Ask The Author – Well, Publishers, What Took You So Long?

When I first saw this new venture launched by Simon & Schuster, my first thoughts were; how would this work with a collective hub for self-published authors? Yes, the top notch self-published authors use social networking extremely well, but not quite this way, as a collective of independent authors, sharing a genre or unique perspective, engaging directly with their readers through video blog and forum.

Over the past two years, there is one single important observation I will make. We are starting to see the first buds of hope that larger publishing houses are realising it is time they exploited social networking far more and appreciated that their authors can be more involved and connected with their readers outside of what I believe is a declining promotional tool – the bookstore signing. As e-book sales stretch and gather a greater steam, the bookstore signing is going to become less of a tool for authors to connect with their readers.
Consider this, for the not too distance future – perhaps only a year or two away. We click on the website page for one of the big six publishers, and instead of landing on S&S, Random House, HarperCollins or Penguin, we find ourselves visiting a Facebook group of said publisher bringing us into direct communication, at our fingertips, with the publisher’s authors.
Take notice self-published authors, the journey may have been a whirlwind over the past few years, but publishing houses have the big bucks, and while it may take a train to collide with their business models and development – once it does – these companies have the wherewithal to realigned and move quickly. I’m certainly seeing those smoke signals rise above the mountaintops now.
What is fundamental for the whole self-publishing community is that they do not rest on their laurels – happy that the community can point to their adopted idols like Konrath, Godin and Hocking, and blog and waft lyrically as to how self-publishing is now part of the publishing world itself. All the while – the publishing Goliaths will learn their lessons and happily plunder every last jewel from the self-publishing treasure chest.   
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