I’m the sort of fellow who always wonders if the model can be changed, adjusted, tweaked. And so, with all the major shifts in the world of publishing (books, magazines, newspapers), I’m wondering if it isn’t time for me to explore the possibility of creating my own micro publisher.
The original title of this post was “Why You Can Have Your Own Publishing Company, TV Show, etc.” I changed CAN to SHOULD because in essence this is the future of creative content: creative artists
will become are their own distribution channels.
Right now, I am writing on a shiny new MacBook Pro. This machine has everything I need to produce content of all stripes (audio, video, copy, print publications, etc). My web hosting account gives me a distribution platform, but so too do all of the sites out there that aggregate content (most blogs) or are channels unto themselves (like YouTube). I can also further my reach with print on demand services like Lulu.
Below are links to two videos. They both run about 45 minutes in length. Watch them in sequence and it becomes clear that today an artist must create their own distribution network.
Malcolm Gladwell and the Power of Tomato Sauce
Chris Anderson on the Power of FREE
Where Publishers Will Make Their Money
In this new world of artist-driven distribution, publishers stand to make a lot of money.
Wait, didn’t I just cut them out of the equation? Yes, sort of, but not explicitly. In fact, publishers have an even bigger role to play and they are going to be more profitable as a result.
The publishing world has always been about taking risks. Today those risks are even more pronounced than ever before. Yet, with the shift to artist-driven distribution publishers have an opportunity to tap into a supply of proven works with a ready audience for purchasing the “new and updated edition”. In turn, they can apply their process of editorial oversight to improve works and their time honored process of media and retail promotion to move more copies of a title that has already proven itself to some degree.
This Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Need an Editor
I am a firm believer in the editorial process. This isn’t a Dorothy in Oz mantra, I really do believe that creative folks need an editorial process. The best work needs time to settle so that you know when and how to apply additional layers. Editors help artists in this regard, shaping the work to make it more coherent and consistent.
Editors are essential.
Yet, if an artist becomes their own distributor, how do they get the benefits of the editorial process? I don’t believe that you can allow the public to serve the place of an editor. A trusted core of friends commenting privately might fill some of the vacancy, but in the end you will probably need to hire an editor privately to comb through your work.
This Sounds Like Work
You’d better believe it. Art is a business and to be successful in business you work.
Of course, a model might evolve where you sell off distribution rights to your baby to a big house and then they run it through a mill of writers until it becomes something quite different (as is the case in film).
Does that sound attractive to you? Well, some people might like that, but I’d rather do the work and know that I own the thing so I’m willing to go through another round.