The Publishing Life

Exciting Developments In Book Publishing

As changes in the marketplace require publishers, authors, and agents adapt continually, a number of entirely new initiatives and companies are springing into action to serve various parts of an ever-evolving industry.

Here are some of the most interesting new things to keep on your radar:

Elf-Publishing – as books become shorter, it’s natural for the elf-publishing industry to take root. Requiring smaller office space and fewer workers (because they all work 24/7) the elf-publishing trend will revolutionize certain categories of books.

Amish Proofreaders – while they can only work during the day and make edit marks with homemade charcoal pencils, they are paid in barn-raisings and seed corn. Some problems occur with certain book categories, like science fiction, but those books are now edited by…

Cyborg editors and proofreaders – talk about 24/7 workers! These editors take no breaks, require very little care, other than periodic software upgrades when vocabulary changes cause editing glitches. The greatest benefit with cyborgs is when authors become angry at recommended edits, they simply go into “sleep” mode, eliminating the acrimonious interchanges which were once common.

Plagiarism Publishing, Inc. – a startup company publishing legal thrillers by John Grissom, classic stories by Charles Dickenson and Jane Austenopolus, and children’s books by Dr. Seussinski.  They employ eleven full time staff, of which seven are attorneys. A company to watch with their unique business model. Strangely, no phone number or email is available to contact them directly and they accept no submissions. Company motto is “We love other writers’ stories.”

Book delivery by carrier pigeon – direct from the warehouse and arrival faster than you can say, “Hey, what’s that junk on my windshield?” While only able to carry one paperback book at a time, it is a “green” response to the drone-delivery industry.

Custom book recommendations – instead of a computer algorithm calculating your next purchase based on a mysterious set of factors, this new service will employ retired grade school librarians who will roam the aisles of a book retailer, first telling you to keep your voice down, remind you what you are reading at the moment will rot your brain and recommend you read something more educational. Since they don’t know you at all, they have no idea what you might want to read, but at least they got you to keep your voice down and stop brain rot. Final results on outcome is pending. Online versions are being developed under the brand name, “Marian, the all-knowing librarian.”

Exploding dye-packs – embedded in books which activate if every page is not read within a certain period of time. Stubborn dye stains will result in extensive cleanup. So, just read the book in two weeks and you will be fine. Marketing results still under review.

Robo-call follow-up – “So, have you finished the book yet? Press one if you have, press two if you have not.  If you pressed two, select from the following menu: Press one because you didn’t like the book, press two if you haven’t started yet, press three if you lost the book, press four if you gave it to someone else, press five if an animal destroyed it, press six if you need more time, press seven if you probably won’t finish it no matter what, press eight if you really liked it, but didn’t finish it before an animal destroyed it, press nine if you have no excuse, or press pound if you want this entire menu repeated. If you pressed nine, what’s the problem? You think you are the only person on this planet, and can do whatever you like? Come on, there are millions of people in the world who cannot afford books.”

Former organized crime kingpins as literary agents – a real game changer in contract negotiation processes with publishers. While some authors are initially hesitant to employ a “wise guy” to represent them, the results speak for themselves. Sure, it might reflect badly on the author’s reputation, but when the agent gets the “moral turpitude” and “publisher has the right to edit the manuscript” clauses out of their contract, and add “If anything goes wrong, it’s the publisher’s fault,” being an author becomes a lot more enjoyable.


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