What Does Tomorrow’s Publisher Look Like?

In an interview on NPR, the discussion was about the role of the publisher in tomorrow’s business market. Are they needed? Is it ok for them to just hand pick already successful authors? –were some of the questions they were addressing.

Having self-published all of my books, this is a conversation that I am regularly involved in and my opinion often surprises the people I am speaking with. It’s often assumed that because I self-published my books, that I am against publishers or think that they will cease to exist in the future. In fact, I am not against publishers; nor do I think they will cease to exist anytime soon!

Yes, I do think the traditional publisher business model has or is, going by the wayside. But publishers of tomorrow will have a new role. They will become specialists that function more like a consultant or outsourced approach to marketing and managing book and author success.

Technology has been able to reduce and in some cases eliminate an author’s need for help with going from concept to being published. With this new-found freedom, an author doesn’t need a publisher to do all of the things publishers are traditional known to do: accountability check-ins, editing, page design, cover design, or obtaining testimonials.

Where authors really will need help is with marketing their book. “Marketing. Marketing. Marketing.” –is the author’s version of the real estate industry and the new purpose of publishers.

While technology has and continues to open many doors, it also makes things like being an author more challenging. Gone are the days of “this is a Sci-Fi book, or a business book so let’s just market it to that audience”. Hello to the days of answering the question of “who would relate to and be interested in this book? How can it help them?”

Moving forward in the publishing industry, we will have sci-fi business books and other seemingly odd theme combinations that tell stories and teach lessons. The concepts will still be the same, but gone are the days of overly categorized books that only fit into this slot or that.

By the time an author makes it big, it becomes a full time job (plus) just to manage the success—potential fan mail, scheduling speaking gigs, answering emails, monitoring social media, attending book parties or signings, press inquiries, answering the phone, and the list goes on and on.

You may be thinking that a new author needs this help too. Yes you are correct, and this is where the publisher industry has the potential to flourish. There will be small-scale publishers, mid-scale, and then large scale publishers—niche markets.

So yes I do think that publishers will be around tomorrow and I do think it will be a thriving industry. But they will have a new role, being specialists that market and manage book and author success.
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