Thursday, October 28, 2021

Insight into Big Publishing's Business Strategy - And How That Might Affect Our Career Strategies as Creators

Speaking at the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 20, 2021, and reported in Publishers Weekly, Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, said,

"Only a few of the 15,000 titles that we publish every year round the world are going to be modern classics. So that means that failure is part of our business model - it's a portfolio business. And because of that failure... people think that something is wrong with the industry. It's not. It's part of our business model."


Keri Rae-Barnum (left) and Lee Wind (right) answer author and publisher questions on the October 22, 2021 "Free Advice Fridays" show

When I mentioned this to Keri Rae-Barnum, Executive Director of New Shelves Books, about 37 minutes into our Oct 22, 2021 "Free Advice Fridays" chat about publishing, she said that lined up with what she's heard, 

"I've talked to some big publishers and to some pretty well known agents, and they typically tell me, they're looking for about 10% of their books to really earn out and earn up. The other ones, they're gambling on. They're hoping it will be big, but they need about 10% to really make it big, to make the profit margin continue to work...  and that's crazy. I mean, it's crazy that even when you get to a big publisher, they're only looking for about 10% to really be successful."

Which circles back to the idea as an author, an illustrator, a translator, 

If you're thinking that the average is one out of ten is going to be really really successful, you've got to publish the first ten to get to that one.

Keri agreed, saying, "Multiple books is where you get the leverage at."

Definitely motivation to publish that next book!

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

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