The publishing landscape is in flux. Yes, we know. There are tons of panels, conferences, articles, blogs, etc. that remind us everyday. Not to say that any of these do not have any merit because some of them do inspire and provide new ideas. I know that Twitter is a great place for publishing peeps to share articles, ideas, and even keep others updated on what is going on at these numerous conferences that seem to say the same thing over and over. It is to the point where I am not even slightly intrigued to attend many of the conferences because I can get most of the pertinent talking points live, via Twitter. I know that the main point of most conferences is to get a chance to socialize and meet with people about the ideas that are being discussed and shared—blah, blah, blah. The point is that there are too many ideas and talking heads out there discussing what is wrong with the industry and even discussing how to fix it. But therein lies the problem, it is just discussion for the most part. This is the issue I have with Twitter. While it allows for many interesting and great ideas to be discussed and shared in a fastidious, real time manner, these ideas seem to go no further than the typical RT.
With BEA coming up, I know there will be many panels discussing what has already been talked about ad nauseam. Enough talk. Let’s start doing. It is a great and exciting time to be in publishing. Thanks to Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Google, and the “death of print media” more people than ever are discussing books and the future of publishing. Now is the time to take these great ideas and have at it. I think it is important that we keep discussing and sharing ideas openly but it is vital that something becomes of these ideas otherwise it is just intellectual masturbation. We need to take action and do the things that we always said we wanted to do. That being said, I am self-proclaiming this summer, the publishing industry’s Summer of George (HHL is a huge fan of Seinfeld and there is an episode when George gets a 3 month severance and decides to spend his summer doing all of the things he has talked about but never did).
With that in mind, I have decided to focus on a few exciting businesses that will be kicking of this summer that you need to look out for (for various reasons I did not include Open Road Media but love what they are starting to do):
This is site is already out but I am really excited about it as it is “showcasing projects experimenting with literature and technology. It brings together comment from industry figures and key thinkers, and encourages debate.”
This is taken directly from their “About” page. You might be thinking the last sentence about debate might contradict with what I have been saying above, but you would be wrong. The debate would center around projects, meaning something that was made or some action that was taken from an idea.
I have been waiting anxiously for Richard Nash’s new business venture to come to fruition for a while and it looks like this summer the wait is over. Nash recently wrote an article the aforementioned Literary Platform about his new project, Cursor, “a portfolio of niche social publishing communities.” The thing that really intrigues me about Cursor it will have three-year contracts. I was excited about each community being its own imprint but the three-year blew my mind in the best way possible. Any new publisher should consider adopting this model for their contract if they want to be a destination for authors.
After researching the cellphone novel phenomena in Japan, Dana Goodyear, formerly of the New Yorker, started Figment to try to bring the excitement of cellphone novels to American teens. There is no doubt that with blogs, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, ereaeders, iPads, etc. that people are reading more than ever. Teens are seem to be texting every chance they get. It only makes sense that there should a site where anyone writing YA can share their work, not only on the Internet but on the devices that the YA market uses more than anything, cellphones. What I really like about Figment is that it is not just for novels written via phone, as in Japan, but also computers. With the popularity of fanficiton, mash-ups, and other self-publishing sites, not to mention the popularity of YA with adults at this point and how that is another market for Figment as well, Figment could possibly be a game changer in the YA world. Be sure to check out Jacob Lewis of Figment at the 7x20x21 panel at BEA.
 Yes, I know. I see the irony in pointing out this by doing a blog post.
 I realize that it takes time to have ideas come to fruition and that many ideas being discussed via Twitter might be in production as we speak, but you get my point.