As some of my readers enjoy telling me, I don't do a very good job maximizing the potential of my publishing business. I'm quick to admit that the main flaw in my business model for publishing is me. I just don't have the fire in the belly that I had ten or twenty years ago, and the idea of taking on a lot of potential aggravation just to make more money isn't compelling. But in the next couple weeks I'll be wrapping up all of my open projects (with the exception of house/property hunting), so I thought I'd write down some of those business model criticisms and give them some thought.
#1 You should publish other authors books
Strangely enough, I get this one a lot from unpublished authors:-) But the point is taken, especially given the breadth of my website platform, I could publish non-fiction books in a number of areas and have a running start on marketing. I think my main objection at this point is that publishing other author's books would end up eating all of my energy, if not all of my time. If I was trying to build a publishing business with the eventual goal of selling it, that might make sense, but I don't think that's my goal.
#2 You should sell other publishers books
It's true that with the exception of a few Associates links, I make no attempt to leverage my business model to sell other books. In fact, I've never followed up with buyers of my previous books to tell them when a new book is released, much less promoting other publisher's books to them. My publishing business is based on passive marketing because I've never cared for businesses that pursue their customers and try to milk them of every last penny. But it is certainly true that my title list isn't comprehensive in any way, and that if I could find high quality synergistic titles, it would be a benefit to my customers. But I'm not looking for more customer service or fulfillment issues at the moment.
#3 You should offer consulting services
The general rule in consulting is that the customer is buying the consultant's time, not paying for results. I'm a results oriented person, and I hate selling my time, so it's a bad match. The problem with selling results as a business model is that forces the consultant to only accept customers who are certain to be successful, otherwise the consultant will be working for free. Since most of the people who want to hire me as a publishing consultant are engaged in projects that have a low likelihood of commercial success, I'd have to charge them an hourly rate that I don't believe they'd ever earn back in sales. The other problem is that the results depend far more on the client than on the consultant.
#4 You should become a publishing coach, like Dan Poynter
Despite all the little publishing lectures I've been putting out on video, I don't see myself ever getting on the speaker circuit for self publishers, or any other kind of publishers. I really have the wrong attitude to be an inspirational speaker. I don't believe that most people will succeed in publishing or any other business for that matter unless they happen to be at the right point in life to do so. The closest I've come to wanting to get involved in working directly with new publishers is the occasional fantasy about setting up a retreat center. I think with the right staff and pre-screened participants, a three or four day retreat would be enough to get most authors a good start for their own publishing company. The primary aim would be to teach marketing and market research (ie, choosing titles that have a chance) but a couple sessions on book design a couple sessions on website design would be useful. But it's not something I'd ever try by starting at zero and making a big investment of time and money, I'd have to grow it from something much more modest.