Brett Trout’s Cyber Law (ISBN 978-1-934209-71-4) is an excellent book by a very talented writer. Cyber Law is a great success story for World Audience Publishers, and after reading just a few chapters, anyone can see why!
World Audience’s goal is to be a driving force in the changing business of book publishing, which is being brought about by technology. Cyber law is specifically concerned with how the law shapes and tries to keep pace with the Internet. Cyber Law approaches its subject in a clear and enjoyable way. So it is a perfect fit for our press, and the success of Cyber Law bodes well for the vision and goals of this press. It is helpful to study how the author approaches his subject matter and then apply that knowledge to the vision quest for this press. It’s vital for authors published by World Audience to have a good understanding of blogging, for example to market their books, and Cyber Law explains this topic and many others in great detail.
Cyber Law was published in September 2007, shortly after our press began publishing books. It’s a wonderful example of how desktop publishing, print-on-demand distribution, and our press work. Although we have improved our operations in the last 2 years, our core model has hardly changed. We are efficient and our business model has low overhead. A geographically separated editorial team worked online to publish Cyber Law. The author, in Iowa, worked with the book’s publisher, Kyle Torke, who lives in Colorado. The final file was then sent to me, the publisher, in New York, and I formatted it into a book using only Microsoft Word. I then sent the file to our artist in Liverpool, England, Chris Taylor, to design the cover with the help of the cover image provided by another artist. I then created the final files by converting the MS Word files to PDF using a web application that cost approximately $13. I set up the title (with information viewable on Amazon.com or related retailers) on our printer, Lightning Source, and then uploaded 4 PDF files: front, back, spine, and inside. It took me about 1 hour to do the technical component of providing the files to the printer.
Cyber Law is one of our best-selling titles, with sales steadily increasing each month. As a publisher, I consider Cyber Law sales growth to be an indicator of how well a book’s sales can develop and the growth of our press, in general.
I am faced with a seemingly unanswered question with every book I publish: what makes a great book? And what defines a great book in the first place? Perhaps the fact that I ask this question every time drives the press that I direct in the first place. To further complicate, the answer(s) to this question are changing because the post itself is changing. This fact has a dramatic impact on certain players in the industry, even as many of them choose to ignore or avoid the reality that not only is the publication changing, but the answer to my earlier question is also changing. In other words, the values of an older generation are not my values as a “21st century publisher” operating primarily online, nor is what makes a book great the same.
For example, Cyber Law received rave reviews such as: “This book is a quick read and serves as an introduction to the basics of Internet marketing. The details of Cyber Law provide valuable clues.” ..” –Martha L. Cecil-Few, Colorado Attorney. And Cyber Law was reviewed by a leading technology expert and is available from the New York Public Library. To me, that (and there are more excellent Cyber Law reviews) is a solid set of reviews that gives great credit not only to this book but also to my press. And so it is with each of our titles, although some of our titles have more reviews than others. But, to an older person who is not used to the Internet or technology and who grew up reading the New York Times Book Review, the above reviews (or the effect of their marketing) mean nothing, simply because Cyber Law was not reviewed by the New York Times Book Review or perhaps a handful of other esoteric scholarly sources (many of which are dying or dead, like the Los Angeles Times book review section). Therefore, this potential market share of customers will not buy a book that has not been blessed by its sources, such as Cyber Law (even being in the New York Public Library is not enough). This lack of “official sanction” in the publishing world has other consequences, such as making it difficult for the media to pay attention in general, among other things. And there are plenty of other examples of how past publishing is colliding with the present, even for very small things, like older independent bookstores opening a print-on-demand book on the back cover, notice the placement of a barcode, and they refuse to look any further into the book based on that fact alone. All of these biases (and there are many more) of the “old guard” amount to shutting out literally millions of online writers and their books, and excluding an entire generation, if not two, from access to the publishing business. and successfully market books profitably. It is a form of class struggle and economic prejudice. Even racial discrimination or nationalism can be applied to this “old guard” of publishing, which would at least be adamantly opposed (mainly politically) to free trade, which drives the World Audience business model. Old school publishing thrives on unions, for example, which are useless online.
What makes a book great, therefore, is different for me, as an editor, and not for my politics (this fact also marks a division). What makes a book great is when it gets good reviews and can survive and thrive on the Web. If a title can do that with limited help from its publisher, like Cyber Law, then even better because that means more sales are likely once more resources are put into marketing it. But if the oldest venues for judging a book’s merit or “worth” are gone or quickly become obsolete, how do you determine the other half to make a book great? The value of a book must now be defined by the author as well as the reviewer. But the critic’s role is diminished on the Web; It’s nothing like Mr. Wood’s past role. In the recent past, an author had little to do with the success of a book, and was even something of an afterthought. Yet going back to another generation, perhaps the 1920s, the author was a vital part of the success of his book. How ironic that technology has returned the author to a prominent role. In the pre-Depression era (the Depression is when the publishing business model that survives to this day was formed), the author was a major media figure and the image of him was critical to the success of the book. of the. Furthermore, an author’s publisher played a much larger role before the Depression (like Max Perkins) than in the recent past, when publishers were virtually non-entities. However, if you look at the beginning of my article, note the main players: author, editor and publisher, and book. Due to the streamlined nature of our operations and the multitude of technologies at our fingertips, we don’t need anyone else. We do not require a large union of intermediaries.
Publishing is changing, and the rate of change is only accelerating. It amazes me that there are still those, for example, who are 50+ who are tech-averse, and that includes much of the publishing industry. This group, this market share, influences a large part of the publishing pie, even today. However, as the internet and technology continue to evolve and become more sophisticated, “new publishing” is open to more market share, and this older demographic becomes irrelevant. For example, YouTube only fully matured a year or two ago and has opened up a lot of new opportunities for advertising and marketing books. The Web is simply too vast for older publishing business models, which are unable to adapt, to survive. Therefore, new business models that are based on technology, e.g. e-books, will take and replace the market share of old school presses. Why wouldn’t they eliminate a smaller competitor? The new publications will not complement the old model; it will eradicate it and take all its market share. And readers used to getting their books through older distribution models will adapt to the Web or live without books. And meanwhile, a new generation of publishers is redefining what it means for a great book, regardless of what it meant in the past. Cyber Law is helping to define that, too, both through its very well-written topic and the course of success it’s charting on the Web.