Normal for Me and Kris…

Over the years, Kris and I have seemed to constantly talk about things that are not believed in the common knowledge of publishing. And after forty years in the business, still selling and making more than a living by a long ways, Kris and I still continue to do that.

Why? Because we believe in common sense and information, not common knowledge.

Interesting that a number of examples came up over this last week.

At Superstars, on the Craft Day, I taught three hours of Writing into the Dark. Now understand, I taught that you don’t need an outline, you don’t even need an idea. That you write clean copy, not sloppy, and that when you are done, you are done. No rewriting.

Wow, four things right there that fly right smack into the face of common publishing knowledge. (And if you like the idea of not needing to waste your time outlining or rewriting, there is a Writing into the Dark online workshop every two months you can jump into to learn how.)

Another example: On Kris’s blog this week she talks about how Kris and I have kept our personal business information to ourselves when every indie writer around us was sharing theirs. We had our reasons and now that Data Guy has done his scam on all of us, we seemed a lot more right than all the writers yelling at us thought. Read Kris’s blog.

Another example is the Kickstarter we fired up yesterday to help remodel and add rooms to our brick and mortar bookstore. Here is how the reaction we have gotten to us owning a bookstore.

Shock! Gasp!  I thought paper books were dying! That’s common knowledge, right?

Uh, no. Just bookstores that don’t know how to operate in the modern world are dying. New, innovative bookstores are springing up all over the world right now, run by people who understand this new world and who love books and story of all types.

We sell books not only locally, but all over the world. And we are expanding to make room in our store for indie paperback books. And we are setting up a submissions system online that if it works we will share with other bookstores so they can get indie author paper books in as well.

Thus the Kickstarter I announced in the previous post.

One thing most writers don’t understand is that almost all successful indie stores (those outside the big mall chain stores) are both new and used. New books shelved with used books. The two biggest in the country, Tattered Cover and Powells’ Bookstore are examples.

Think of your own indie publishing company. You put out a new book and it goes out there with the older books you have already published. And when a reader finds an older book, IT IS NEW TO THEM.

That’s part of the new world. Books no longer spoil and go bad. Readers want books. Period. And that same idea is now working for indie bookstores, helping readers find new authors.

Indie writers are another major part of this new world. And indie authors/publishers must never shut down a way to get their stories to readers. That’s just bad business.

And selling worldwide is another major part. We sell our paper books through ABE, eBay, and Amazon (not through a distributor, which we do as well, but through Amazon third party sales network. Most writers don’t even understand that is there.)

We are also slowly ramping up sales through not only a WMG Publishing bookstore, but North by Northwest Books will have its own online bookstore shortly as well.

So we own a bookstore. Two writers with a publishing company that has nine employees owns a bookstore as well. Right smack into the face of common knowledge.

Where Is This All Going?

I believe the future of all writers must have three parts. The writer must first be a writer. Second, they must be a publisher. Third, they must be a bookstore. (Not brick and mortar, but an online bookstore.)

The future of writers is going to be direct sale to readers at all levels. Direct control of the product we produce and how readers obtain it.

The old world, the trade channels were clear to understand.

— Writers sold to Publishers.

— Publishers sold to Bookstores.

— Bookstores Sold to Readers.

That was the way it was done. Period. You never argued with that common knowledge. At least until the last ten years.

The new world is not so simple, but yet it is.

— Writers are publishers.

— Sometimes the writer/publisher sells to bookstores, sometimes direct to readers.

So when you think you know it all because something is common knowledge, you might want to take a step back and really look around. The future common way of doing things might just be hiding in amongst all the innovative people.

You know, the ones flying into the face of common knowledge.

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