The Future of Publishing

Today’s guest post is written by Bob Mayer, the bestselling author of more than 40 books. Mayer, who is a West Point graduate, served in the Infantry and Special Forces (Green Berets) and has been studying, practicing and teaching change, team-building, leadership and communication for over 30 years. He is the co-creator of Who Dares Wins Publishing.

There are two major trends in publishing going on right now:

1. Midlist authors going it on their own. David Morrell, the award-winning author of First Blood, just announced he is bringing nine books from his backlist into print AND his newest title on his own, skipping traditional publishing altogether. This is biggest name fiction writer to do this. The perception right now is that, overall, the quality of self-published books is poor, and the reality is that most new authors who have self-published are indeed putting up poor quality. However, there are a number of traditionally published authors who are bringing backlist into print, and these are books that have hit bestseller lists. Readers will separate the quality out.

2. Digital publishing is exploding. I’ve seen it just this year. In January, there were many yawns at the Digital Book World conference. Those yawns have changed to expressions of shock. I’ve been predicting that the change from print to digital would be many times faster than most were predicting, and I’ve been proved right (slight pat on the back). Change is happening exponentially, not linearly. I predict by the end of 2011, we will be close to 50 to 60 percent of all books being digital. Romance is a genre where readers are very tech-savvy, so that might lead the way. Although, I suspect Scifi might also be a genre that is tech-heavy. And eBooks are changing the playing field as far as book length. Both ways. For print, you needed at least 60,000 words to be viable – ebooks can be as short as 10,000. Right now there are 6 formatting styles for eBook; someday there will be one.

Additionally, something that is starting to be addressed is how to create additional value for eBook content. David Baldacci added content to his recent release. Because the platform can accept additional content, it is inevitable that it will become an inherent part of the business. While Kindle doesn’t want to get into multimedia, the iPad does support it.

All in all, I think it’s an exciting time to be an author with lots of opportunities.  But only if you educate yourself and stay on top of the latest developments and trends.


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