“Attendance at BookExpo America last week, including BlogWorld, was 23,067. Excluding BlogWorld, whose participants were not included in last year’s attendance figures, attendance was 21,664, down just 255, or 1.2%, from 21,919 in 2010. BEA emphasized that this year’s slightly lower number reflected higher standards: the show “strategically vetted more attendee groups to improve the quality of those participating in BEA.” One resulting major change: there were 500 fewer attendee authors this year, authors distinct from those appearing for signings, panels and other events.”

This news from the largest trade show in the publishing industry reflects a growing trend. Those who provide the stories, the content, the original ideas, i.e. the product, are perceived to be largely irrelevant to the real business of books. In an era when publishers expect authors to not only write but market and sell their books, this is a foolish trend. It may help explain why more successful authors are jumping ship and diving into the deep waters of self-publishing.

Peddling your prose to publishers today leaves authors feeling like rag pickers and beggars. At the same time publishers want authors to behave like business entrepeneurs, they treat them as though they are the hired help who are only allowed in through the servants entrance. Big mistake.

In this new era, the packaging and platform of ideas grows less relevant that the product. And only authors provide the product: content.

If you have an idea for a book and find yourself treated like a peddlar by publishers, let Swenson Book Development LLC help.

One thought on “Publishers “higher standards” excludes authors at BEA

  1. The BEA’s exclusion of authors reminds me of an article Alexis Madrigal of The Atlantic wrote on Bob Lutz and his explanation of GM’s inability to transform into a company (and succeed) like Apple: it doesn’t focus on the quality of the product. It is the product that consumers are investing in, not the automaker’s (or publisher’s) ability to sell many copies and do so cheaply. Value and price do intersect; writers and publishers need to get there together. Another similar notion is from a chapter in Andrew Kessler’s Martian Summer, in which he explains NASA’s FCB plan – Faster, Cheaper, Better – and how it lead to the failure of earlier Mars missions.

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