Most authors working today still labor under the misplaced assumption that nothing’s changed in the publishing world.
In fact the the old publishing model — author comes up with an idea, writes a manuscript based on this idea, finds a publisher who edits and designs the manuscript, then prints and binds it, turning it into a book, after which it scrambles around hoping to build an audience for the book — is on life support.
It’s time to pull the plug.
Most successful authors today — particularly those who are penning non-fiction works — already know who their readers are. That not only means they are writing works intended to appeal to those readers, it also means they want to work with publishers who are prepared to use every tool (new as well as old) available to help them reach their audience.
The relative lack of such publishers is one reason so many authors are deciding they’re better off, as Annie Lennox once put it so succinctly, “doin’ it for themselves.”
The good news is that since many of the new tools go beyond merely plugging the book, new avenues of potential outreach lead to new ways of monetizing the initial work — i.e. the good ol’ book.
In the new scheme of things, authors (and publishers) that take seriously the importance of building links with specific audiences, will succeed. Authors (and publishers) who behave as if they understand the book may be the center of their universe, but there are plenty of other intellectual property planets that orbit around it — and that some of them support life — are going to do well.
It’s going be increasingly tough sledding for everyone else.