I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that I think Seth Godin is a genius and that I think his book Tribes should be required reading for anybody trying to build a comedy career, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I think something else he recently wrote is worth sharing with you here.
Seth is currently running The Domino Project, which is basically an attempt to re-think the way the publishing business works. As part of that, he sends out an occasional email newsletter that always has interesting insights – many of which are relevant to things well beyond the publishing industry.
His latest newsletter includes the following observations, which I think are particularly applicable to the comedy business:
The single biggest change in book publishing is this:
The industry was built around finding readers for its writers.
And new technologies and business models now mean that the most successful publishers and authors find writers for their readers instead.
Traditionally, a book is signed, written, edited, designed, printed and distributed and THEN the publisher runs around like crazy trying to alert people about the book, get shelf space and media attention and reviews… all a way of finding readers for the writing that was published.
In the era of permission marketing, the writer already knows her readers, the writer already has the ability to contact those readers. If not the writer, than the publisher or the bookstore.
I believe this is also true of where the comedy business is headed. It’s a business that was built around other people finding audiences for comedians, but now it’s transforming into a world where successful comedians need to find and control their own audience.
You can (and should) read the rest of Godin’s thoughts here, but I’ll also leave you with his closing statement – another one that rings true to comedians as much as it does writers and publishers.
The losers at the end of this round are obvious: entities that haven’t bothered to build a direct connection with readers. Everything else is commentary.