the road ahead


Publisher’s New Normal
August 30, 2009, 5:20 pm
Filed under: business, ministry, spirituality

the new normalpic

I am often asked as a publisher and leader of a Christian publishing company about the future of publishing. Depending on the person asking the question, whether industry insiders or just concerned friends or peers, there seems to be an underlying anxiety and suspicion that publishing is coming to a sad end!

Perhaps it is my personality, or my outlook on life in general, but as a publisher I am actually more excited about the future of publishing than at any other time in my more than twenty years in the industry! Perhaps you are asking what gives me such optimism?

  • Hard times accelerate change in old publishing models and new models emerge.
  • Challenging times force publishers back to their core business.
  • These times provide incredible technological channels to share content with consumers.
  • Authors look for real partnerships with a publisher beyond money to a focus on the ministry.
  • Fresh voices and content emerge throughout the Body of Christ ready for publishing and distribution.

Just wanted to write a word to encourage my friends in the Christian publishing world. Yes, times have changed and will continue to change, but the opportunities are all around us!

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4 Comments so far
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great insight

Comment by ted squires

I don’t think regular publishing is going away any time soon.

Comment by Josh Hunt

Great encouragement although I do think publishing is coming to a sad end… at least for those who do not adapt to the bullets of optimism and opportunity you so wisely pointed out. 🙂

Comment by Daniel Decker

Michael, as always I appreciate your honesty and insight into a world you know so well. Being a new author working with an amazing agent, it’s been very interesting to hear why publishers have passed on my manuscript.

Some have passed for obvious reasons… ie fear of losing jewels on their crown if they even toyed with the idea of publishing it (my manuscript is slightly edgy for the mainstream Christian world).

But the more interesting “no’s” have been the ones based nothing on content. They’ve loved the book, yet I read their rave reviews just waiting for the but…

but…we need to see a clear cut platform. If he became a pastor of a mega-church within the year, then we’d take another look (Ok no one said the mega-pastor thing..at least not verbatim)

but…We tried to take a risk on a book kind of like this once…

but…the twentysomething audience is too hard to sell too.

So alas I’ve been confronted with the reality of the publishing business,/em>. One that I think, is based on old paradigms of platforms, which leads to decisions made from fear if the author does not have one.

But honestly,I think twentysomethings care less about platforms and seven step plans, and more about truth and authenticity; two things they can find every day in the blogging world, but alas gets marketed, edited, blocked out of the “this makes financial sense” books we see on the shelves.

I think the twentysomething audience is the most exciting to market too because if done as a part of an already existing conversation going on all over the internet, I think you can watch your audience become partners, become stakeholders with the book itself instead of just a “sale”.

There needs to be a creative re-invention of what publishing and marketing actually means, actually looks like, to have publishers lead this change instead of following woefully behind.

My thoughts for what they’re worth.

Comment by Paul Angone




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