Video: Bookigee Founder Kristen McLean on the Future of Publishing

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By Rich Fahle, Founder, Astral Road Media | @richfahle

In this exclusive interview, Kristen McLean, founder and chief executive officer of Bookigee, discusses her attempts to write a book on book publishing, the future of the industry and her warning to authors. Bookigee is a Miami-based book-start-up that aims to provide a book-recommendation engine to consumers and data and insights to the book industry.  The company’s first product, a do-it-yourself book-marketing app called WriterCube, is slated to launch in January 2012.

From the interview:

In 2008, I got a contract to write a book about the publishing industry – about the chain of decision-making in publishing. My sense at that time was that most people in the publishing chain, even people embedded in large publishers, do not understand the number of people whose decisions need to line up for a book to successfully get from an author’s desk to a consumer’s hands. There are many, many pieces. The passion for the book has to go down through so many layers….

…I took about six months and I did all of this really deep research – I took a book’s cover-cost apart and figured out where every penny of that goes across the whole chain. [I] interviewed a lot of authors and got to the point where I was going to start to write the book. I got three chapters in and I realized I didn’t think I could write the book….

…I really felt like our model was on the cusp of a huge change. What I really wanted to say to authors was, “run away, it’s gonna blow!” I just didn’t see how it was going to be sustainable with this profit model. That was a problem.

I missed my first deadline and I went back to the editor and said, “I want to change the thesis of this book. I want to write a bout the future of the model, paradigm shifts.”

And they said, “that’s great, but that’s not the book that we want.”

So, my very fantastic agent broke the contract and said, “just write the book that you want to write.”

A joint production of Digital Book World and Astral Road Media: http://www.astralroad.com/. Founded by Rich Fahle, Astral Road Media is a full-service digital media agency, providing content strategy, design, video production, and other creative forms of social outreach for authors and content creators of all types.

Rich Fahle

About Rich Fahle

Rich Fahle is Founder & CEO of Astral Road Media, an innovative marketing services agency for authors, artists, and other content creators. He is also the founder of Bibliostar.TV, a new video portal for authors and books. At Astral Road, he oversees the implementation of author marketing strategies that fully capitalize on the emerging digital marketplace, including platform and content strategy development, streaming video and audio production, website development, and digital publishing guidance. Prior to Astral Road, Fahle was Vice President, Digital Content, E-Commerce and Entertainment for Borders, Chief Spokesman and Media Relations Manager for the cable TV network, C-SPAN and a manager at Kramerbooks, in Washington, DC.

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3 thoughts on “Video: Bookigee Founder Kristen McLean on the Future of Publishing

  1. This is so interesting for me because I’m one of a large wave of published writers who are bringing out their own ebooks (from years past, when publishers didn’t care to keep the digital rights). Still trying to make sense of it all. But I do get it, that bookstores (and the whole traditional structure of the industry) will probably always play a role, but less so over time. As a reader, I buy a lot of books, mostly from online booksellers and even directly from authors’s websites, and increasingly, for the iPad. It’s just so easy– shopping from an armchair. I couldn’t agree more that, “it’s really profound what’s happening.”

  2. I realized authors and thus the book industry would be in trouble when I’d been offered a book deal that would barely pay for the legals for negotiating the contracts with my agent and possible publisher. The decidedly one-sided new author boilerplates for these so-called agreements had been hammered down the throats of so many authors I knew. I decided to not be one of them. Traditional publishing stopped ‘representing’ authors long ago. They are 99.5% in it for themselves, and the majority of authors they sign are just along for the wild, possibly remaindered ride. I made a very conscious decision to wait until ebook sales would take off. With 50% of students expected to read all their course books via ereaders or tablets by Sept 2014, I know I’ve made the right decision. Amazon’s already noting that 20% of sales are from ebooks. The tide has definitely turned. IBPA is a great resource, in addition to DBW. The improvement in quality and distribution for POD self publishing and ebook distribution has made self publishing not only realistic but respectable. I’m now within a few months of releasing my first title, and the fact I don’t have to hand over 87.5% of anything, other than my direct costs, suits me just fine.

  3. Thanks for sharing your insights and optimism Kristen. I’m with you all the way. I’m an author published in the traditional model but with a new transmedia Young Adult book coming in January I’m launching into digital and embracing non-linear storytelling. See Kiss Kill (www.reallybluebooks.com)

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