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Social Digital publishing

Published on August 30th, 2012 | by John I.

Can publishing go social?

Digital publishing has revolutionized the way that authors can share their content and reach out to connect with interested readers and other authors. Every day people are able to share their work with the world like never before. But as with any type of publishing, e-book publishing comes with a number of challenges.

From where I stand, the difficulties boil down into two main categories: 1) e-book creation, and 2) building readership. It seems that, despite its challenges, digital publishing is here to stay. It continues to evolve, and many authors and readers alike are reaping the benefits. What’s the answer? I believe it’s a move toward a social publishing model.

Imagine if everything you needed to be successful in your writing and publishing endeavour was in one place? A social network where, as an author, you could solicit feedback, generate ideas, learn what people really want to read about, and even find support from your readers and other authors with the experience you need. As a reader, a social community would provide a venue to download and discuss books with other readers and the authors themselves. Imagine connecting it to your other social profiles and inviting your real life friends to join in on your discussions or suggest a book that you think they’d love to read.

Here is how a social community could solve the primary challenges with digital publishing:

  • Support – It’s often difficult for a writer to find a reliable community of support and feedback. Unfortunately, that is one of the most important factors that contributes to success. A social publishing platform lets writers connect with other writers and readers, discuss finished works, or gather feedback and ideas along the way.
  • Quality – Authors constantly struggle with the idea of giving up any kind of control of their work. What if you find yourself working with an agent or editor who has a different vision of your book? What if there are some changes you just aren’t willing to make? Digital publishing is fantastic because it lets the writer have the final say. Combine this with a social platform, and the author can solicit public feedback so that they can be sure that the work they’re presenting is the best work possible. They can feel good about presenting their book because they’ve retained their artistic integrity.
  • Formatting – Get ready for the understatement of the year: we’re not all technophiles. Depending on your goals, ebook formatting and design can be tricky. What if there was a tool that you could use (all wrapped up in one with the social community) that would help you format your book for you?
  • Getting paid – After you’d put hundreds of hours into a manuscript, how to you turn that time into profit? This is exactly what authors everywhere are trying to figure out. Whether you’re publishing digitally or through a publishing house, it helps to build a network; connect with readers, reviewers, bloggers, and other authors and continue to develop those relationships.
  • Spreading the word – If no one knows about your book, and there isn’t a publishing house behind you helping to promote it, how will it ever make any money? There are lots of writers finding success through blogging and social media; this success comes at the cost of a great deal of time. Building and nurturing relationships around the web, while rewarding, is time-extensive.

It seems that for most writers breaking into the business, the benefits of digital or self-publishing far outweigh the challenges. Writers retain editorial control of their work; they get to keep the proceeds of the book rather than handing over a large percentage to a publishing house/agent/editor; there are no expensive printing and binding or delivery fees. The list of advantages is long.

There are a number of writing communities and forums (social) and a number of e-book publishing tools and software platforms but until now there has been no convergence of the two. Foboko is a social publishing platform that guides readers through the writing and publishing process, and they have access to feedback and support from the community at every step along the way.

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