Last week in my post “Embracing Change,” I outlined the six phases that characterize the acceptance of change in our lives and world. Today, I want to focus on some specifics that you need to consider to adapt to the future.
First, a recap of the six phases when confronted with something new:
Phase One – Dismissed as a fad by those who stand to lose the most or like the status quo.
Phase Two – Attacked as dangerous by those who stand to lose the most or like the status quo.
Phase Three – Accepting of the new thing, but reminding everyone that this too will pass and we will most likely move on to something else eventually.
Phase Four – Accepting that the new thing is important and we need to adapt to it but only in a limited way because it will never replace the status quo.
Phase Five – Seriously looking at creative solutions to making changes, some which are difficult and unpopular with those who still love the status quo.
Phase Six – View the new thing as an opportunity, whatever that means. Begin to change the way we do everything.
I suggested that if you are not already at Phase Five, you should take stock of yourself and see what you need to get there.
In the world of publishing, what areas should be re-thought? For authors and anyone in publishing, some of them are:
- Writing with digital in mind – This can mean developing a core book or article, but then having more material on the subject available as an added digital premium. Publish 75% and have 25% available as additional info. Place web URL’s throughout…hyperlinks in e-versions.
- Write some shorter fast-track content that is topical, timely, responsive and even digital-only.
- Frequent updates to non-fiction works – change the e-version frequently and make sure everyone knows about it. Free updates to previous purchasers. (Think a mobile app model) Updating helps sustain backlist sales.
- Test content and change a manuscript based on input from readers. Let people read it before it is published. A lot of people. This is the Joe Wickert “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) strategy of content development. If readers say the points made in chapter six are confusing, then change it.
- Improve the quality of your “followers”. Better to have 12,000 true followers than 120,000 casual fans. Go deeper with fewer social media followers and you will grow your list in the right way. If you currently have 100, you should know them each personally.
- Connect yourself with people who are thinking about the future of communication rather than those trying to keep the status quo. This does not mean anything theological. Just look for new ways to communicate. Find people who have that as a passion.
There are many other things that are changing, ranging from the way you write, to the way an editor interacts with you, to the way content is formatted and marketed. The sooner you realize that everything is in a state of flux, the sooner you will be able to embrace the change and turn it into an opportunity.
Good advice, Dan. As I read this, I thought of “Tribes” by Seth Godin. Surrounding ourselves with like-minded people who embrace change and seek new opportunities is a key to any successful venture. Writers tend to think of ourselves as islands, because that’s the romantic image we have based on the great writers we’ve known. But few can survive with that mindset any more. The business of writing is changing too rapidly for any one person to keep up. It is truly a team effort now. Thank goodness. Now I can surround myself with people much smarter than me and take the credit! Thanks for another great post.
Excellent post! We need to look ahead and forge the path rather than drag behind. All kinds of opportunities could be available if we create them. Given the industry is in flux, this is the time to be creative!
Interesting thoughts and excellent advice. I love the idea of hyperlinks in ebooks. I have a book coming out in May that is screaming for a map. I would love to see a hyperlink in the ebook directing readers to a map and more on my site. Thanks for the ideas.
Dan, you give some great suggestions here. It seems like one word to describe how to succeed the publishing world today could be FLUID. As I build more of a follower base, I’m definitely keeping in mind the idea of having quality followers rather than quantity followers.
Good stuff. Could you (Dan or others) point to some authors who are adapting especially well?