I had the pleasure of participating in a virtual roundtable discussion hosted by The Hot Sheet and moderated by Jane Friedman, along with Ann Garvin, M.J. Rose, Anne Trubek, and Howard Yoon. The recording is below, along with my prepared comments for the key points we intended to discuss. The whole conversation is worth listening to, with great insights across the board, and some disagreements here and there.
Commentary and advice on various aspects of publishing, primarily magazines, books and digital media.
Five Things: April 14, 2022
Five things for April 14, 2022. That's it! That's the excerpt.
Five Things: February 17, 2022
Five things for February 17, 2022. That's it! That's the excerpt.
Public Libraries and Ebooks Redux [for Independent Publishers]
I had the pleasure of kicking off the new year by participating in IBPA's PubU Online webinar series, presenting "Engaging New Readers with Ebooks in Public Libraries" and I've posted my slides and written up my main presentation here as it pulled together a few threads I haven't addressed in one place before. Non-IBPA members and other library-curious types might find them useful as a starting point to learn more about how libraries work, and why they're an important partner for publishers of all sizes.
Five Things: December 9, 2021
Five things for December 9, 2021. That's it! That's the excerpt.
Five Things: June 10, 2021
Five things for June 10, 2021. That's it! That's the excerpt.
In the Big 5’s Shadow, Publishing Gets Creative | #PubWest2020
Although PubWest is meant for traditional small and mid-sized publishers, it’s probably the most accessible industry conference for serious authors interested in understanding the business of trade publishing beyond getting an agent and a Big Five book deal. The more authors understand the various levers publishers have to pull and what factors determine which books they’ll pull them for, the better equipped they’ll be to negotiate a better contract and avoid unpleasant surprises like a perceived lack of marketing, uncomfortable relationships with independent bookstores and libraries, advances that don’t earn out, and having to find a new agent and publisher for your next book.
Talking About Libraries—Updates from Libraryland
Hyper-current events aside, 2020 has gotten off to a productive start for the Panorama Project, hot on the heels of my Publishers Weekly op-ed challenging the industry to take question of libraries more seriously. Since then, we released our annual report and announced two major new initiatives; I was a featured speaker at PubWest 2020; and I did fun interviews with Library Journal and Book Riot where I got to discuss my work in more detail.
The Lessons of Media Bankruptcy (or, Sad Anniversary, F+W Media!)
Anyone who’s worked in media in the 21st century—particularly “traditional” magazine media and its various digital counterparts and competitors—has at some point lived through the ups and downs of expense cuts and surprise layoffs, questionable pivots and their inordinate investments. I’ve been through variations of it a few times in my career, but my second time around with F+W was absolutely the worst, particularly because I realized, belatedly, that the writing was on the wall pretty early on. Here’s four things I learned which might be strong signs your company is heading in the wrong direction.
On Niche Audiences, Immersive Media, and Publishers’ Myopia
How a publisher defines, segments, and prioritizes its audience impacts every decision it makes about every book it acquires, publishes, and markets. As I noted in the new annual report for the Panorama Project, despite the growth in ebooks and audiobooks over the past decade, there are reportedly fewer people reading books today, and fierce competition for their attention and discretionary spending. In the absence of any major consumer research focusing on how book consumption and purchasing behavior has changed over the past five years, there are many unsupported theories attempting to explain why consumer ebook sales plateaued, and then began a gradual decline. Consumer pricing, library lending, and self-publishing are believed to be among the primary factors, while little consideration has been given to the impact of other forms of digital media that have experienced exponential growth—including film, TV, and gaming.