I have a lot to say about the future of publishing. Having published 4 books (so far) with mainstream publishing, I’ve also done my share of self-publishing, alternative publishing, and more. I believe the landscape of publishing and media making is as fascinating as it’s ever been, and that there are so many new ways to make publishing work for both authors and readers.
I’m really excited to be partnering with NetMinds in an advisory role. With bright stars like Tim Sanders (pictured here at left) and Alan Baker behind it, I know that this company has a real shot at taking on the challenges and opportunities of a whole new model for getting a book made.
The concept takes a bit of unpacking, but I’ll let you check out NetMinds for details. The press release that went out today says, “Net Minds leverages a digital networking and publishing platform to build invested teams around book projects. The company is solving the quality/autonomy problem present in book publishing. There are currently over a dozen Net Minds Select book projects in production, including works by Nolan Bushnell (Atari) and Robert Tercek (MTV and Oprah Digital).”
I forgot to ask Tim if I can talk about my other project with them, so I won’t just yet.
But What About Traditional Publishing?
I must be really clear: I don’t intend to trash traditional publishing. One of my friends is the head of business publishing at Wiley. I have a new edition of a book coming out from Que (once I get my head around a million changes), and I love my editor there. I have a new book coming out with Penguin Portfolio in a month, and I’ve appreciated working with our editor there. I’m not going to trash them. I think there’s a spot for mainstream publishing and that disruptive models like the one we’re pursuing at NetMinds will somewhat be grafted onto the traditional players at some point (if all goes well).
Group Publishing, which is the NetMinds model, is fascinating because it works on the concept that everyone has a stake in the book’s success. At NetMinds, you get a ton more of your royalties, which you then share with the team you bring together to build your book. Thus, if you have an editor, you might give her 10% of your royalties on the book. Ditto the designer, etc. So, you start with 70 or 80% of the royalties, and you dispense them as you see fit. Co-author? No problem. I think that’s part of what makes it cool. The other part is distribution.
Traditional publishers have built very long and meaningful relationships with distributors. But we all know that the landscape for book distribution has changed a great deal. Borders is gone. Barnes is still reworking their model. Books-a-Million is working on growing into some of the gaps. Hudson has a near lock on the US Airports. But there’s so much more going on. Digital publishing is huge. Bundled SKUs is huge. There’s a lot to look at. But I’m sure I’m losing some of you at this point, so I’ll shut up about the guts of it all.
Part of the Plan
In my post, Where I’m Headed, I talked about working on human business. What’s more human than group publishing? I talked about bravery. You’ll see that reflected in what I do with NetMinds. I talked about storytellers. Well, that’s self-explanatory.
Again, I’m an advisor here. They’re letting me play with the toys. But this isn’t a full time job. It’s a passion that fits well with what Human Business Works is out to promote: sustainable, relationship-minded business.
And that, as they say, is all he wrote. I’m in. Check out NetMinds