Monday, October 28, 2013

A Tale of Two Publishing Worlds

I was asked a question the other day about having advice for those looking to jump from the digital world to the offline world, in terms of creating and marketing a physical book. That question would not have been asked seven or eight years ago, and now it has relevance. Just as some struggle to go from a print book/traditional media approach to e-book/online media, we now have people who find the world of touch to be a challenging one.

There should not be a barrier between the online and physical worlds. We have to work in both and hybridize our efforts. If you don’t have a holistic approach to publishing and publicity you will surely lose out. The key is to find a balance, just as one would diversity their wealth portfolio. No one puts all of their eggs in one basket. Do you?

No doubt, you will be stronger in one area over another. One feels more familiar, more comfortable. One feels like English to you, the other Arabic. It’s only natural that you’ve built up a muscle in one area, and thus have ignored the rest of the body, but you need to improve your weakest parts as much as strengthening your strongest ones.

Life is about balance and finding a way to be inclusive in your approach to it. When it comes to publishing, you can’t dismiss or ignore online or physical, any more than you can have an imbalance between work and play, mind and body, society, and individual, nature and synthetics, people and animals, walking and driving, art and reality, or robots and humanity. Get the idea? 

Even things that seem like opposites -- entertainment vs. reality, dreams vs. living, learning vs. teaching, or love vs. hate need a balance. It’s not 50-50. Maybe it’s 90-10 in certain cases, but you need to strike a balance. 

Dip into other worlds in order to live a full life.

The Internet is the Fifth Estate (traditional news media, legislative, executive branch, judicial, and now digital) or a sixth sense (touch, taste, hear, see, smell, virtual). Online holds a growing number of opportunities to publish, market, advertise, promote, brand, and sell books. One can’t succeed without getting online media coverage, whether it is from bloggers, reviewers, Web sites, or social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Conversely, those who don’t publish in print, dismiss 86% of the marketplace in terms of the amount of money earned from book sales. Further, to not approach traditional media, such as radio, print, and TV, is to handicap the possibility of breaking through the clutter.

The solution? Play on both campuses -- develop smart, cost-effective tactics to excel in both areas.

We live in a world of collaboration. Though this is a a time and an era where one’s sense of self and ego may be at an all-time high, due to the technological advances that permit one to create and promote a brand, our best chance of success rests on our ability to work with others and to exploit their resources and connections. We are not islands onto ourselves. We are not isolationists. The formula for victory is to give to  others whom you hope will give back to you.

You’ll need all the tools you can get your hands on. The online world is one piece of the puzzle.

The physical world is another. Wed the two and you’ll feel whole.

I can’t imagine a life of voyeurism and zero participation. Nor can I imagine a life of doing without thinking and analyzing. We need to strike a balance between our different worlds and find a path to publishing bliss. There’s no one road that will lead any of us there, but a road that’s not inclusive of our digital and physical worlds is one littered with gaping potholes.

One world, many approaches. Play both sides of the fence, and soon you’ll tear that wall down.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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