Tag s | Trends

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.


Leave a Comment

Change, We’ve Seen You Before

Change always seems to occur faster than you think but often slower than you think. Most things in society or life are at the same time dramatically different than they were a few years ago, but eerily similar to fifty years ago. If you are an observer or participant in …

Read More

Losing Track of Time

When I first started sending books and articles to editors in hopes of being selected for publication, the passage of time possessed few markers. For example, the mail arrived once a day. There was no trail like this on the touchtone wall phone: Wednesday, 10 AM: Your Amazon order was …

Read More

The Year of Kindness

This past year, my colleagues in Christian publishing have treated me with immense kindness. Thank you. I wish I could say I have witnessed the same kindness in other arenas. If you follow current events even as a casual observer, I don’t need to recount the bitterness and rancor over …

Read More

A Year in Review – A Look at 2017

I find it a healthy exercise to review the past as it can be encouraging to note progress and look at the foundation for the future. The Industry Our industry continues to create tremendous books but few new ones “break out.” It is hard to gain the attention of readers …

Read More

Our Rapidly Changing Culture

Every year Beloit College creates a “Mindset List” which reflects the culture that the incoming Freshman class have grown up experiencing. It helps their faculty know how to relate to these incoming students. Click here for this year’s Mindset List.

I download this list every year and read it with increasing wonder at the speed of our cultural changes.

The college graduating class of 2014 was born in 1992. Think about that for a second. If you are a writer, you can no longer assume that your audience will understand your cultural references. In a mere six years, today’s 18-year-olds will be adults…possibly with families and jobs and children…they will be reading your books and articles.

And you will only be six years older than you are now.

Read More

“Response” Books

When considering a topic for your next book, I suggest you avoid a response to another message in the media, especially in another book. Publishers and readers love books which are fresh, containing original thinking, and are well written, creative, with an identifiable purpose, a strong message and usually not …

Read More

ICRS Observations 2016

On the last week of June Dan Balow and I attended the 2016 International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in Cincinnati. It was my 35th consecutive year attending…which only means I’m old… By now you may have heard some reports regarding the low attendance, which are true. There were only 2,114 …

Read More

The Best Selling Christian Books of all Time

I realize attempting to compile a list like this could ruffle some feathers from both publishing and literature purists, not to mention the theological issues raised in the process of determining a “Christian” book. But I thought I would take a stab at it anyway. The list of the best-selling …

Read More

Confusing Industry News in Bookselling

Last week the Hastings, a chain of 126 retail stores, declared bankruptcy. Approximately half of their sales are from books (the other half are movies, music, games, etc). They claim “a decline in the market for physical media properties like music, movies, books, games and media rentals.” They had losses of $16 …

Read More