Digital Publishing Possible in The Current Year?

"If you're successful in the book business, you're not a literary artist, not a writer, not an author. You're a businessman in the publishing business who writes to meet market demand." - Fair Use

It's the end of 2021. In the past 18 months, the rampage of rolling lockdowns has killed off whole industries and market niches, impoverished the self-employed and small businesses. Everyone has been affected. 

Consequently, internet-enabled remote working has opened up. In an age of widespread censorship, some new authors are looking to break into digital publishing as a way of smashing down the censorship wall, just as writers have always done.

Fiction is the traditional way to jailbreak masses from their mind prison. A method used for thousands of years. 

I recent history, activist fiction authors like George Orwell, Aldus Huxley, Ray Bradbury used fiction stories to protest hypocrisy, democracy, and the surveillance state, the standard-issue features of communist rule.

Dozens of fiction writers have become six-figure authors, many by playing the game. Communists pushing their politically correct agenda of "tolerance" and "inclusion", which is code for eliminating representation and respect and reverence for authority, tradition, family values, and cis, white, heterosexual Christian men.

In the 1960s, communist propaganda Star Trek was considered ground-breaking for including a black woman on the bridge. Today, it would be considered racist for putting a "white guy" in the Captain's chair.

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In the 1950s, a movie without black people, without communists or sex perverts and their preferences fighting and defeating evil alien invaders with firearms was considered one heck of an afternoon.

But movies like this were gone by the 1980s.

Audiences still prefer reading about white hetero male captains like Russel Crowe's character in Master and Commander or James T. Kirk in Star Trek or Han Solo in Star Wars or Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. You'd almost think Mel Gibson was running Hollywood with all the white male stars featured in films.

These aren't movies about trans men who were assigned a female gender at birth, either. Not a single lispy voice among them. Traditional masculine heroes make big money.

Judging by ticket sales, even black, Latino, Japanese, and female audiences prefer white male captains and always have. Anime characters are frequently rendered with western eyes.

I didn't need to do any market research to know that. I just had to think back on all the stars of the blockbuster movies Hollywood has reluctantly cranked out since the 1980s and how fast the black and female-led TV shows and movies have bombed. 

The ideologically-driven Bat Woman TV show went from lesbian icon to some black female nobody and got canceled. What's on the air now? At this moment, a white woman making Christmas sugar cookies on the Today Show.

Advantages of Writing Short Fiction

Why write short fiction? 

It's faster and cheaper to write, edit, and publish short fiction, especially digitally. This gives you a quicker victory and helps you build a brand much faster.

Anyone can find time to crank out a first draft in a week or two in your spare time. You can get feedback from your audience more quickly. Sometimes you'll find a hit that sells even better as a paperbacks. 

Makes it much easier to publish a series of books, giving you a quicker backlog.

If you've got a great sell-through rate on your series, you can afford to spend quite a bit more time, energy and money on advertising and marketing than authors who only have one book to sell.

As activist-made Santa, Inc. shows, a communist can get across a very long checklist of social items, but in the end, you can only get one big message across per story.

You can see the same thing happening in each episode of South Park, if you'd prefer. In 22 short minutes of screen time, there is a main plot, a sub-plot or two, all woven together to serve the same theme. Then the loose ends are tied up and we all learn a valuable lesson about life.

Futurist Philip K. Dick influenced the entertainment industry with his short fiction. Not because they were tremendously well-written (which they weren't), but because the concepts were so popular. His stories became so successful they couldn't be ignored.

Movies he inspired include Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Paycheck, the Adjustment Bureau and more.

But isn't digital publishing dead? Didn't Alexa Donne say young adult was saturated and killed off by those COVID lockdowns? That 2020 had accelerated a decline we'd already seen? That the YA niche couldn't sustain hundreds of new authors per year?

Well, sure. Yes. Sorta. The markets are shifting all the time. That's why you learn to write quickly. As in 5,000 words per hour. Some of the best books were written quickly. Rumor has it Ender's Game was written in 2 weeks. 

But there's more to life than teen and young adult fiction. There's science fiction, fantasy, family, adult, and children's fiction. It's for kids. Like Disney and Pixar.

Think Shrek or Cars, Aesop's Fables, Grimm's Fairy Tales, Warner Brothers Cartoons or the Muppet Show which are entertaining for little kids, but something the whole family can enjoy. There are lots of hungry markets like this today.

At any point in history or business, you don't want the saturated market. You want the starving crowd.

A losing strategy is to be the "Literary artist" who chases the market by publishing the next Harry Potter. No. That's what everyone else is doing. We've had 20 years of little wizards since that Rowling found a way to dominate a profitable genre fiction niche.

To do what she did, you don't need to write about little wizards like she did. You need to dominate a profitable genre fiction niche like she did.

If young adult fiction is saturated this month, then it's the wrong month to write young adult fiction. Go find a starving niche and learn how to exploit it like a pro.

If you're successful in the book business, you're not a literary artist, not a writer, not an author. You're a businessman in the publishing business who writes to meet market demand.

This takes serious market research, testing, reading genre fiction in this niche to find the crowd-pleasing tropes to see why they work, learning how to put your own spin on them, learning to publish your work in hot markets, and preparing a writing system so you can ramp up to publish a series of books written to market. 

You're writing to market.

Some authors write what they want to write, but can't sell it. Others enjoy writing something more marketable and make a killing. 

If it doesn't sell, it won't find an audience. If it sells well and converts well, it can reach a much larger audience. Even larger than something given away for free. 

Quality counts. But the only quality that counts is the kind the market will pay for. That means making book covers, titles, pseudonyms, tropes, and story structures the market will buy. 

Your playground is the giant realm of stuff buyers don't care about. Is your character named Ted or Jarvo? That choice is yours.

Is the deadly alien threat a race of scary bugs (like Starship Troopers) or attractive women who want to make out with astronauts, like in Species or Life Force? As long they're in hot market niches, they can be magical dragons or giant robots. I don't care. That's up to you.

Is the theme self-sacrificing loyalty of a brother or an eternal romance? The choice is yours, as long as you write something that sells, you're paid to plot by pen to push the masses to the point you're making. 

You can enjoy what you're writing. You can decide which opportunity is the best fit for you. You can write characters you can write well. 

But you can't just write whatever you want and expect it to sell. You can't rip Transformers or Lord of the Rings or Twilight or Hunger Games or Harry Potter if everyone else is doing it.

You only get to be a "rip off artist" in markets that are crowded with fans starving for more cowboy androids or giant slayers. 

Great digital publishing can be the product of your market testing, can help you launch a brand, but it might also launch your paperback series. The print-edition paperbacks may sell five times better than your digital versions.

At which point you might see your digital publishing platform as a way to find a winner worth offering as an audiobook, worth expanding into a trilogy or series, or re-launching as a mass-market print edition. 


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