3 Lessons From the Traditional-Publishing Model
by Susan Mary Malone, Columnist
|“. . . we can learn a good deal from what Traditional publishing has gotten right. . . “ |
More and more writers intend to self-publish, although many still shoot for the traditional-publishing goal. But whichever the focus, we can learn a good deal from what Traditional publishing has gotten right, and where it has failed. A lot of the latter is, of course, why the big publishers now find themselves drowning in a roiling sea. But what, exactly, can you take away from that model?
First off, the bad news. We all know Traditional publishing is in the toilet. Imprints are shrinking, houses are merging. Which translates into editorial staff being laid off and agents shutting their doors. A couple of huge reasons exist for this. One, of course being that the big houses got way behind the e-book curve. Now, as they scramble to catch up, they’re also having to actually put up storefronts. Horrors! Harper Collins just two weeks ago opened an online storefront. They must now sell directly to customers, rather than just through the established distribution channels (we won’t get into the Amazon wars here). As brick-and-mortar bookstores fold right and left, outlets have shriveled up.
The second thing that has bitten them has gotten us all—the explosion of books these days. Two years ago, one million e-books were published. That number last year was three million. And this year the projection is 15 million books. Fifteen million! Couple that with declining readership in general, and a perfect storm brewed up publishing’s insanity. Adult nonfiction-book sales peaked in 2007, according to BookScan. And even the explosion of e-books couldn’t make up for the decline in print sales. 2011 saw a 5.8 % decline in combined sales. And that’s continuing.
So, what can we learn from what the Traditional folks did right?
|“Writing well really is Rocket Science. This all takes a while to learn.|
1. Focus on the Product—the actual book—first.
|“. . . the audiences for the genres are out there. Re-create the wheel at your own peril!”|
2. Know the Specs of your Genre (which translates to your Audience).
|“Take that time to build your author platform. ”|
So, yep, the Traditional model is treading water these days, barely keeping its head above turbulent seas. But you can still learn from what they’ve done, and not drown with them! Take advantage of that knowledge.
Until next time, Happy Writing!
Susan Mary Malone
Award-winning writer and editor Susan Mary Malone is the author of the novels, I Just Came Here to Dance and By the Book, and four co-authored nonfiction books, including What’s Wrong with My Family? With many published short stories to her credit, Malone also contributed to the anthology Wild Women, which includes Margaret Atwood, Alice Walker, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, among others. A freelance book editor, nearly fifty Malone-edited books have now sold to Traditional publishers.
Categorised in: Writing Insights
This post was written by Editorial Staff