Gatekeepers

Thanks for the Submission

“Thank you for the submission, but this is not what we are looking for at this time.” These are the words that have kept me awake at night. Many authors have experienced similar rejection letters or the deafening silence from not receiving a letter from a publisher. It’s hard to get the New York publishers to listen.

First, write the book. Then shop it around to writer’s groups, friends, and family to make sure it is as mistake free as possible. Next, an author must research agents who represent the publishers. Different agents and agencies have different relationships with different publishers and some only accept submissions in certain genres or with certain content. Once the research is done then a unique query letter must be written to that agent. Most queries never make it past the intern’s desk at a firm. If the intern liked it then the agent may read it. If the agent likes it then they may represent you and submit your work to one or more publishers. That publisher has people who vett the book and decide to publish it.

This process can take months or years. And for what? To have a book in print or on the end cap of a Barnes and Noble or have enough notoriety to hit the New York Times, while getting a measly advance (for new authors) and 5 to 15% royalties paid twice a year? The Internet revolution is here, my friends, and the gatekeepers’ days are numbered.

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A Network of Distribution

The time of the gatekeepers is at an end. No longer does an author have to query agents to get a book published. They can go directly to Amazon and sell their ebooks. Companies like Lulu or Createspace offer print-on-demand services to get their books in print. A whole network of distributors and wholesalers can get books into book stores and distribution to other countries. Freelance websites like Fiverr or 99Designs offer talented designers to get book covers made and books editors are everywhere. As for the New York Times, a strong social media presence can call readers to action to buy a book within the first week of its publication. You no longer need New York.

Gatekeepers are falling in more industries than just publishing. If you have an idea for an app, you don’t need to pitch a proof of concept and sell the idea to a developer. You can download a development toolkit, often for free, write the app yourself, and publish on the major app stores. Do you have a dog food line but can’t get into PetSmart? Build a social media audience around content involving animals and pet ownership and sell directly to them. Post your products on Amazon, social media, and your website. You can factor in shipping or pay for it yourself.

Ecommerce is growing and is only going to get bigger. In 2000, ecommerce accounted for less than 1% of all retail sales, and in 2016, it made up just over 8% according to FRED. That is a nearly 800% growth in 16-years. Looking at the curve, the trend is going to grow exponentially.

Now is the time to forget about seeing your product on the end caps of store shelves or book distribution to the UK. You can do all of those things without the traditional gatekeepers who stood in our parents’ way. Seize the opportunity to build a following, interact with your fans, create relationships, and sell directly or through new networks provided by the internet. The world is yours. The fundamentals of business will always be the same, but the mechanism will change. Be the new change.

 

The question of the day: What industry would you like to see the gatekeepers fall in next? Please comment below or Tweet us on Twitter or post on Facebook.

Until tomorrow.

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