All The Way Down It’s Just Writers

How To Change the Future of Publishing Now, Even Though It’s Too Late

Technology and social networks both require serious cash. With investment, it is possible to beat back giants. Look at the rise of Apple in 1999 when the company finally started making the right technology choices again. Look at famous disrupting forces like Napster, Redhat, Netscape, Firefox, Twitter, Ubuntu, Chrome. All of those required large amounts of cash to take their share. Is that share important? It definitely is. Can it be measured meaningfully looking at P & L margins alone? No. Publishers: your content is the same way. It’s no longer just about making enough unit sales on a project and then moving along. You have lists, there is a long tail, you have cults of personality, you have devoted audiences, you have long lifecycles for books across all manner of digital media that you don’t control. Wake up.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

This addresses publishers.

But publishers twiddle their thumbs without writers.

The Big 4/6 are in thrall of the Hollywood Model.

But writers aren’t equivalent to directors who marshal teams of people to carry out their Vision.

Writers are solitary dreamers.

They don’t need an army of people to realize their dreams.

Just a good editor, copyeditor, proofreader. The ambitious can throw in a marketer but word of mouth really will make things float to the top — that’s how it’s always worked in the real world when we had just print.

We are reaching the point where publishing as a corporate entity has to battle not only Amazon but the desire of writers to avoid publishers.

How many more of their Big Names will wake up and opt-out of the corporate writing structure?

That’s a greater threat than Amazon ever can be.

1 Comment

Filed under Digital Overthrow

One response to “All The Way Down It’s Just Writers

  1. The radical solution for publishers – focus on the writers and the writing! Obvious, but they won’t see it!

    FYI: Here’s my kind of right-brain reaction to the big publishers and to literary agents:

    Encapsulates my experiences with the big publishers. You’d have meetings with them and they’d kind of smarmy you up with middle-class glamchat…but I’d sit there thinking “you haven’t got a fucking clue.” Mostly, the publishers were just after any book they release being reviewed or serialized by mainstream newspapers and supplements.

    But even back in 2004 or whatever I saw that as a loser’s game…and I was even on the front page of tabloids with some of my “situationist” capers! So I’d already achieved what the publishers were after. But even back then the world was changing…the internet was winning….and being covered by mainstream press is now pretty much meaningless, worthy of doing just for fun, but not anything else.

    But the publishers are still crazy on it. But like I say in the above video, publishers are middle-class cultureless oiks… no nouse either, and they’ve never heard of T.S. Eliot or William Blake – or authors like William S. Burroughs or Robert Anton Wilson.

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