This Is Just A Fun Thought Experiment…

But I think that some ideas in publishing that have been around for a time and not gotten much traction might be nearing time-is-right place.

Just my opinions, and I am sure I am missing a ton of other close, but not ready yet, things. But here are three to think about that I personally think are close.

Idea One… Gift Cards for Books

Now back in 2011, we did a couple books on credit-card-like cards with a code on the back to download the book. In essence the idea was to give a physical form to electronic books.

We mounted the books on what looked like a folded cover flat of a 5×8 trade paper. The front cover was the cover of the book, back cover the back cover. Inside was more about the book on one page and on the other was the card and how to download the code on the back.

We gave a couple hundred of them away for a collection of mine and a collection of Kris’s. And we ended up at a signing actually signing electronic books.

Now today, a place called is fairly cheap and amazing. They will load up your book, print your cover on the plastic cards, do the instructions on the back, and even do everything on the back end, including keeping track of the address of anyone downloading your book. Now the business is set up for musicians, but look under “Uses” tab and you will see where it talks about authors. And for a 100 of them about 49 cents each.

You will still have to distribute them, sell them, use them as give-aways, that sort of thing. But they are fun and cool and another way to get to readers and fans.

So I think this is a possible future way authors can get their books out and have another cash stream and a way to build a mailing list.

Idea Two… Mass Market Paperbacks

A lot of us have been talking and hoping for this size to return for indie writers for a long time now. More years than I want to think about. But it was always difficult to do until this last week when Vellum added the size to one of their free upgrades.

Now my sense is that this size will come back strong over the next three or four years. Readers like mass market size better. So do bookstores. And pricing, if you watch your layout, can be kept in control.

So before this last week, I would still say this was a ways out. Not now. Got a hunch this is almost a sure thing to sweep in.

Idea Three… Apps for Writers

A number of years back I built an app for my writing. After playing around with the idea for a year, I never launched it because the time wasn’t right. Now I do know that big name writers out of traditional publishing have apps, but the apps honestly flat suck and are not maintained.

And back to Idea One… You can even load an app onto those plastic cards for people to download. Hmmm…

Apps are scary easy to build and push to the major app stores. Just about anyone these days can do it and drive it off your web site. Basically, it would be like a more interactive newsletter. And if you blog regularly or do regular free stories or things like that, apps are logical to push the content to fans.

For example, I do a tip of the week in video and let people subscribe to them on Teachable. I could do those tips for free and push them over my app every week, so the only people who would get them would be those who downloaded my app.

Cozy writers could do recipes every week to fit with their books. Or nonfiction writers doing photos from research. Or free short stories for short story writers. Or… Or…

And, of course, you would link your books on your app to where they could be bought and do Advanced Reading Copies for selected fans, and link to preorders. And fun promotions. So many ways to use it.

And studies are showing that more and more readers are reading content on their phones.

Just Google “build your own app” and compare the different places. There are articles that compare the features of the different app building sites. And costs. Cheaper than you might imagine.

Indie writers have not gone this way yet, but I am starting to hear a few rumblings. Might not be that far out that a few writers give this a shot. And got a hunch, it just might work, depending on your content, how much you could push to your users, and so on. It would combine well with Patreon and other social media sites as well.

It flat doesn’t work for traditionally published writers with one or two books a year. But indie writers??? Prolific indie writers might just well be the right source for a new wave of apps.


So that is just three things I see off in the future for writers. Just my opinion. I might be wrong, but all three of these have bubbled for a time now. Just saying…