KDP - Freelance Direct to Kindle
Old Freelance Work System
New Freelance Work System
The difficulty the publishing industry seems to be having with the Amazon Kindle may be similar to the workplace drama that occurs when employees are forced to learn new skills.
I observed a slow learning curve among freelance writers a few years ago when Amazon introduced Kindle Wireless Reading Devices and Kindle Direct Publishing (formerly known as Digital Text Platform). That's the only thing I could attribute it to - the old-employee-being-asked-to-learn-new-skills thing - because Freelancers are smart gals and guys.
I had been observing Amazon's disintermediation and digital substitution activities for some time, and thought I was watching Amazon lead the publishing industry in its efforts to convert paper books and documents to edocument format with their Shorts and Edocs. Now I believe Amazon was merely preparing the publishing world for Kindle release - as everything appears to be interrelated - even their A9 search engine and Search Inside the Book programs.
Rephrased, the relevance of an alternative approach to an information system kinda/sorta disappears when the entire information system - as it was previously known - is eliminated by an online business entity (that would be Amazon) - savvy enough to use efficiencies inherent to the Internet to eradicate competition (I know, I said the same thing twice).
Rephrased, Kindles are replacing physical world bookstores and paper book distributorships while we speak.
Back to the freelance stuff. There are a number of established communication methods that exist within the publishing industry, but there are no formal information-exchange systems within freelance circles. The two usual ways to communicate between writers and editors are the query letter and nonfiction book proposal (there are also contractual agreements for big-buck writing assignments).
For the uninitiated ...
- A query letter is sent from a writer to a consumer magazine editor (for example) to request permission to write an article about a particular topic.
- A nonfiction book proposal is more detailed and includes the basic idea for a book, as well as a proposed table of contents and other material to support the idea - and there are a number of arguable formats for these proposals.
One reason this dated query system continues to exist - is because freelance writers provide publishers with low-office-overhead solutions to assist the publishers with their profit margin - with said management technique qualifying as user-generated content. A magazine publisher, for example, does not need to employ, and provide office space and health insurance for staff writers - if it can attract enough freelancers. It's obviously a win-win situation, as some magazines are written entirely by freelance writers, and some of these writers are able to subsist from the freelance revenue they generate.
The user-generated content angle of the explanation is simply that many freelance writers are not true professional writers, in the sense that they may or may not be credentialed. Their credentials are their writing ability which is built by the continued process of their ability to publish text. I wrote my first freelance article ten years before I finished a BS in Communication Studies, for example. Many freelancers are just Janes and Joes like myself who know how to string sentences together.
If you know anything about Amazon, you know that Amazon has realized this for years, as they have nearly from the inception of their original online bookstore - always catered to writers who are also obviously reading books (duh).
Back to the Kindle Edition stuff. Kindle updates the above writer to editor information flow by way of routing text from freelance writers through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing - straight to Kindle Editions. Which means that for every writer who cracks the code on writing directly to Kindle - another iteration of query letters and book proposal communications ceases to exist by default.
The customer’s role within this system has even been “edited” somewhat (ha). Now when a reader writes a Kindle Edition book review to post at Amazon - another form of the rather powerful user-generated content, aye - the review begins the process of replacing the editorial responsibilities that previously belonged to publishing house content editors - because the review could actually affect the writer's next edition or even spark an idea for a future title in the author's mind.
Amazon has done such a professional job of planning and developing the publishing industry’s next information system - they may soon exert control over and manage the publishing industry by default - as publishing house editors are no longer able to filter content before it is published.
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