9.27.2005

My final post on the Bookner concept

I had to laugh when Mr. Bookner-dude said his market was "early adopters" and open minded agents and publishers. I'm not sure such a thing exists in traditional publishing. Traditional publishing was one of the very last industries to go electronic...and even today many agents don't take e-queries (ME for one).

Where you see early adapters in publishing is in self publishing and subsidy publishing. Those folks are always the leaders in adapting new technology and figuring out ways to make a buck. I love to read their discussion boards and see what they're talking about. They are frequently years ahead of all the rest of us.

One guy who is a VERY smart man, and did in fact change how traditional publishing operates is Michael Cader over at Publishers Marketplace. Michael Cader revolutionized this industry by making information about deals readily available, searchable, and archiving it.

He started out with an email service called Publishers Lunch. It would be interesting to see his subscription figures but I bet it grew exponentially in the first years. Now he's able to charge a subscription fee of $20 a month for it. It's probably the best investment in publishing. It actually costs MORE to subscribe to PM than to Publishers Weekly the trade magazine. It's worth every nickel and I'd pay double or triple if I had to (please Michael not this year ok?)

If anyone wants a business model on how to do something different, make money and perform an incredible service, they'd do well to just look at Publishers Marketplace.

But here's the other part of the story: Michael Cader spent quite some time IN the publishing business before he become Mr. Lunch. I don't know how he realized agents needed better deal info (more transparency to use the current buzz word) or how he persuaded agents and publishers to share that info with him, but he did, and in doing do, completely altered the publishing landscape for the better.

People in the industry have enormous respect for Michael Cader plus he's a really nice man. That might be one of the reasons he's successful.

15 comments:

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I think "the really nice man" is the key to his success!

E. Dashwood said...

I think Bookner went the Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney biz model of "let's put on a show." But if you build it, they might not come, unless, of course, you're Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. Assuming no malevolent motivation, he a priori thought this is a good idea. Let's put it up and see if it flys. You'd think a better way to do this would be to know what agents want in terms of services, based on personal experience or serious market research, and go from there.

Based on the limited awareness I have of how agents work, as well as the Snarky comments here, I see agents having no problems in running their own crapometers. Reading queries is like eating your peas. Not necessarily tasty but not good for you if done by somebody else.

Bookner is a solution in search of a problem.

Elektra said...

Bookner is a solution in search of a problem...that is a wonderful phrase. If I give you my E-mail address, may I read a sampling of your writing?

jay said...

Snarky, you said this would be your last post about Bookner, but all you did is yak on and on about Michael Cader. Are you trying to make me jealous? I guess there is no more ammo left in your semi-automatic snarkalite. Saying that people won't adopt us because they are conservative and old-fashioned... Why, that's exactly what I've been saying. Careful, people might think I'm paying you to plug Bookner.

And all you snarklings... After all this brouhaha, after all this time discussing Bookner, the best you folks can come up with is that we are a solution search of a problem?

I could go and tell you how this is precisely the attitude people had when the automobile was invented, but frankly I'm getting a little tired of low-brow debate. I bid you adieu; this is my final comment at Miss Snark's blog. In parting I would wish you all best of luck sending out your queries. And please, every time your tongue gets stuck to your palate with stamp glue, do remember me.

occasional_anonymous said...

Anyone got space in their museum for The Guy Who Doesn't Get It?

Bernita said...

Go away for the weekend and miss a lot.
Don't have much use for someone who mistakes politeness for lack of artillery, and that's assuming the carefully edged insults are not deliberate, of course, and part of a parvenu's strategy.

Miss Snark said...

The Guy Who Doesn't Get It is exactly right!

I was a big fan of the first Guerilla Marketing books. One of the suggested tactics, which I employ to this day, is to use clients' potential objections in your sales pitch. And in fact, to seek out EVERY objection before you begin to close the sale. It's a pretty effective tactic.

I see that Mr Bookner, in addition to not knowing much about publishing and music, hasn't read much about effective sales techniques either.

Random Walk Writer said...

For a guy who wants to push into new territory, Mr. Bookner seems stuck in the dark ages. Has he not seen self-adhesive stamps? I'm sure he still gets paper cuts on his tongue from sealing envelopes, too.

Saundra Mitchell said...

Awww. Everybody who disagrees with him doesn't understand or is backwards. It must suck to be him, surrounded by a world of people who just won't bow down and recognize his genius when it comes to an industry about which he knows nothing. Inconthievable!!

Fish Monkey said...

I think it is quite typical for the engineering types to evaluate the world in terms of 'efficiency.' Is the current process of finding agent/publisher efficient? No. Does it need to be? I'm not sure. But I see why agents/publishers would rather read all queries themselves -- their expertise is their bread; why would they surrender it to a bunch of peer-reviewers? Also, from what I understand any given agent has passed on a 'saleable' MS at one time or another. It's not enough for the book to be saleable; it has to be intensely loved.

Mama Rose said...

There's not much point in posting manuscripts or queries on the web. Agents and editors aren't reading the web for manuscripts. They don't have to. The piles in their offices are already towering. And that's what this guy doesn't get. There's no market for his service except desperate writers and they're not buying manuscripts. Yep, a solution looking for a problem is a very accurate assessment.

Linda

bordermoon said...

His final comment? Promise? I admit I'll miss them -- it's always SO amusing watching someone re-invent the wheel not only with an air of astonished discovery, but with the avowed intention of making the wheel square, rather than round....

Bernita said...

Elements of demagoguery. Interesting example.

Elektra said...

Bookner, the guy whose web site says "At Bookner, we believe in discussion and debate", won't let people comment on his blog any more because they were asking tricksy questions (ex. 'How do you plan on enticing agents to join?). Discussion and debate, yes. So long as it makes them look good

Stacy said...

I know nothing about literary agents because the publishing company I work for commissions 95% of the books that we publish, but I do understand the importance of peer review. The publisher doesn't know everything about everything, so there must be people with intelligence, good sense and taste that you can ask to review manuscripts for you. What I don't quite understand is why Bookner (the Bookner team?) believes that the opinions of a bunch of anonymous people are going to carry enough weight to sway the average publisher.

A book costs a lot of money to publish. A LOT OF MONEY. No intelligent person is going to spend that sort of cash on the say-so of a bunch of guys on the internet.

Or maybe I'm wrong, and this is exactly what publishing needs to finally sort it out for ever and anon.