Saturday, March 04, 2017

Decisions, decisions!  As a lover of words, I couldn't decide whether to share this little essay Beth Cox wrote for her Beth Cox Report (Midwest Book Review)! newsletter on my Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor blog or this one. #SharingwithWriters won because it is more about publishing and has some great resources for self-published authors, too! You'll love the link to more information on copyright infringement!

But if you're a wordy-type, you'll love how she explains how a word you already know has been co-opted by the publishing industry! Thank you, Beth, for always being willing to share and to extend you wisdom across the Web! And I know you'll want to sign up for her newsletter so you don't miss a single one!

Dear Loyal Readers, Authors, and Publishers,
One adjective I've seen used more and more often to describe the postmodern economy, including and especially the publishing trade, is "democratized".
In the context of an industry, "democratized" doesn't mean that the industry has elected leaders. It means that the industry is more open to the general public than ever before. Financial barriers to entry have been eroded by modern technology, and industry gatekeepers are increasingly irrelevant (unless mandated by law).
Uber and Lyft have democratized the urban transportation industry, allowing just about anyone with a car to become a cabbie. Airbnb has democratized the hotel industry, allowing anyone with a mattress to provide travelers with a place to stay.
What does a democratized writing and publishing industry look like? It's a field where the costs of publishing digitally are so low that anyone can make their ebook available worldwide with the click of a button. Audiobooks no longer have to be "printed" on expensive CDs and can be distributed in MP3 format to anyone with a portable MP3 device. Anyone with enough computer savvy to use software like GameMaker (which is a MUCH lower hurdle to clear than learning how to program from scratch!) can create an indie video game in their spare time and digitally distribute it to the general public.
Book publicity and promotion are more democratized than ever before. While professional publicists are here to stay, and potentially invaluable, some indie authors take the DIY approach to getting the word out about their books.
With the advent of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, also known as the DMCA, copyright protection is also democratized, at least in the USA. If someone uses the Internet to infringe copyright, then indie authors, small publishers, or video content creators do not need to hire an expensive lawyer to get offending material taken down. Anyone can submit a legitimate DMCA claim to quickly and easily assert ownership of their own material.
I have even seen "DMCA" informally used as a verb to describe this process, as in, "I DMCA'd his YouTube video because he used material from my stream in it without my consent."
(As an aside, I would like to share an excellent infographic about copyright infringement
This infographic specifically focuses on digital images, such as the images than are used to create ebook covers, but it's up-to-date and easy to understand.)
Just this month, I added a link to Hummingbird Digital Media to the "Ebooks" section of the MBR website
They're a service that allows users to sell their ebooks and digital audiobooks with no up-front fees - just a share of the revenue whenever digital copies or sold. They proudly describe themselves with the statement, "We're democratizing e-book and audiobook retailing."
I have not used Hummingbird Digital Media personally (my job is to review books, not write them), but their very existence strips away one of the more imposing financial barriers to entry in the writing and publishing trade.
Now for February's Link of the Month, which is also democratizing something that used to be done only by the movie industry, or by the biggest publishing houses for their most lucrative properties. It's Brilliant Book Trailers
an online business designed to create brief, professional-quality video trailers to advertise one's book. I should mention as a disclaimer that Don Sloan of Brilliant Book Trailers is a volunteer reviewer for the MBR; his reviews appear regularly in the "Reviewer's Bookwatch".
That's all for the February 2017 Beth Cox Report. I don't like short months - they give me fewer days to do a full month's work!
Bethany Cox
Managing Editor
The Midwest Book Review


 Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and The Great First Impression Book Proposal, another booklet, helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart,and Tuned-In Editor (

Search This Blog