Publishing and the Importance of Communication
Recently I found myself looking back at an interview I did with IBPA magazine sometime last year. Several publishing specialists were approached because of their specific views on direct-to-consumer sales, and how to better communicate with clients.
Back then I was attempting to develop an online book community for one of my past employers. They were very business focused, and had a large international presence, however, there always seemed to be a separation between the readers. In-person meetings were rare due to the number of countries involved, and discussion of the titles was often focused on a specific regions or translations. I saw that being able to at least speak with someone, and a feeling of belonging, would help bridge the gap between new readers and the old guard. Through open communication we (the Publisher) could gauge the needs of the readers... whether it be a high demand for an audio book, the ability to purchase a box set for friends, or just the ability to get their orders through customs! There was a critical need for communication, and often the assurance that there was a dedicated team willing to help them be a part of the group.
I ended up parting ways with the company soon after this article was published to create my own - and this focus on communications has directly contributed to a major portion of the Polyverse Publications methodology, and my concept of a concierge publisher.*
As we (independent publishers, bookstores, and readers) continue to face giant organizations such as Amazon, there is a rising tide of those who still like to go directly to the bookstore - to talk to the person who put the book on the shelf and ask them why chose it. Reviews are fine, but the act of direct communication is key. And it is key in the Publisher/ Author dynamic as well.
Even if we can't physically talk because of distance or travel restrictions, it is as important as ever that we never lose the humanity hidden between every page of the book world. And the ability to discuss what we read and write about.
If you are interested you can find the full article here: https://articles.ibpa-online.org/article/selling-direct-exploring-direct-to-consumer-dtc-sales/
*I define a concierge publisher as someone who is an expert in multiple fields, but more importantly someone who will guide you through the publishing and creation process - to the extent of sitting down with paper, tape, pencils, and scissors - so we can start to visualize a book even in its early stages.