Thought Leadership: Who is thinking outside of the box?

The publishing industry is changing at lightning speed.  As we develop WaveCloud’s voice in the market, I have been searching for the thought leaders who are providing the most helpful insight, analysis and predictions.  To most outward observers, all of the thought leadership and innovation in our industry is being driven by the actions of Amazon.  However, I think there are a few insiders, not bound by legacy thinking or legacy business relationships, driving important ideas into the market.

If you are a self-publishing author, you owe it to yourself to be conversant in what the leaders in this space are saying.  In my opinion, the voices below are providing ideas and opinions that are pushing the publishing industry to acknowledge and embrace the change.  In no particular order, here are the ones I have found to be the most valuable:

1.    Mike Shatzkin’s blog “The Shatzkin Files”, found at http://www.idealog.com/blog/

I haven’t found a better source of insider analysis than the blog posts of Mike Shatzkin.  If you don’t have access to executive-level professionals in the traditional publishing industry, but would like to know what they are wrestling with, Mike’s blog is outstanding.  He understands this industry from multiple angles and I learn something with every single post.

2.    Mike Masnick’s blog “techdirt”, found at http://www.techdirt.com/

Mike Masnick and his team write mostly about the economic implications of the rapid change in the digital content industry.  Many of their posts are about copyright law and some are about the publishing industry.  He is a big proponent of the CwF+RtB=$$$ model of content creation.  If you haven’t read it yet, you positively need to download a copy of his report “The Sky is Rising!

3.    Dean Wesley Smith’s blog, found at http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/

Dean doesn’t have an axe to grind.  He wants traditional publishers to respect Authors and Authors to make considered, informed decisions about their route to market.  One of the things I like best about Dean’s approach is how he urges you to do the math and think about which route to market makes the most sense for you.  He has also published a good book on this topic, Think Like a Publisher.

4.    Kristine Kathryn Rousch’s blog, found at http://kriswrites.com  (but don’t go there yet, read on!)

Kris is Dean’s wife and a successful writer in her own right.  She writes wonderful posts about Agents and Publishers mostly from the Author’s viewpoint.  Recently, she has uncovered what sounds like significant evidence of less-than-ethical practices amongst Publishers and Agents.  As her posts revealed more details, she found that her blog site HAD BEEN HACKED in an effort to silence her.  This is not a conspiracy theory.  I’ve enjoyed all of her posts and added some of her books to my reading list for the summer.  As soon as her blog site is back up, I urge you to start following her.

5.    David Vandagriff, aka “The Passive Guy” blog found at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/

The Passive Guy posts started out concentrating around the area of contracts, specifically publishing contracts.  Now his posts are more wide ranging.  He doesn’t give legal advice in his posts, but often applies a legal sense to what is going on in the industry.

6.    Joe Konrath’s blog, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing, found at http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/

What I love most about Joe’s posts is that he isn’t afraid to talk about the elephant in the room, and it isn’t Amazon.  Joe talks truth to the Traditional Publishing Industry, albeit in what some consider an inflammatory way.  He is very clear and he doesn’t hate the big publishers. He simply finds most of their business practices objectionable.  If you need a strong voice to talk you out of signing with a traditional publisher, Joe has all the juice you’ll need, and then some.  I enjoy all of his posts.

7.    Nate Hoffelder’s blog, “the Digital Reader”, found at http://www.the-digital-reader.com/

Nate’s blog is mostly a great place to catch up on industry news, with frequent commentary on what the implications might be for Authors.  His blog posts are the first set that I read every morning.  It is rare that he doesn’t catch an announcement or event before any of my other news sources.

8.    Ida C. Young-Bondi’s “eBook” page found at http://www.scoop.it/t/ebook

This is another good source for industry news and how-to articles.  Ida seems to capture news and press releases that my other sources miss.  I usually read every article that appears on this industry news aggregator page.

9.    Seth Godin’s blog at http://sethgodin.typepad.com/  AND here: http://www.thedominoproject.com/  (I subscribe to both)

Seth is an out-of-the-box thinker, and reading his posts has certainly helped me get out of the box (a little).  He is a well-regarded thought leader in the publishing space, and you would be wise to know about his latest post.

10.   Joel Friedlander’s blog found at http://www.thebookdesigner.com/

I’ve enjoyed reading Joel’s posts about how to improve my writing craft and understand this industry.  He does a great job of giving advice and how-to guides for self-publishers.  One of my favorites is his article/podcast on editing, found here.

Of course, I also subscribe to newsletters from Digital Book World, MediaBistro:AppNewser, MediaBistro:GalleryCat and a couple of Google Alerts for search terms like “e-book OR ebook”, “WaveCloud” and “Bill Van Orsdel.”  :-)

One of the benefits of self-publishing is the short interval between finishing the first manuscript and publishing your work.  But implied with this quick time to market is the responsibility for Authors to stay up to date on what is going on in the industry.  Wherever offered, I have subscribed to the 10 blogs above.  This brings them right into my inbox each morning for a quick scan.

I recommend that you stay in touch with voices like these.  When you take responsibility for publishing your own work, you need a concise and relevant tool for staying close to the market.  You could do worse than these blogs.

Do you follow any blog’s that have given you good, sustained insight?  If so, please let us know what about them.

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