that consumer is willing to pay their hard earned money for that value.
So, printing is an activity, publishing is an industry.
For the bulk of the publishing industry’s history, the requirements of the trade (i.e. printing, marketing, and distribution) have limited entry to the larger publishers that we know as today’s “traditional publishers.”
Because of these barriers to entry, many would-be authors were never published because they were never “discovered” by a publisher or their agent could never quite negotiate a deal. Fortunately, with the advent of modern technology all that changed over the past 30 years or so.
Since the early 1990’s the Internet has allowed individuals to economically publish their own works for mass distribution. By taking advantage of blogs, e-zines, e-books, audiobooks and self-publishing platforms and services, authors can bypass the traditional path to publishing and distribute to the public directly. In fact it was only 10 years ago that I had begun my own literary journey. It was actually my decision to self publish that eventually led to the creation of Write On e-Publishing, LLC in 2012, and getting your projects published has only gotten easier since then.
This means that likely all of you reading this article have absolutely no excuse to not publish your projects.
Of course now most authors complain that there are so many publishing options that they can’t figure it all out! The truth is that there are as many unique strategies to publish as there are unique projects and authors. And that’s why I see a new change in the publishing industry just over the horizon.
Where Are We Going Now?
When I began as a small, digital publishing house, Write On Press focused on e-books exclusively and supported the careers of aspiring authors. After a couple years, we expanded our offerings to include trade paperbacks because every author wants a book they can hold in their hands and can autograph. As technology has created more efficiency, we find that we are now able to expand into audiobook distribution. But through everything, the bulk of customer interactions and the lion share of our work with authors has been consultative in nature.
The industry is moving forward at an incredible pace now. More options will exist tomorrow for authors looking to get their books to readers and that means more confusion and a need for more direction and support.
It is likely that, just like we have realized, there is a insane amount of value in being able to consult with authors and help you plot out a publishing path as well as strategies and tactics to support your literary projects and career.
Here’s what This Means for You:
As you move into 2021 it will be important for you to include consultative services in the overall service mix that you use to support your career.
When you begin to engineer your literary career, it would be wise to seek out the assistance of professionals who can guide you through the publishing process. This type of support will help you optimize technology, available resources and service providers as well as identify what tasks within the process you can do yourself so that you can save time and money without driving yourself crazy.
We can connect via email or digital meeting platform (i.e. zoom, gotomeeting, etc.).
Feel free to comment or ask questions below, or discuss your past publishing plan(s).
Until next time, keep writing!
If you have any questions, shoot us a note at the contact us page.