It’s a Good Time to Start a Publishing Business

Greetings, I’m Dayna. Our new publishing company, Koho Pono LLC, opens its doors this month despite tough economic conditions, bookstores closures, cut-throat competition from mega-publishing houses, and dramatic industry upheavals. It is a notoriously tough sector but we are excited because innovation can help small publishing companies and booksellers (hey, authors and their audiences, too).

Times are a’changing and most of the other publishers are trying to do business the same ol’ way.  Let’s face it, technology is altering the formats & delivery systems of our businesses. There are new marketing ideas, new tools for information transfer, new business venues and there is a whole new pace to our industry. Publishers and booksellers alike must adapt to these changes in order to survive. The reason we are excited, even though we are (let’s face it) inexperienced at publishing, is because we are experts in change management and innovation.

We have over 30 years of professional experience in the science and methodology of innovation. “What the heck is that,” you ask?

To which I answer, “It is the how-to, step-by-step process of looking outside the box and creating inventive solutions to tough problems.” Look, I’ll give an example later in this blog. The point is, we believe these ‘challenging times’ offer us a competitive advantage because we know how to create possibilities when our competitors feel constrained.

This first blog of mine will deal with one of the most basic issues facing our industry and I am going to look at it from an innovator’s point of view (pov).

The issue is: Our industry is changing so rapidly, many roles are becoming irrelevant.

Innovator’s pov: When the situation changes but we continue to do business the same way we have always done business and we expect to get the same results that we always have gotten = craziness. When things change, we need to change, too. The first step to changing in an intelligent manner is to examine the current situation with fresh eyes. So, what are we trying to accomplish and what roles are needed to achieve that end?

Writers want to weave stories + Audiences want to experience good stories. Therefore, from a publisher’s pov, both writers and audiences are critical resources. Money can be made facilitating this interchange. These 2 groups of people need to be our focus because they are the very core of our business. We need to understand and listen to them. We need to service their needs and enable their desires.  Everyone else, including the publisher, is of secondary importance. Booksellers are of secondary importance, too. Publishers and booksellers are the group of people that need to make significant changes and we will benefit the most from doing so. I’m okay with that. Keeping our eyes on these facts will help us make money.

Storytellers need to think about how they are going to meet their audiences in the future. And those of us who are in between the storytellers and their audiences facilitating delivery need to be leaders of innovation. We need to figure out the new ways storytellers and audiences will be meeting. We need to pave those paths so that we are the ones both groups turn to.

What most publishers are doing today to counteract the pressures they face are to institute a bunch of cost-cutting measures: they limit their frontlist, outsource many editing functions as well as production and Quality, spend marketing dollars on a reduced title-set (concentrate on cookie-cutter books), and support only their already successful authors. Much effort is also spent on lawsuits over new technology rights and developing proprietary systems for new markets.

What we intend to do is to listen to and support our authors – to help them do what they are driven to do and to make sure they can afford do it again and again.  Also, we intend to keep our customers happy from cradle to grave. We are going to leverage our innovation process to position ourselves for developing new markets and marketing vehicles while creating iconic titles for a wide variety of niche customers. We call it ‘customized mass-market appeal’. Right now we are developing an evolutionary roadmap for both readers and authors. We are also revolutionizing our product manufacturing processes, analyzing and managing coming risks, and focusing on resources.

Our first book will be published and distributed in a relatively traditional manner because we really need to understand the AS IS conditions. So, Persephone’s Seeds, will be released in the three most common platforms – print, audio, and digital – and four most common formats: hardcover, paperback, audio, and e-book.

We’ll keep you apprised of how things are going. We’d love to hear what other small publishers, booksellers, and writers are doing to meet changing conditions. We would also absolutely love to hear from avid readers about what kind of stories you are looking for how you would like to receive them.

Let’s get a dialogue going…

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