Outsights on Publishing

Caleb Mason is the founder and publisher of Publerati, a literary fiction publisher employing a unique socially-responsible business model aimed at helping spread literacy via Worldreader. Caleb also writes fiction under the pen name Don Trowden (as in downtrodden), author site here. Earlier in his career, after working in bookstores, and at Little, Brown, and then co-founding Salem House Publishers (sold to News Corp), Caleb left publishing for several industries disrupted by change. These include the now-defunct 35m film and photo industry; the mostly defunct packaged goods CD-ROM software industry, and the ever-changing GPS industry. Having experienced many shifts, Mason has formed a unique perspective on the digital changes ongoing in the book industry. He shares that perspective in his blog "Outsights on Publishing."

One would think well-educated, literate people, such as those who are attracted to and working in book publishing, would be able to write a rejection letter without using the dreaded “alas” word. But it’s always there, in letters written by veterans and rookies alike. I’d like to suggest we break the pattern and either use…

Let me preface this by saying I run a literary fiction micro-publisher operating much in the mold of how full-service traditional publishing has for years, although because my overheads are so low, I pay my authors 50% of print and 70% of ebook royalties, something I realize large publishers cannot do. As self-publishing continues evolving,…

An algorithm recently bought me a Father’s Day present I didn’t need or ask for, using my own money. You see, my wife was buying sheets from Amazon when they presented her with the book The Arm by Jeff Passan (HarperCollins) as a Father’s Day suggestion. $27.95 later my charge card was hit with the…

The news from American malls just keeps getting worse, with long-time anchor stores Macy’s, JCPenney, and Sears reporting ongoing closings and bad results. Yet, we heard a leak earlier this year from General Growth Properties, one of the largest mall operators, that Amazon might be opening 400 mall stores. They quickly retracted this leak, but…

How do you know if what you’ve created is worthwhile? In my experience, it has to pass the “good enough to steal test.” Business owners, authors, artists, and musicians don’t like to hear this, but it’s true. The fact is the majority of goods and services produced do not actually meet this benchmark of success.…

Now is better than later because later might never come. Among the many tragic losses related to the above wisdom, one of the most trivial revolves around the topic of shopping behavior. (Apologies to the Maharishi inside us all.) And this matters a great deal in the world of books, where we know from our…

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