Tim O’Reilly gave an interesting speech and interview at the Tools of Change (TOC) conference recently on the future of book publishing. Following are some key takeaways from my perspective:

  • obscurity is the biggest threat authors face
  • things change because creative people see problems to solve and are not afraid of the future; people who face those problems are searching for solutions and reward the problem solver
  • cross-media creators collaborate with others to develop synergies between formats to increase the success of each format; videos referencing the book increase book sales, book references to the videos increase video views (and ad revenue), and a brand’s overall popularity enables it’s owners to explore new opportunities such as events
  • fans rate and review books ten times more on GoodReads than on Amazon
  • self-publishing is the wave of the future, but some self-publishing authors will become publishing service providers after they become good at self-publishing and decide to extend their services to help other authors; some authors like to do all the stuff required to publish a book while others just like to write
  • media trends seem to follow cycles where innovative artists operate independently for a while but then consolidate on the few platforms that are aggregating the most attention; driving traffic is difficult and expensive–especially the first million
  • focus on your vision rather than copying others; it is much more fun to be the leader

What problems are you trying to solve through your writing?