What’s Up in Publishing?

It’s no secret that today’s traditional publishers are struggling. The long-held business model isn’t working anymore and innovation has become the new holy grail.

The larger the company, the more difficult it is to react in a timely manner to the rapidly changing market and demands.

One publisher that leads the way is Thomas Nelson. Their CEO, Michael Hyatt, has a blog, he Tweets and has the ability to come across as very personable. He talks about issues such as why authors need platforms, but he is also very forthcoming about the corporation, the publishing industry and the challenges.

One of the innovations they came up with is NelsonFree, in which the purchase of a hardcover book includes an e-book and audio book.This offers additional value to the customer without additional cost.

While everyone is scrambling to hang on to their market share, it makes good sense to look for ways to differentiate yourself. But that alone is not enough if people don’t know about your unique propositions.

I would not have known about the program except for Michael Hyatt’s informative blogging and Tweets.

Who in publishing do you think is leading the way or using innovation to maintain or grow their business?


A Friend with a Flashlight

I’m independent and I like it.

I want to solve my own problems and make my own way. But I got a jarring wake-up call a few years ago when my life veered out of control.

I discovered I couldn’t fix it all.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. Human beings weren’t created to live in isolation.

Yet for me, like many of us, the hardest thing to do was to say “I need help”.

Why is it so hard? What stops us from reaching out?

Here are a few reasons:

It feels like failure. We don’t want to admit we can’t handle the present situation.

We’re afraid to be vulnerable. It’s terrifying.

We can’t stand being rejected. If people knew what was really going on, they would avoid us.

My divorce devastated me. When I finally gathered the courage to seek help, I hit several dead ends. With each rebuff, I wanted to crawl under the bed and hide from the world. But I persevered, because my alternative was a future filled with pain, desolation and hopelessness. I couldn’t find my way out by myself.

I needed a friend with a flashlight and map.

If you’re in a dark place, unsure of the path, imagine your relief when someone comes alongside who’s been there and knows the pitfalls. Their experience and knowledge will lead you to safety.

For me, the flashlight and map was DivorceCare, a support group that offers hope and healing. For people with addictions, there is a group called Celebrate Recovery. If you’ve lost a loved one, try GriefShare. There are also groups such as AlAnon, Alcoholics Anonymous and the National Institute of Mental Health.

The point is, you don’t have to be stuck alone, in the darkness.

Have you found a friend with a flashlight? Please comment and tell me about it.

It’s All About the Story

I always knew I wanted to write.

When I was a child I devoured books, mostly mysteries, checking them out at the library based on how thick they were. Books took me away from reality, and into a just world where the good guys won and the bad guys were punished.

My passion for mysteries created a lifelong desire to become a mystery novelist, but the need to write compelled me to work on everything from ad copy to greeting cards, magazine articles to promotional hang tags. In doing so, I discovered that while many people love books, the smell and feel of a tome, I love what the books contain.

I love the stories.

Good stories captivate me, and I’m not alone. Stories have provided information, taught lessons and moved people to action for as long as there have been people to tell them.

Writing the story gets me in front of the computer nearly every day as I attempt to capture, create and communicate the thoughts and images that fill my head.

Sharing the story drives me to submit and query, despite the fact that it often feels like throwing your work down a dark and bottomless well.

But I’ll never stop, because I simply can’t.

Because, fiction or non-fiction, it’s all about the story.