The Foxy Armadillos
August 2017 by V. R. Duin

NO BARRIER TO ENTRY

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.

Whether handwritten or word processed, with or without images, with or without a specialized book printer, virtually anyone can write and publish a book. There is no barrier to entry, such as education, licensing, or certification requirements for writing a book. There are no regulations specific to the writing, publishing or sale of books. To the contrary, there are many companies involved in the self-publishing business so everyone can publish a book.

Established writers do not retaliate against new writers. The only specifications for a book's length or format are the simple need to size it into a printable or Web-ready unit. Self-publishing printing houses also offer standard sizes for print books, and make it easy for beginners to format the finished product. With no barrier to entry, the field is becoming very crowded. Writers must expect competition and have strong internal and/or spiritual drive to persevere in the face of it.

Every writer must expect competition and find a way to rise above it. A million books are published in the United States, each year. Most of these are self-published. Books also are being published for the English-speaking market in foreign countries. The competition among writers seeking human and machine readership is huge, in large part because there is no barrier to entry.

To stand out from the crowd, writers must create a brand identity for their books through promotion. Technology that writers should apply to the marketing, sale and promotion of books includes a working knowledge of HTML and Wordpress, the most widely used, free and open-source Content Management System for website and blog development.

There is no barrier to entry nor ticket to success for those who publish a book, unless one considers the huge obstacle presented by the extreme competition in the industry. 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 for which the failure rate vastly succeeds the success rate.

Few books are written for a known and established market. Therefore, any loans likely will have to be secured by retirement funds or other real or tangible assets of known value. If the book is not successful, the writer will be scrambling to replace the losses and repay the loans from other sources of income. The writer also may be begging for forgiveness, while trying to fix the financial mess created by a failure to expect competition.

Writers are surrounded by people, who help or hurt their careers. Although well-intentioned, family and friends often add to a writer's discouragement. Writing is a highly competitive and speculative business. Writers generally live among people who measure success by steady, present income. Writers work hard to publish a book, then receive variable or no payment. Although writing presents no barrier to entry, there are pressures to quit.

Reunions and holidays may be difficult for writers, who are expected to strengthen the family name and reputation. Writers may not have the means of other family members. A writer's income arrives all at once, or not at all. Writers are often chided by family and friends about the thin line between vision and delusion, However, to quit under pressure means losing all of the effort made to publish that book.

Writers may wear out friendships with their singular focus on their books. Few people stick with writers until success arrives, if it all. Friends rightly have their own agendas and concerns. They often drift from a writer's seemingly eternal efforts, which show no results. Writers need friends. It would be nice if colleagues formed a cohesive group, but writers should expect competition rather than collaboration.

Many public and private places refuse to admit new writers for book readings or related presentations. The first places to close the floodgates to hopeful writers are the public library and both private and public school systems. The local news media also pulls in the welcome mat, particularly in large cities. These closed door policies may be presented as security measures or scheduling limitations, not barriers to entry.

It is up to each writer to decide where to place individual marketing and promotional emphasis. Plans may change every few months. As we make new affiliations, content and discoveries, our plans will change to reflect each new direction. Although there is no barrier to entry, ongoing tinkering is required of writers. Ideas must be molded until they agree with our nature and are compelling to others. This is particularly true with virtual connections. Expect competition on social media.

Without a constantly updated website and/or blog, readers have difficulty finding published books. Because there is no barrier to entry to publish a book, the tremendous amount of competition in the publishing business is difficult to overcome without applying strong tech skills or paying great costs. Search engine rankings are in large part based upon dynamic changes to Web content. Search engines can read and analyze text content with greater speed and efficiency than human readers. People and search engines stop visiting websites that have no updates to the contents. It is discouraging to publish a book that nobody can find.

Barriers to entry deter new competitors, by imposing a cost element on new entrants, which those already in the business do not share. Unless writers expect competition, they will not prepare for the challenge. Moreover, writers with books that become best sellers cannot protect these positions by building barriers to entry against newcomers.

To hold their positions, the continuing use of new technologies and the creation of ongoing content may be required. Those who remain convinced that to publish a book is sure to meet with success, must learn the awful truths by themselves. With no barrier to entry, a lot of people are drawn into financial and emotional publishing losses. The stress can take a physical toll.

3 comments

  • publish a book admin says:

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

  • Expect Competition admin 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 entryadmin says:

      There is no barrier to entry into the writers' market, but it is not cost-effective to pay others to manage, assess problems, test, validate and design the future state of the necessary tech platform for book promotion.