Indie Author Magazine: How will the strategy of publishing wide play a part in the future of the industry?
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: How will the strategy of publishing wide play a future in the publishing industry? Well, publishing wide is what the publishing industry has always been about. It’s always been looking forward. It’s always been looking for new ways to get writing and books and reading into the hands of more readers. You went from paparas and scrolls to You went to movable type and Gutenberg by printing books. You moved into larger formats that had better distribution such as mass market, making books more affordable to the masses. And then, of course, with the launch of the Kindle and ebook readers, ebooks became more affordable than ever before and available to the broadest audience globally ever in the history of publishing. So how could wide not play a huge role in the future of this industry.
Indie Author Magazine: Do you anticipate that the definition of wide will ever evolve to mean more? If so, where do you see authors going?
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: The definition of wide to me has always meant way more than the simple debate of kind of unlimited versus the other four or five major retailers. Publishing wide to me has always included numerous opportunities available to writers beyond just the in the author sphere. That includes traditional publishing, but it also includes opportunities for writers that come up via various social and digital media. I’ve already licensed my rights to voice map. Which is an app that is guided walking tour. Story City is another one created by an indie author herself where you can engage in storytelling in exciting new ways based on GPS and geolocation. That’s just the beginning of what the possibility is when you think about what truly wide can mean. It can mean way beyond just thinking about ebooks and just thinking about a single giant book seller online. Wide publishing and wide writing and taking advantage of wide opportunities means reaching for great new things and experimenting and constantly pushing the boundaries the way indie authors always have. So yeah, wide and publishing our going to continue to expand and discover things we can’t even think about today.
Indie Author Magazine: On an individual level, direct publishing can equate to greater control over titles, greater royalties, and a closer relationship with readers. What will the trend of authors publishing direct mean for the industry as a whole?
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: There’s no doubt that selling direct brings authors direct control, direct access more direct things than they’ve ever imagined possible. But I see the growth of direct selling as yet another opportunity. I’m a big fan of Mitch Joel. He’s a Canadian digital marketing guru, you may consider him Canada Seth Godin. Mitch has a book called six pixels of separation. He has a podcast of the same name, a long running podcast that I highly recommend. And something Mitch said years ago that I really do believe is that everything is with. Rather than instead of. So new technologies and new opportunities open up, it doesn’t necessarily remove the other opportunities. It just adds to them. So selling direct is going to add to it. There may be consumers that are never comfortable purchasing directly from authors. There may be readers that are more comfortable getting stuff from libraries. There may be readers that are more comfortable just purchasing on the retailer where they’ve always purchase their books, whether it’s a local independent bookstore that they order books through, whether it’s an online retailer, etcetera, that’s always gonna change and always gonna involve what’s gonna happen as as direct selling becomes more and more popular, it’s gonna open up that opportunity for other authors. What’s also going to likely happen is companies are going to produce tools that are gonna help authors. The way that book funnel allows authors direct sales and the ability to provide content for free via, you know, newsletter subscriptions, etcetera. Companies like book funnel and others out there are going to create tools that will help enable authors whether the author is truly comfortable with the technology or whether the author needs some assistance. So there’s gonna be various levels of tools available for authors. What does that mean to the industry? It means there’s more opportunities for people to build things and grow. More opportunities for readers to comfortable buying direct, which means more authors will have the opportunity to sell direct, but that is not going to destroy the retail platforms. Yes. They’re gonna change and grow and evolve just as shopping in general has changed and grown and evolve in my fifty four years over the years of of local stores and shopping malls, giant box stores and mom and pop operations, etcetera, including the growth of online selling, which is what we’re looking at maybe twenty five years or so of proper online selling. So, yes, direct sales are going to add to the industry. They’re gonna give more opportunities, not just for authors, not just for publishers, but more opportunities for companies in general who are looking to assist those entities with their writing and publishing needs.
Indie Author Magazine: With AI being such a hot-button, divisive topic now, what role(s)—if any—do you think it will play in the indie publishing world in five years’ time?
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: AI like any new technology is widely debated in a hot button topic. Right now, people are up in arms about it. They’re fighting over it. They’re terrified. And and change brings that. That’s understandable that people are afraid. They’re afraid of the Amazon algorithm changing. They’re afraid of AI. They’re afraid of what I’ve built. These things that I’ve built as an indie author can be changed can be taken away. I actually predict that there’s gonna be a lot of scammers just like they’re always our scammers every time a new technology comes out who think that writing is a quick buck. It’s not a quick buck. It’s heart earned, blood, sweat, and tears Yes. Even for indie authors, there’s still a significant amount of work because a hundred authors can do all the right things, do all the perfect things. Produce the best possible content, and yet maybe ten of them are gonna find huge success. While the rest just like in traditional publishing, Mayflower and Midlist realm. It’s always hard work. And so those scammers and crackpots and and those people who ruin it for everyone are gonna come and they’re gonna go. In five years time, we’re gonna normalize the use of AI tools just like we’ve normalized the use of speaking to devices in our home today, just like we’ve normalized the use of GPS when you’re looking for people just like we’ve normalized the adaptation of checking grammar in a word document. It’s going to be part and parcel of the way that we continue to work and grow and write and be inspired We’re gonna be able to leverage these tools in ways we can’t even imagine possible that are going to do a few simple things, which is what technology often does. Horse and buggy, walking, car, airplanes, boats, all of those things that are vehicular transportation. The same sort of parallels will be happening in the writing. Maybe writers who struggle with particular elements of writing are gonna be able to leverage some of these tools to assist them, whether they’re stuck with writer’s block quote unquote, or whether it’s some other aspect of the writing that they’ve always had challenges with. It’s gonna enable writers to produce better quality content and it’s not going to get rid of editors. Writingers still need that human developmental style. They still need feedback from other humans. So AI is gonna continue to assist riders, and some riders are gonna be able to adapt it into their process just like I learned to write by hand, then I learned to write on a manual typewriter, then I learned to use a word processor.
