Fixing the Book Business


Did you ever listen to something, and then get that awful feeling that something wasn’t right…but you just couldn’t put your finger on it?

Last week I was listening to the Pivot podcast with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway. It’s one of my go-to podcasts to keep up to date with the latest tech news.

Kara was talking about her Burn Book book tour. As she was discussing the tour, she talked about how the book was climbing up the Amazon charts and how excited she was about it.

I’ve listened to at least three episodes of Pivot and not once has Kara said where her fans could get the book.

So I go online and search.

I can buy the book from her publisher, Simon and Schuster, or I can go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM or Bookshelf.

I can’t find anywhere I can purchase the book directly from Kara. I’d like to buy from her. I’d like Kara to get my information instead of any of these third parties. I’d like Kara to get more money than just 10 to 15 percent of the sale. I want to support the writer, the creator…the Amazons of the world don’t need any more money or data, right?

Now, I understand this is not how traditional publishers work. Kara got a phat bonus from S&S and, because of that, they probably won’t let Kara sell directly.

This feels wrong.

And all us creators fall into this trap, right? We want the traditional publishing deal. Or, if we don’t get it, we publish directly with Amazon and try to game our marketing so we can hit #1 on some category and say we are best sellers. I’ve done it too.

This is wrong.

I’m not saying that you can’t distribute though Amazon, B&N or anywhere else. I’m saying that we should be sending our fans, followers, and subscribers to OUR site, where we can collect the data, and then print and ship directly to them. Use Amazon for discovery if people don’t know you (although I’m not sure how well that works anymore), but don’t send YOUR connections to Amazon to reap all the rewards. Why are we all helping Jeff Bezos so much?

But I digress…

Long story short, that is why I decided to work with Lulu and create Tilt Publishing (launching April 8th). We are working with content creators to help them sell their books directly to fans and take back the data and the revenue.

I’m scared that most people automatically just think Amazon when publishing anything. It’s going to take a lot of effort to rewire authors and creators to think that the technology exists today where they don’t have to lay down to Amazon.

(me stepping off pulpit)

Michael Saylor Interview re: Bitcoin

As some of you know, I purchased my first Bitcoin in 2016. I believe in Bitcoin as a store of value based on math where the rules will never change (unlike countries that change their monetary policy on a whim).

The problem is, I don’t think I’m great at selling the value to people I know. Well, this video might help. Michael Saylor, founder of Microstrategy, gave a nice five-minute interview on CNBC about the benefits of Bitcoin (even now that it’s over $70,000 a coin).

If you are struggling to understand all the fuss, I’m hoping this will help.

For disclosure, my wife and I own Bitcoin and Microstrategy stock.

Do your own research.

Thoughts from Da’Vine’s Oscar Speech

I’ve watched this speech from Oscar-winner Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s speech a few times. I have thoughts.

But before I get into that, The Holdovers was my favorite movie of the year. I highly recommend it.

She says two things that impacted me:

First, she had a lot of help to get to where she is. Every successful person has.

I know a few people that say, “I can’t take that introduction because I want to do this by myself,” or “I can’t listen to this person because I have to do it my way.”

I can tell you first-hand that I’m where I am today because:

1. I received help from so many people. I took every bit of help I could. I received my first job because someone recommended a temp agency. I received my first content marketing job because my wife’s stepfather knew of an open role in his company and thought I might be a fit. Great businesspeople say yes to these kinds of things.

2. I listen to everyone. I listen to people who have experience and have no experience. I want to know their perspectives and why they think that way. I’m shaped by all my conversations and have found diamonds in the strangest of conversations.

Second, Da’Vine says “for so long I’ve always wanted to be different. And now I realize I just need to be myself.”

Being different used to be a bug. Now it’s a feature. Maybe the most important feature.

Especially as a content creator/content entrepreneur, we can grow audience and build the business faster by leaning into what makes us different. Being the same as everyone else is a recipe for obscurity.

Congratulations Da’Vine. Amazing job with that role.

Quick Hits

Scroll to Top
Don't be a content creator. Be THE content entrepreneur. Get Joe's latest book, "The Content Entrepreneur," today!
This is default text for notification bar