Nov 28, 2011

Glowing Butterflies Must be Toxic!

by Stacy Clark

Our Founder and Principal of Publisher Relations, Jay Gale, shares his current views on the rapidly evolving publishing industry.

After speaking with many publishers, Inkubate has learned that they are kept up at night worrying about the rapidly shrinking retail marketplace, and though this is good news for the makers of Lunesta, it portends an industry in turmoil.

Inkubate agrees that this marketplace is contracting rapidly and that securing access to markets is fundamentally necessary for traditional publishers to survive; but, securing access to a marketplace when you have little or no product to sell is a waste of time and effort.

The publishing world is in rapid transition and while Amazon is using innovation and proactive ways to directly connect with writers, and in so doing dis-intermediating publishers and agents, traditional publishers seem content to execute discovery like they always have—passively—e.g., waiting for writers or agents to query them. And, while this continues to work for the time being, it is unlikely that five years from now these same publishers will effectively be able to compete in a publishing industry whose evolution is being driven by technology.

Inkubate levels the playing field by providing publishers with the same kind of direct access to writers that Amazon has built for itself through its self-publishing models. But Inkubate does more—it ups the ante—by leveraging the one thing that publishers have in their favor that Amazon still has to achieve: imprint brand value. Publishers who do not seize the opportunity to leverage their brand values in the only place that it really matters—with the writer community—are missing the best opportunity that they have to secure primary access to new and undiscovered writers, and this, of course, is fundamental to the long-term survival of any publishing house.

By taking care of that part of their business, publishers can then begin to build new ways to access retail markets, either through leveraging the quality of their content in their negotiations with third party retailers or by delivering that content themselves; in either case, it starts with sourcing the most compelling works by the best authors.

-Jay D. Gale, Principal & Co-Founder


Stacy Clark, a co-founder of Inkubate, is also an educator, writer and researcher who lives in Dallas, Texas.