Indie Author Magazine: How important is technology to one’s success as an indie author and to the industry as a whole?
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: How important is technology to an indie author’s success or to the industry as a whole? How isn’t it important? Technology has always been one of those powerful forces in publishing that has continued to move it forward to the next level. Technology has always allowed the growth of readership, the growth of the possibilities for authors and the growth into bold new frontiers. Think about this. Without the ebook, indie authors would not have the lives that they have to this day. And that doesn’t even go back twenty years. Technology is perhaps one of the most critical aspects that’s going to continue to grow the publishing industry. And as indie authors continue to leverage it, much better than many publishers who still haven’t even embraced that last big technological expansion, the ebook. Technology is going to maintain its popularity. Perhaps second only to the value and the importance of authors themselves.
Indie Author Magazine: What does transmedia mean for an author’s business? Will indie authors ever need to be more than just “writers” to survive in the industry?
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: What does Transmedia mean for author success? And will authors have to be more than just writers in order to survive in the business? Well, Let’s be honest, that’s already the case. There was a day not that long ago, not that many decades ago when all the writer had to do was pound out their manuscript on a typewriter, submit it to a publisher, sit back, and do it all again. Well, those days are gone. Even if you’re traditional publishing, you have to take so much more into your own hands for promotion, etcetera. And if you’re an indie author, you are an indie publisher, meaning you’ve taken all the responsibilities of that publisher on top of the writing itself. So, of course, there’s way more already to surviving successfully as a writer. Transmedia is just the opportunity for writers to license their work well beyond the book. The book is yet one aspect. Of the IP that comes from a writer’s imagination. I’ve already licensed books to publishers the same content in a different manner outside of the contract with the publisher to other forms of media and apps. I’ve already leveraged tools like this, and I know I’m gonna continue to and other writers out there are gonna continue to find ways to exploit their IP. It can be, we think of social media, we think of video, we think of audio, There’s games and toys and cards and all kinds of other media that’s related to storytelling. Look at Star Wars. Look at Lego Star Wars, look at the games available, video games, board games, cards, all kinds of things that have transcended the media of just that story of a young man who wishes to be a pilot one day and maybe rescue a princess and go on a hero’s journey, that Luke Skywalker story from the early seventies when that first came out. The how that’s transcended and gone into so many different media, whether it’s costumes, toys, etcetera. There are already authors taking advantage at IP licensing fairs in Las Vegas, for example, looking at ways to exploit that IP. And here’s something that will be interesting. Fredters are used to working with publishers and used to begging publishers. Please, sir. Could you look at my manuscript, please? In the IP world, it’s a little bit different where people are constantly looking for properties to license that already have of following. So if you’re an indie author with a lot of readers, that that can actually be currency for licensing your IP to some of those companies. So Transmedia and being more than just a writer already and have long already been with us, it’s only gonna continue to grow and expand.
Indie Author Magazine: What can authors do now to build community with their readers and within the industry?
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: In terms of building community authors have some amazing tools at their disposal. There’s, of course, various social media platforms that are virtually free since we are the product on those platforms. But there are ways for us to connect. There are ways for our readers to reach out to us. There are ways for us to engage and interact with our readers, which is fantastic. It’s great. One of the most powerful tools Within that realm, of course, is an author newsletter email is still one of the most powerful ways that you can connect with your community that you can reach the people who want to hear from you and find out about your next book. I don’t see email going away anytime soon. It’s been around for a long time. It’s probably going to be around for a longer time. Other social medias will come and go and you may find areas and realms that work better for you when you’re engaging with your community. And the one thing I wanna remind you with is the way that you build community, and the way that you build engagement is interacting and engaging and participating with those people, not trying to sell to them, but providing them content that they find valuable. And if you’re worried about how to provide that content, never forget that you’re a storyteller. That should come naturally to you. Entertaining people, sharing fun stories for them. It’s all just part of that community building And if you do it with that in mind rather than selling in mind, you’ll continue to grow a larger community.
Indie Author Magazine: Why does community matter in the future of indie publishing?
Mark Leslie Lefebvre: Why does community matter in the future of publishing? Community is really what publishing is all about. Think about this. You have a writer who creates content. You have a reader who wants to engage with and consume that content. And you have an entire industry built around connecting the writer and the reader. It’s a magical dance of what publishing always has been at multiple levels from indie publishing, traditional publishing, whatever have you. It’s about that community of those groups coming together. Yes. It’s changing. It’s evolving. It’s complex and multilayered. There’s opportunities for readers and writers to connect, for writers to provide more of what those readers want by engaging with them. So community is, again, one of those critical important aspects that moves the publishing industry and authors forward. Indi authors more than any other entity have the opportunity to engage and build in community that can further that relationship between Raider and Raider. But one of the things I love most about the indie author industry in general is the way that authors are willing to help one another. And that’s another really critical an important part of this community. We’re all out there learning and growing and developing skills And I’m so pleased and so proud that I see thousands of authors willing to share generously. What they know, what they’ve experienced in order to help those other writers. I am so grateful for the writers who took the time to share their experience knowledge and thought with me. And that’s why I love doing the same thing for other writers. And that is gonna continue to help us grow and expand the indie author industry and the publishing industry in general. Because we’ll be continuing to grow and learn and share together. Writingers will benefit from it. Readers will benefit from it, and that’s a beautiful community.