I talk a lot about what to avoid and about downturns. These are all retracements of a bigger move up. My overall outlook is positive.
Come on. I’m the guy calling this the Golden Age of Content Creation.
Like an author’s growth curve peaking then dropping to a new plateau, the entire economy has these retracements, but the overall market is growing from a bird’s-eye view.
While the Dutch’s downturn was underway, the British Empire was growing, and both were playing in a smaller economy than we have now. Entire industries that we now depend on didn’t exist.
In 1599, a Dutch trader named Jacob van Neck was the first Dutchman to reach the Spice Islands of Maluku. This was the largest source of pepper. Until then, The Dutch and Portuguese were working through Javanese middlemen. Pepper was highly coveted in Europe, so scarce it was used as collateral.
It took him a year to return to the Netherlands, where he made a 400% profit. I’m sure there were a lot of sixteenth-century versions of the high five when Jacob docked.
A few days ago, I ordered a one-pound bag of mixed peppercorns for $1.50 an ounce, and they were delivered to my home the next day.
The currency I paid in, the country I live in, and the technology that made that possible weren’t even imaginable in Jacob’s time.
With the right tools (profit and loss, cash-flow, business plan) and a business system, you’ll be able to find your spice islands.
The point is over the long run, the economy goes up, and things get better. There is just a general momentum as people create more value and more people become better educated.
The hard part is the change…
We get so attached to the status quo we can’t see the benefit of change. The more you profit from the status quo, the more you’ll resist.
The more you’ll rationalize your resistance.
Let’s talk about a few meta trends that will influence the publishing waters.
These are larger forces that will raise the tide for all. I believe that they have the power to change the industry in ways that will make Kindle Unlimited, maybe even Amazon, obsolete.
If you find that hard to fathom, let me just remind you it wasn’t fifty years ago that Sears was a dominant retailer and had been the usurper.
That being said, we’re not here to make sure they can ride the wave but to help you manage your navigation in these waters.
So here are my meta trends…
There are more people than ever. The number of people is a significant driver to the overall economy. Projections vary, but for the time I’ll be around, there looks to be a steady clip of population growth at the same pace as the last decade.
Along with more people, there is a steady improvement in lifespan and health through that lifespan.
Healthier people with more time on the planet means there are more people for you to sell books to.
Following on from the first point of more humans on the planet, education is increasing. Literacy continues to grow, as does the level of education. Education plays an essential part in content sales, besides there being more people to read because there are more literate people. Those with higher education typically have higher disposable income and free time to buy and consume entertainment.
Added Free time
Through education and automation, people will have more and more free time. This provides us with an increased need for entertainment. I imagine a time where most of our surface road transit is automated and how that will free us to consume more content. While the robot car drives me to my next appointment, I’ll get through a chapter in your latest book.
Need for content
All the earlier points show that there will be a higher demand for entertaining content. This will be leveraged by novel ways to deliver content and competitive channels to get more of the content people want.
The indie movement has been influential in defining new subgenres. Many of the most profitable categories didn’t exist ten years ago, and to this day, they don’t have support from traditional publishing houses.
This is a common theme of large content distributors. Rather than picking winners and losers, let the market define trends, then cut deals with those that are the most popular.
Recently a bidding war for content producers on the free publishing site RoyalRoad.com has begun for a top-rated writer. Why waste time trying to predict trends when you can just be an amplifier of what’s already trending? That’s the philosophy of large content channels like Prime Video and audiobook publishers.
These are the meta trends that excite me about the future of the industry. I look at this as a golden age where authors will have new and better ways of creating wealth from the content they create.
I’ll share how the trends will change how authors will go to market in the following email. While these trends may not come to fruition and others will come that none of us predict, the takeaway is that this game will change.
If you’re clinging to the status quo, then these waves may swamp your boat, or if you go with the flow, they can propel you to prosperity.