Authors need to have a tribe to read what they write.
Publishers don’t build tribes, they print and distribute books. This business model has served them well in the past when there were limits on ways authors could reach readers. All authors and publishers would do well to study Tribes
Seth announced his intentions on his blog
Authors need publishers because they need a customer. Readers have been separated from authors by many levels–stores, distributors, media outlets, printers, publishers–there were lots of layers for many generations, and the editor with a checkbook made the process palatable to the writer. For ten years, I had a publisher as a client (with some fun self-published adventures along the way). Twelve bestsellers later, I’ve thought hard about what it means to have a traditional publisher.
Traditional book publishers use techniques perfected a hundred years ago to help authors reach unknown readers, using a stable technology (books) and an antique and expensive distribution system.
The thing is–now I know who my readers are. Adding layers or faux scarcity doesn’t help me or you. As the medium changes, publishers are on the defensive…. I honestly can’t think of a single traditional book publisher who has led the development of a successful marketplace/marketing innovation in the last decade. The question asked by the corporate suits always seems to be, “how is this change in the marketplace going to hurt our core business?” To be succinct: I’m not sure that I serve my audience (you) by worrying about how a new approach is going to help or hurt Barnes & Noble.
We know that publisher can still serve an author. If you have build a two way dialog with your tribe (say, you are on TV but have never blogged) then a large check from someone betting on your title to click with their distribution is a no-brainer.
Seth has been teaching us to build a tribe for years. Now he’s broke ties with the old model that used to serve him. No doubt he’ll do well.
What’s your strategy to build a two way dialog with your readers?