Publishing has changed. Authors know it. Amazon knows it. Publishers know it. But for most businesses it’s still something that is happening to someone else.
Maybe you’ve heard about Kindle Singles, or someone you know bought a self-published book on their iPad and didn’t hate it. Possibly you have a friend who is selling that novel they wrote years ago that never found a home at a big publishing house. And it’s very likely that you know at least two or three people who claim to be important bloggers.
But it’s just the beginning.
Any time an industry changes this drastically there is great opportunity. It happened with music, it happened with film, and it’s happening with publishing. To clarify, it’s happening in how content is distributed across the board, and if your organization isn’t prepared to tackle the new world, you’re going to be left behind wondering what happened. It’s not just about e-book, podcasts, and the slow demise of the Nook. It’s about how your customers, your donors, you clients, and your fans consume information, and how you can meet them there.
I’m finding that more and more organizations are realizing that no one is actually looking at their annual reports any more. That printed flyer that used to drive business is sitting in the storage closet, and that blog they set up years ago to increase web traffic is as dusty as the fax machine. They’re trying out Facebook and Twitter campaigns hoping that will change everything, but more than anything they’re floundering about, looking for a magic bullet.
Now more than ever there are a thousand ways to communicate, and having a coherent strategy requires having all the facts. Do your clients read e-books, and if so is it on a Kindle or an iPad? Do they shop on Amazon, do they read novels on their phones, or do they prefer the feel of paper in their hands? Are they listening to content on their commutes or simply scanning a printout before dropping it in the recycling bin?
With the advent of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program, Apple’s iBooks store, the launch of Smashwords and Lulu, and even Barnes and Noble’s Nook Press, there are more ways than ever to create great content and distribute it to people in the exact venues where they are ready to consume. But if you don’t know the difference between Kindle Singles and Print-on-Demand, you have a lot of catching up to do.
So, look at your customers, clients, or donors, and discover how they read, what they read, and where they find it. Look at all the available platforms, rather than just the ones you’re used to, and consider new ways of distribution. Ask what it would take to establish yourself and your organization as a thought leader in your field, and then play. Publish something on Amazon and see what happens. Make a book through Blurb, hire Vook to convert old reports into e-books, and then look at what works. Keep playing, keep learning, and keep pushing.
There’s no reason independent authors should be the only ones to find success in the new publishing landscape. If your business or organization is willing to do some hard work, the new world of publishing offers a myriad of ways to reach new people, establish leadership positions, and grow your reach ten fold.
The Publishing World is experiencing a revolution. Join it.