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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Brave New E-Publishing

We sometimes like to think otherwise, but publishing is a business. That’s not a bad thing, or a good thing, it’s just a thing.

If you are trying to earn money through writing, then you’re a business (if you’re not trying to earn money, then you’re either a poet or possibly a children’s writer and you have my sympathies). I’ll leave it up to you whether you’re a good thing or a bad thing.

I’m in business. The hardest thing to do is to get and keep customers. You can pay other businesses to do it, or do it yourself, in-house. If you pay other businesses, they may be better at it than you are, but they’re not doing it out of charity for you. Let’s say you make widget-toys and you get Widgets-R-Us to sell them for you. If kids stop buying your widgets, the store is not going to keep selling your widgets because they think there’s a chance you’ll come up with a new best-selling widget, or because they think your widgets are good for kids. On the other hand, if you try to sell your widgets yourself in your own store, you’re going to have less time and $$ to make the widgets in the first place.

But here’s the thing: people aren’t going to widget stores as much anymore. So a bunch of them are closing. And Widgets-R-Us might go bankrupt.

Writers have one thing to decide. What’s the best way to connect with customers?

The answer might be many ways. Or one way now and another way later. Things are changing. Keep your eyes open. You could find yourself drowning in a mud puddle, or maybe…Singing in the Rain.

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