Two publishing business models

Last January Time and Regret was taken on by Lake Union Publishing – a division of Amazon. My experience with the organization has been highly professional, responsive, and very streamlined. In concert with Amazon’s incredible data base of customer information and preference algorithms, and its skilled marketing team, almost 10,000 copies of Time and Regret have been sold in three months.

I’m not saying this to brag – in fact, I’m shaking my head in wonder. But it does make me think of business models. I know, I know … not another one of Mary’s posts about the ins and outs of publishing but hear me out.

The other day, I drew this quick sketch in a notebook …

publishing-leverage-modelIn the consulting world, where I spent almost twenty years, we often talked about leverage when discussing different practice groups and their associated profitability. The theory was that consulting practices lead by a partner (and yes, I was one of those) could have differ dynamics. A practice doing large scale projects involving lots of people for many months full time might have 50 consultants for one partner (the green triangle). While another practice doing, let’s say, high-value strategy assignments that require senior people for shorter time periods might have 10 consultants for one partner (the blue triangle).

And what does this have to do with publishing?

What if Lake Union and the other publishing imprints associated with Amazon can organize their processes and work flows in such a way that they can take on more authors per team than a traditional publishing house? Even if they price lower than the traditional publisher-retailer combo does, with more authors per team (in other words, higher leverage), they can be equally, if not more, profitable than the traditional model.

Just asking the question 🙂

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION (and occasional discussions of the publishing world) follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union on August 16, 2016. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website



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11 Responses

  1. Mary, this is great news. You have the right to brag, dear author! Also the info on marketing is always appreciated, especially coming from someone in the know.

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