The Foxy Armadillos
August 2018 by V. R. Duin


To the den, the farmers couldn't pass.
They had no armor plates, alas,
And to wriggle through the bramble
Was an awful prickly, painful scramble.
(“The Foxy Armadillos”)

With no barrier to entry, everyone can publish a book, so expect competition for sales and revenue.

Anyone can test the market. Whether handwritten or word processed, with or without images, with or without a specialized book printer, it is cheap and easy to publish a book. Books may be created as e-books, board books, audio books, paperback and hardcover print books.

There is no barrier to entry. There are no education, licensing, or certification requirements for writing a book. There are no regulations specific to the writing, publishing or sale of books. There are many companies involved in the self-publishing business for books.

Barriers to entry deter new competitors. They impose a cost element on new entrants, which those already in the business do not share. The only specifications for a book are the need to size it into a printable or Web-ready unit. Publishing applications make it easy to format finished books.

Self-publishing takes power from select executives at big companies and delivers it to fans. Writers must have a strong drive to persevere. Books are not a coveted item. There is no shortage of supply. Writers of best sellers cannot protect their positions by building barriers against newcomers.

The market for self-published books may have stalled. Readers and writers are losing faith in the results. The books go unread and the writers and the self-publishing houses need another source of income. Writers often become the only purchasers of their own books.

The do-it-yourself book layout template often is free of charge. Once the design is done, the printer gets paid for the quantities and qualities of books and other print items ordered. Color print runs are more expensive than those in black and white.

Pamphlets, banners, posters, keepsakes, magazines and book markers may be purchased along with the books. Books for the English-speaking market may be created in foreign countries. The competition among writers seeking human and machine readership is huge, because there are no barriers.

It is possible to rise above the competition in a business with no barrier to entry. It requires using the same tactics with which other successful businesses succeed. Writers will spend more time and money on marketing than on writing books. Life will be dedicated to book promotion.

Writers live and work in clouded isolation. Few new writers are invited to speak to important groups, engage at public book signings or participate in major publishing events, such as book fairs. New writers may find it difficult to compete with established writers for an audience.

Banks will not take chances on loan paybacks from a writer's pending work. There is too much risk involved in this highly speculative and highly competitive business. The failure rate in book publishing vastly succeeds the success rate.

Few books are written for a known and established market. Most books are written on whim and fancy. Therefore, any loans likely will have to be secured by retirement funds or other real or tangible assets of known value. Few readers risk limited assets to invest in one of millions of books.

Writers must connect, communicate, build communities and create commerce on their own. There is so much choice that few readers opt to make a buying decision. The paralysis and decision fatigue too much choice prevents the development of an emotional attachment to unknown writers.

Writers often have faith when others have none. A lot of hopeful writers are drawn into financial and emotional publishing losses. Writers often live in poverty. The stress can take a physical toll. The unhappiness of being one of too many is not healthy.

Writers scramble to replace the losses and repay the loans. They also may beg for forgiveness, while trying to fix the financial mess created by a failure to expect competition. Writers, who remain convinced that a book is sure to be met with success, must learn the awful truths by themselves.

Writers are surrounded by people, who hurt their careers. Family and friends often add to a writer's discouragement. Writers live among people who measure success by steady, present income. Writers work hard to publish a book, then receive variable or no payment

Writing is a highly competitive and speculative business. There is pressure to quit. Writing is alienating. It is discouraging when original creative toil is received by the public as another load of junk. The hopelessness of perceived failure sends many writers into isolation.

Reunions and holidays may be difficult for writers. They may not have name or reputation. A writer's income arrives all at once, or not at all. Writers are chided by family and friends about the ongoing anonymity and range-bound results of their efforts. The misery of this reality is jolting.

There may be a thin line between vision and delusion. While writers to devote time to their work or to salvaging their work with promotion, they are inaccessible to those sharing their space. Since most writers work at home, this often creates a hostile family environment.

Nobody wants to read or hear constant frustrations. To quit under pressure means losing all of the effort made to write, publish market or promote that book. Writing about the book may perpetuate the nightmare of seemingly unfair and disproportionate stress.

Few people stick with writers until success arrives. A singular focus on books and the craft of writing often meets with public and private rebuke. Success may not arrive, leaving writers muted and subdued with overdoses of bad feedback. They struggle with feeling they are not as good as envisioned.

Friends and family members have their own agendas and concerns. They often drift from a writer's seemingly eternal efforts, which show no results. Writers need a support group. It would be nice if colleagues formed a cohesive group.

Writers should expect competition rather than collaboration. They may find themselves in battles with colleagues over perceived trademark and copyright infringements, misappropriation of trade secrets and other acts of business interference at book signings, conferences or shows.

There is no obligation to support new writers. The first places to close the floodgates to hopeful writers may be the local public library and private and public school systems. In many large cities, there is an overload of new talent pining for discovery.

The local news media may pull in the welcome mat. Closed door policies may be presented as security measures or scheduling limitations. Celebrity authors often are paid to appear in these places. These are additional signs that writing is an overly crowded pursuit.

Ongoing tinkering is required. It is up to each writer to decide where to place individual marketing and promotional emphasis. Plans may change every few months. As writers make new affiliations, content and discoveries, plans should change to reflect each new direction.

Intrigue must be created. Ideas must be molded until they agree with the writer's nature and are compelling to others. The essence of creative effort must be tempered by an awareness of changing trends in the world. Unflagging persistence with an unsuccessful approach may lead to downfall.

Readers have difficulty finding published books. The tremendous amount of competition in the publishing business is difficult to overcome. To hold their positions, the continuing use of new technologies and the creation of ongoing content may be required.

It is discouraging to publish a book that nobody can find. The anonymity and innumerability of the Web are both attractive and distractive. Writers must create an online presence to build a business. This is impossible without applying strong tech skills or paying great costs to acquire them.

Writers: Expect Competition.

  • publish a book V. R. Duin says:

    Since more people can publish a book than ever before, serious writers must use technology to spread awareness about their craft across all available media.

  • Expect Competition V. R. Duin says:

    Writers must expect competition throughout the world and rise to the challenge of publishing in the twenty-first century by using technology for book promotion.

    • no barrier to entryV. R. Duin says:

      There is no barrier to entry into the writers' market, but it creates work that is not cost-effective to pay others to do for the management, assessment, testing, validation and design to develop the future state of the necessary tech platform for book promotion.