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Are Publishers Lazy?

Thomas Nelson chairman and CEO, Michael Hyatt, has a post today that struck at the heart of one of pet questions.

The post is Three Reason Why Authors Must Develop Their Own Platform and his arguments all boil down to this: The market is different and publishers are behind.

In fact, he goes as far to point out that certain kinds of non-platform thinking is about two decades old (or two centuries in internet years).

Maybe you guys can help me: What, exactly, is a publisher suppose to do for me?

I understand that certain old-school authors need to be told to get a Facebook, but for those of us who have been blogging and facebooking/tweeting for a while now, the argument, “You need to get out and promote yourself before we’ll consider promoting you” sounds a bit, well, lazy.

I’ll admit I’m not in publishing circles nor am I trying to get a book published, but I do have friends who are and they’re all saying the same thing: You have to do your own marketing.

So, my question is, what on earth is the point of having a publisher?

That being said, as a teacher, I completely understand the desire to have somebody demonstrate their total commitment before you invest a lot of time and money into them.

But what this says to me is that publishers aren’t looking for a book, they’re looking for an author. Which is to bad, because readers are looking for a book.

All that being said, I think this all points to a niche market that may be ripe for harvest: pre-agents. That is, somebody who will help good authors develop their platform so that a “real” agent will give them the time of day and do, you know, agenty sorts of things.

What do you think? Is the publishing industry lazy?