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.


37 Responses to Exciting Developments In Book Publishing

  1. Elisabeth Warner May 1, 2018 at 5:06 am #

    This is so funny! I think I would like the carrier pigeon for my book. Extra birdseed for international shipping.

  2. Sue Raatjes May 1, 2018 at 5:27 am #

    Has anyone ever told you, you have a strange sense of humor, Dan??

    • Dan Balow May 1, 2018 at 5:48 am #

      No, just a lot of rolling eyes. I’ve seen them all.

  3. Cherrilynn Bisbano May 1, 2018 at 5:29 am #

    Thank you for the laugh. Dominos book delivery service would be nice. A pizza and a good read.

    • Rebekah Love Dorris May 1, 2018 at 6:19 am #

      Now that’s a winner, Cherrilynn! 🙂

    • claire o'sullivan May 1, 2018 at 12:30 pm #

      if it doesn’t arrive in 30 minutes, the book is free. lol

  4. Martha Whiteman Rogers May 1, 2018 at 6:09 am #

    Thanks for my first good laugh of the day. Great imagination, and I think I’d like the Domino’s book deliver as well. 🙂

  5. Cherilyn Rivera May 1, 2018 at 6:14 am #

    This is a great post to start the day with- thanks.

  6. Meg MacDinald May 1, 2018 at 6:16 am #

    I second the pizza delivery service. Cable out? No problem! Pizza and Pages has got you covered. Order a large two topping pizza and a spinetingling book for only $19.99. But wait! There’s more. Gonna be a long night with that newborn baby? Get our 12 part epic fantasy series along with our award-winning devotional for moms: Dear Lord, Will I Ever Sleep Again? Act now! Supplies are limited! Audio editions for an upcharge. Not available in all areas. Some restrictions apply.

    • Cherrilynn Bisbano May 1, 2018 at 6:19 am #

      Meg, LOL! You watch too much TV, just like I do.

    • Dan Balow May 1, 2018 at 6:29 am #

      No juicer?

      • claire o'sullivan May 1, 2018 at 12:42 pm #

        I think I should be able to send the redneck version. Oh, wait. I did. ‘Cause I am a redneck. From the South. Southern Oregon, to be exact.

        And don’t forget the Blues Brothers. Sent with a pair of very cool 1970’s sunglasses.

        I read this to my husband while I giggled uncontrollably, and he said… ‘It’s a writer thing, hon. You can stop now.’

        Ya’ll have a good read, now.

    • claire o'sullivan May 18, 2018 at 11:30 am #

      LOL I love this.

      (at three a.m. these always sound good)

      Hello Dear,

      I am in publishing. You will enjoy being published because published is very very good.

      But wait– before you go– we will send you characters, plots and twists for only $19.99 a month AND a free newsletter! This is a one time offer, act now for this $2500 per month opportunity for only $9.99! Western Union accepted only. Once this has arrived your book will be published immediately with only the bestest of love and respect.

      Best regards,

      Barrister Jamal Thompson Greely
      Please respond to my urgent email at: JTG@Itsnotascam.com

  7. Tom Perrault May 1, 2018 at 6:26 am #

    Great list, and I always appreciate hearing from a futurist. I was thinking of developing a competitor to the Kindle called ‘The Kandle’ — it is a tablet device that casts enough light to read an actual book without overhead lighting or a lamp.

  8. Rebekah Love Dorris May 1, 2018 at 6:31 am #

    Slightly off subject, but I have to wonder: was this on your schedule, or did you veer from regularly scheduled programming? (I recently revisited that post of yours about how your posts are scheduled months in advance, trying to copy your technique). Regardless, bravo!

    • Dan Balow May 1, 2018 at 7:33 am #

      While I have topics now listed through September 2019, I am not so completely afflicted with OBD (Obsessive Blogging Disorder). I scan future ideas and see if anything is more appealing to me at the time.

      Proverbs 16:9

      • Rebekah Love Dorris May 1, 2018 at 7:47 am #

        Wow, that verse says it all!

        • claire o'sullivan May 1, 2018 at 12:32 pm #

          and for the Amish Proverbs 16:9 (and the rest of the Bible) must be spoken in German. Jus’ sayin’

  9. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser May 1, 2018 at 6:37 am #

    Could have used a dacoit-sahib awhile back; took a deko ’round my book-wallah’s accounts and realized he was doing a clifty, regarding ‘Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart’ as buckshee. But by the time I kenned, the company became a croaker, and the principals were on the peg; quite an end for those who fancied themselves pukka God-wallahs.

