Literary agents are concerned that authors will bypass them to self-publish. Real estate brokers fear home owners will sell without using them. Sports teams wished sports agents didn’t exist, as they negotiate huge contracts for athletes with a savvy approach. Can entertainers go directly to their fans and skip agents, studios, and networks?
Comedian Louis C.K. proved it can be done.
He recently sold a comedy special on his Web site for $5, selling over 200,000 downloads and netting a $750,000 profit. He didn’t need to convince a cable station to air it or sell it to a network. He didn’t need to line up advertisers and sponsors. He didn’t have to answer to anyone, ask for a thing or do a lot to promote it. He just capitalized on his fame and notoriety and cashed in. Good for him. Authors, musicians, and other talented individuals already do this. But two issues come into play.
First, what does this individual-to-individual pay-per-view model mean to the consumer? How many $5 downloads can one afford, on top of cable bills, internet fees, phone costs, etc.?
Second, how much of our entertainment will come through filtered channels, such as a TV network, a movie studio, a book publisher – and how much will be from independent sources? Does a balance need to be struck or can society continue to move beyond the “authorities” or “gatekeepers” that we’ve come to both respect and shun?
I guess the Internet will settle the question. Millions of websites and blogs collectively can influence and inform and entertain society. We may not do away with NBC, USA Today or NPR but these entities will shrink in size. However, their influence may not become smaller. Though fewer people may watch the Today Show many other media outlets continue to report on the show’s contents. It’s getting to where more people learn about the show second-hand than watch it first-hand live. They’ll see snippets via YouTube. They’ll read about a guest in their morning paper. They’ll hear a talk show on radio comment about what they saw. Bloggers, like me, will write about the show. But fewer will watch it on NBC between 7 am-11am EST, live or taped.
We’ll have to wait and see how this all evolves. Perhaps a new communications medium will present itself and it won’t have any crossover links to the media landscape of today. Imagine that we get ideas, information, images, sounds and experiences that can’t be obtained elsewhere or seen by others. Oh, wait, that’s our dreams or fantasies, and our thoughts. Perhaps turning inwardly is the best way to entertain ourselves. No middlemen, no institutional experts, no fees.
A media network of one. You.
Interview With Stephanie Taylor, Publisher, Astraeapress
- Stephanie, as the owner of Astraeapress, what are you impressions of the book market these days? Honestly? I don't like it. That's why I started Astraea. So many cleaner writers have to market amongst erotica writers, and let's face it. Sex will always sell better! I had the same issues as an author. Astraea isn't just an inspirational publisher. We publish sexy and edgy stuff, too. The difference is, we do it WITHOUT the filthy language and "pink parts." I have a USA TODAY bestselling author and several #1 bestsellers already, after only a year in the business. That goes to prove there's a market for it!
- Why do you love being a publisher? It helps me keep my sanity (I'm a homeschooling mom of a 5, 4 and 3 year-old!). But most of all, I get to be the kind of publisher I wanted to work for/be published with. I'm happy to say that almost everyone at AP has been extremely happy with the way I run things and I love all of my authors. I'm a very blessed gal!
- Where do you see the book industry heading? As I said before, there IS a market for clean romances. I get emails all the time thanking me for what a good thing I'm doing and that they're sick of erotica. I keep hearing that sweet romances are making a comeback and I fully believe this will come full circle. Everything does eventually. And when it does, Astraea Press will be right there on top! ;o)
- What do you do to promote and market your books? Social media is the biggest outlet right now. We also have a blog, a marketing director who works directly with the author to help her come up with a marketing plan, and Facebook/Google forums where our authors all interact and exchange information. They've been a huge part of our marketing for Astraea.
- What advice do you have for struggling writers? Email me. ;o) I love helping other people learn to write and succeed. There's room enough for all of us in this industry. And when you are done? I might just have to publish it!
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Planned Television Arts. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.
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