In the month of January, I'm doing a Twitter Interview (Twitterview) of many of the participants of the #BookMarket chat. These are people who come and generously share their wisdom week after week. The Twitterviews give them a chance to shine.
My take on the interview:
I found this conversation particularly baffling. The nice thing is that I wasn't alone. Eighteen months ago, or so, David states that he changed the model of his publishing company from an author centric model to a platform centric model. M'k. There's a lot of definitions for a platform. The most widely understood is that a platform is short hand for an author's readership or fan base; in some cases, it's short hand for the author's reach or influence. Our chat got a little stuck on this point because every publisher since the beginning of time is focused on who purchases their books.
So what did I get from the interview outside of being confused? I guess that publishing is wide enough, and open enough, to encompass all kinds of ideas and theories. The question is whether they are successful or not. With privately held companies, it's very hard to know. I choose to take it all in and continue to move step by step.
Because this chat was so confusing, I tried to edit it for clarity.
Here's the whole transcript:
ClaudiaC Q.1 - What 5 words would you use to describe your publishing company? #bookmarket #twitterview
ClaudiaC Q.2 - What is your favorite thing about the publishing/writing world today? #bookmarket #twitterview
DavidRozansky: What I like about today's #publsihing world: Authors now empowered to do business directly with their readers. I apologize for the madcap typing skills...or lack thereof.
ClaudiaC: Doesn't that eliminate your role as a publisher? #twitterview #bookmarket
DavidRozansky: I started out as writer in 1988. I started Flying Pen Press because I was tired of abusive Ivory Tower publishers. About a 18 months ago, we changed from author-centric pubsliher to paltform-centric. Being platform-centric publisher = building brands readers follow that writers want to write for. Series & such. Many publishers are confused by the new dynamic of the author-reader relationship. Much anxiety going on right now.
ClaudiaC And that means.... what? That's obtuse, even for you David. Can you give us an example?
DavidRozansky: LIke a TV show or magazine that has loyal audience, where anyone can write, so too will book-series work.
joythebooky @behlerpublish there is no confusion! Publishers know their audience.
DavidRozansky: @Jothebooky Most large publsihers know their trade: stores, distributors, sales reps. But readers, they have no clue. The reason I say that is that every book has a different set of readers. Pubs that track readers have advantage.
behlerpublish @DavidRozansky I'm a publisher, and I have no idea what confusion you're talking about. Care to expand on this? How would that confuse me, as a publisher?
DavidRozansky: @behlerpublish Editors at Big 6 are watching as authors bail to self-pub. They all guess at reasons. Fun to watch.
behlerpublish @DavidRozansky I'd like to see proof Big 6 pubs are watching authors self pub. They, like us, are 2 busy to notice
angelaperry @DavidRozansky I see. So like the James Frey model? Stables of authors who write under a single pseudonym?
DavidRozansky: .@angelaperry That is one workable model, out of many.
ClaudiaC Every publisher does that.For ex, Stephen King's pubs. Janet Evanovich's pubs. How is ur model diff?
toughLoveforx @DavidRozansky "author-centric pubsliher to paltform-centric" sounds interesting. links? or more tweets?
Jothebooky @ClaudiaC this is sad. Honestly. It's upsetting to read this interview
angelaperry Simpson's parodied that business model, in an episode with @neilhimself. Hilarious!
@ClaudiaC You name grade A frontlisters. What of midlist? The old model is to pub new authors and see which flies. Today, midlist author brought to maturity self-pubs once they have platform. Publisher loses investment.
ClaudiaC I have a # of friends who are mid-listers. They work from proposals&do quite well. What is ur point?
Jothebooky @ClaudiaC yes. Mid listers can and many do quite well
ClaudiaC My friends have made living for decades - still do.
Jothebooky @ClaudiaC yes! And they will continue to do so
ClaudiaC @jothebooky It's not a bad way to write. In some ways, I wish it was my way. Is it yours?
Jothebooky @ClaudiaC not writer. Reviewer. But many author friends. Both trad and indie houses
behlerpublish @DavidRozansky There's plenty room for all writers and all pub options, so what's your point?
DavidRozansky It comes down to numbers. Profits better than royalties. If you control platform, don't need 3rd party publisher.
ClaudiaC Ok, folks, can we agree that we're not getting something. Shall we move on?? Q.3 - If a reader was totally dialed into what you publish, what's your message?
ClaudiaC @davidrozansky And how is Terry Grosz related to your message as a publisher?
DavidRozansky @ClaudiaC My "message" is to find profitable publishing projects. Establish platforms that we can control.
angelaperry @DavidRozansky Sorry, still confused. How is this different than other publishers? Sounds like audience definition.
DavidRozansky Terry Grosz is the start of one of those platforms. Wildlife law enforcement is niche building a mailing list.
Jothebooky @angelaperry I'm confused as well. Getting annoyed
ClaudiaC @davidrozansky Ok, so u'll publish anyone w anything as long as they are profitable & u can control the platform?
TaylorTrade @DavidRozansky You're not getting into stores easily if stores are using AMZN to look up your books though, right?
DavidRozansky .@TaylorTrade Again, we noticed stores using Amazon to research reader comments. So that is a priority for us. Bookstores seek readers. Having control of readers gives us that edge. Theory moving nicely with Grosz titles.
ClaudiaC @taylortrade Libraries too. Libraries prefer Ingram catelog & Library of Congress (of course)
DavidRozansky As to controlling author's platforms, won't work that way. That's author-centric thinking, what publishers used to do. You have to have your own readers, like a magazine does, then find readers to serve those readers. An author can reach his or her own platform easily. Stop pursuing those, create brand-centric followings.
Jothebooky @DavidRozansky @TaylorTrade bookstores don't use amazon reviews as basis for carrying books!!!!
Exactly. Again, nor do libraries. RT @Jothebooky: bookstores dont use amazon reviews as basis for carrying books!!!!
DavidRozansky @Jothebooky I only know that indie bookstores open amazon to look at our titles when we make sales calls.
ClaudiaC @davidrozansky @jothebooky How about if I find out and get back? I'll ask @tatteredcover & see what they do.
Jothebooky @ClaudiaC I contacted a couple myself. They said looking at amazon reviews to choose stocking was laughable at best
ClaudiaC Thx Jo. RT @Jothebooky: I contacted a couple myself.They said looking at amazon reviews to choose stocking was laughable at best
ClaudiaC @DavidRozansky Um. Okay.Sorry I'm a little baffled&we're running out of time.Q.4 - how are you picking authors now?
DavidRozansky We find a niche that needs books. Then we find writers that are trying to be heard by that niche.
ClaudiaC @davidrozansky Q.5 - Everyone has a super secret ninja skill. What's yours? #bookmarket
DavidRozansky My superskill is listening to the train tracks. I know when train is coming before others see it barreling down.
angelaperry @DavidRozansky Still unclear how this differs from other publishers. All publishers connect readers and authors.
ClaudiaC @angelaperry We're all confused.
ClaudiaC @davidrozansky Thanks for the #twitterview #bookmarket!
DavidRozansky I enjoyed the opportunity to share my thoughts. I'll be here for a while answering questions.
angelaperry @BookMarketChat @davidrozansky Yes, thanks! It was...interesting.
I hope that's clearer than it was. lol! As always, I'm interested in your thoughts or perceptions. You may easily understand what I missed.
Tomorrow, I'm interviewing @DanBlank at 3p ET for my next twitterview! :)