    Oh, and did I mention that a translation service to British Indian Army slang is the Next Big Thing?

    Translation of the above – I could have used a high-level criminal awhile back; when I looked at my publisher’s accounts, I realized he was stealing, taking BPH as free contribution to the company. But by the time I realized this the company was dying, the principals had been arrested, and what an end for publishers who styled themselves as genuine Christians!

    • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser May 1, 2018 at 8:00 am #

      And watch for the in-development-but-soon-to-be-EVERYWHERE Nugini Pidgin translator, in which you will find that ‘Man bilong bokis e get teeth you bangem e sing’ is none other than Billy Joel’s ‘The Piano man’.

    • claire o'sullivan May 1, 2018 at 12:34 pm #

      And… if the book isn’t done via crime publisher’s timeline, they’ll send Vinnie to your place with a smile … and a baseball bat.

  10. Bob May 1, 2018 at 8:14 am #

    This could have been part of Friday Funnies. 🙂

    • Dan Balow May 1, 2018 at 8:16 am #

      This isn’t Friday? Then why am I wearing jeans to work?

  11. Carmen Peone May 1, 2018 at 8:44 am #

    What a hoot. Isn’t that the truth! Love this. Thanks for making my day. Nothing like a good chuckle to begin the day!

  12. Sy Garte May 1, 2018 at 10:00 am #

    I laughed, I cried (well, not really) I loved it. Especially the idea an agent making an offer they can’t refuse.

  13. Kathleen May 1, 2018 at 12:04 pm #

    Ha ha. Well, that was certainly entertaining. Thanks for the laugh. 🙂

  14. Tim Suddeth May 1, 2018 at 12:55 pm #

    I think you got May 1 and Apr 1 mixed up.

  15. Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D May 1, 2018 at 1:02 pm #

    You really had me going there for a few minutes….then I said, “What in the world!” Well done, Dan! You are hysterical!

  16. Carolyn May 1, 2018 at 2:38 pm #

    I love this, at first I thought it was serious and then I got the humor, LOL.

  17. Brennan McPherson May 1, 2018 at 5:24 pm #

    I thought Elf Publishing was a thing, and got excited.

  18. claire o'sullivan May 1, 2018 at 5:39 pm #

    Hi Brennan,

    Yes. Elf Publishing is a real thing, and it’s true. They work 24/7.

    Caveats: They only work at the North Pole, often cannot reach the tables so your manuscript may be lost, and they prefer flash fiction as long as it’s not ‘hot’ flash fiction.

    They also tend to be perfectionists and turnaround time could be twenty years, as Santa has strict hours for making toys. That decreases actual publishing time to an hour a day.

    Mob Publishing is also real, but you are required to pay protection for the rest of your life. They are quick to get back to you (if you forget to pay) and often show up at your door at midnight, a Saturday Special in hand, and speak Joisey. They are accommodating at inexpensive funerals.

    Best of luck …


  19. Carla Laureano May 2, 2018 at 8:00 am #

    Our grade school librarian is retiring this year, but unfortunately she won’t be eligible for the new program, as she gives very good book recommendations! Somehow, in a school of 400, she remembers what every kid is reading. Now that I think about it, she may be retiring to become a cyborg editor, because surely no human could remember all that.

  20. Kristen Terrette May 2, 2018 at 9:49 am #

    Hilarious! Thanks for lightening my day!

  21. Carol May 3, 2018 at 9:00 am #

    Clever, Dan, but who’s minding the store while you tickle our funny bones? Huh? Huh? (Poke…you help keep us all sane, more or less!)

    • Dan Balow May 3, 2018 at 9:04 am #

      This is “my way” of minding the store…by seeing if people are paying attention!


  22. Ann L Coker May 18, 2018 at 9:33 am #

    Catching up on my SLA posts and I start with this!?! And it’s Friday, and I listened to Steve’s word audio first. So I thought you were stealing his thunder. Great fun! Thanks. This ought to be published. See your agent.

  23. Writer June 12, 2019 at 3:25 am #

    You have a great sense of humor, thank you for cheering me up =)

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