Eco-System: What Publishing Can Be.
(I know how to grow It. There’s money enough for everyone in them thar forests.)
They’re not seeing the forest for all of the trees.
That Amazon focus: they see the books but not the creation. The products rather than the process…
“Eco-system”, says Irish Chick, interrupting my musing. “It pisses me off that everyone uses that word. It’s not a god-dammed eco-system if it’s not about the environment.”
Irish Chick is the female rendition of a ‘bro’ to me. We’re going through a bit of a bromance thing. She’s a wildlife biologist with a doctorate and a scat dog. She knows every academic definition of eco. And she’s spent years of her life in forests. Irish Chick is all about the environment. People? Not so much.
Me? I think people have been left out of the publishing eco-system. Hell, I think publishing has been left out of the publishing eco-system. And the notion of ecology as a metaphor is most definitely MIA in the publishing industry.
What if we were to imagine Amazon in a different way? About process and not just product. Let’s imagine the true and original Amazon. A rainforest. (Abundance.) Filled with creatures and critters and organic designs and natural systemic processes. Lots of healthy trees filled with makers and consumers.
I have a clear picture — in 3D, mind — in my head for a publishing template that would do that. A business model that works with what is working today. (Any offers? Anyone?)
It’s a template that plays to strengths. To trends that do… well… trend.
- You know that legendary publishing expertise and depth of experience that traditional publishers are supposed to have? That.
- Crowdsourcing. And funding.
- Collaboration. #DIWO
- Online shopping.
- Mutually respectful financial arrangements of service-based industries in which buyer and seller, host and guest, driver and passenger rate eachother as societal peers.
- Of an ever-increasing market of ‘amateurs’ who’re pros, who practice (and practise) excellence and are driven by self-actualization rather than short-term financial profit. The Net Gain Club, I call them.
- Technology that lifts the good above the scum
- Long tail stuff
So here’s my vision: an organic thing, an eco-system that brings wood- and cloud-based dreams to life. Imagine a virtual, for-profit publisher, filled with real artisans, fueled by quantified collaboration and unlimited competition. A publishing eco-system in which you hand-pick the collaborative team that will bring your dream book to life — in hard wood or soft copy. To be sold on whatever shelf who choose, wherever.
Me, personally, I’m all about the UX: Imagine a yes/no process that walks you, as an aspirant author, through the publishing process using familiar levers you have encountered every time you’ve shopped anywhere online.
It starts with a cry: “Help! I’ve got a book in me.”
Oh, says the heartening-yet-neutral interface. Is the manuscript complete?
Do you want a consultation with a publishing professional on its market viability?
So it’s ready for an editor?
Or, “No, the manuscript is not complete.”
Do you need writing help?
Do you want somebody to write it for you?
We fast-track through layer-upon-layer that finds and meets the initial need and guides the creator through the process. An entry- and exit-anywhere eco-system that never runs in a straight line. [#tailored #organic #usercentric] Publishing as familiar as online shopping. Pop EDIT and DESIGN and PROOFREAD and MARKETING into your shopping cart in advance, just to see what your credit card will be in for. Or add them to Wishlist. Payment through a verified central pathway. This is Full Stack Stuff.
But who provides the EDIT, DESIGN, PROOFREAD?
Well, the online marketplace of independent service providers, of course. It’s collaborative economy stuff. Where editors and designers and proofreaders become the über-drivers of their own Airbnb-type careers. So that great editors finally get something close to market value for their impeccable services.
And so on and so on…
Here’s the thing. I know the global user experience. In detail. Who wants to build it?