Been An Interesting Journey…
I came into traditional publishing as a young writer almost 50 years ago. 49 to be exact. And that traditional publishing that was in place at the time was the system I learned very, very well, until the system itself became so corrupted I could not longer stomach working in it.
Thankfully, indie publishing started up just about the time I was headed to do something else, and I fell in love with the freedom of being able to write what I wanted and publish it when I wanted and just let readers decide instead of gatekeepers.
Problem is that it has taken me years to get past some of those decades of traditional publishing training. In traditional publishing, readers were never talked about. The focus was on the trade channel and bookstores.
So I jumped into indie and my focus was on bookstores. Understandable and correct in the early days of indie.
But then as the years went by, my focus should have gone more toward reader focus, but it did not. And if we promoted something, we told the readers which bookstores they could buy it in.
We still will do this. Just not with the intensity and focus.
About six or seven years ago I listened as some really smart people were telling me the future was in direct sales to readers.
I was still in traditional publishing mind-set and my first thought when they said that was selling at conventions or touring bookstores. As a person who worked in traditional publishing behind the scenes, I knew how really silly and mostly worthless and time-consuming that was. Plus when we owned Pulphouse Publishing, we did tables at conventions and when we shut that down, I swore I would never stand behind another convention table. Ever.
But that was not what these smart people were trying to tell me. They were talking about each author having their own store or stores. They were telling me that was the future. They were right and I was missing it.
Now interestingly enough, at that point WMG Publishing owned four brick-and-mortar stores, one of which was a bookstore. Go figure.
I didn’t see exactly what the really smart people meant, but they sounded right to my gut, so we sort of tried a store with WooCommerce. We did not give it the focus it needed and it sucked so bad I never got around to even linking to it.
But I kept listening to the talk about direct sales and slowly what the really smart people were saying started to sink in as I pushed more and more of the toxic way traditional publishers think out of my mind and really turned to indie publishing and a focus on the readers.
So about a year ago, Kris and I finally got one last shove from a couple more really smart people we trusted and at the first of the year we fired up a Shopify Store at WMGBooks.com. We made mistakes, but are fighting it through. And the problem with having over 1,200 titles, everything takes time.
And then last month we started a Pulphouse Fiction Magazine Shopify store and have plans for more side stores off our main store. (And we are still building our main store.)
And I am loving it. As the next years go by, more and more of what we do will go direct to readers. Of course we will still use the international distribution systems, but I am loving this new world even more.
Now I am actively trying to clear out the toxic waste in my mind left there by traditional publishing and move fully to indie publishing and the focus on readers. It’s been an interesting journey so far, but I have enjoyed the trip and I love where I have gotten to so far.