13 Guesses About the Future of Writing and Publishing by Michael Larsen

  1. New writers self-publish, and build their platform and community of fans until they prove their potential, and agents and publishers find them.
  2. Successful writers are among the most powerful people in publishing. They are CEOs of one-person, multimedia, multinational conglomerates–contentpreneurs who use craft, creativity, innovation and social media to create and sell their work, and who crowdsource their success by serving a worldwide community of fans and collaborators.
  3. Writers and publishers surf the swelling tsunami of content by branding their work: they maximize their discoverability by integrating their content and communications to build their brand.
  4. Ebooks are the dominant worldwide platform for books. Updating ebooks and integrating other media into them is easy. Readers judge authors by their ability to tell a story so compellingly that awareness of medium and technique disappears.
  5. Foreign book sales are greater than domestic sales. Instant translation and five billion smartphones give readers access to a global village square that empowers a worldwide community of writers and publishers. This unleashes an accelerating, multimedia explosion of communication, creativity, collaboration and commerce.
  6. The human family uses smartphones with expandable screens for interactive information and entertainment as well as communication, so when possible, books have apps.
  7. People remember what they read in print more than what they read on screens. Sustainably produced books with enduring value, more beautiful than ever, continue to provide the physical and literary pleasures only they can. In a machine-made, high-tech but visual culture, printed books are more needed and treasured than ever.
  8. The big conglomerates are fewer and smaller. They thrive by partnering with their writers and devoting themselves to what they can do best: editing, design, marketing, and distribution.
  9. The distinction between traditional publishing and self-publishing is gone. Writers have a greater range of options than ever, and they choose the best ones for each project.
  10. Traditional and self-publishers have disrupted Amazon with a nonprofit, cooperative, online bookstore on which they list books and fulfill orders.
  11. The disruption of superstores has inspired the American Booksellers Association and the American Association of Publishers to collaborate on creating the biggest book chain: a community of 3,500—to 4,000 square-foot independent stores that thrive because:
    • They use the business model that works in their communities, including being co-ops, a combination of businesses, and community-supported nonprofits like other cultural institutions.
    • They are all Amazon, because they have an Espresso Book Machine. Books are formatted so they can be printed on EBMs that print a book with illustrations in a minute. Booksellers never run out of books, and EBMs help solve the problem of returns so writers receive royalties monthly.
    • They are community centers and a respite from staring at screens. They respond to their community’s needs and tastes, provide events and classes, and are meeting places for reading and writing groups and community organizations.
    • Readers buy local, because 68 cents of every dollar spent in a chain store leaves the community; with indies, only 43 cents leaves the community.
  12. Agents are mentors and collaborators who help clients maximize their creativity, visibility and income.
  13. Fifty billion sensors are integrated into a global neural network that increases productivity and lessens the need to work while a sharing economy helps liberate writers and publishers to pursue their goals.

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