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Authors & Publishers Look for New Ways to Reach Readers Online

With less people visiting brick-and-mortar bookshops, and many print papers devoting less space to book reviews, authors have been looking for ways to reach and consolidate their readership online. And publishers, looking to tap into new revenue streams, have been increasingly eager to help them do it. But at what price? An hour spent peddling a book is an hour not spent writing one.

In a statement announcing a new Simon & Schuster imprint, S&S chief Carolyn Reidy acknowledged that for today’s author “a successful career can often mean full-time engagement in extra-to-publishing activities.” The new imprint, called North Star Way, will “offer authors an expanded suite of profile-building, ancillary services that extend beyond the boundaries of traditional publishing.” Translation: in addition to publishing print and e-books, the imprint will provide other platforms for authors to reach readers, like online courses, workshops, videos, podcasts and mobile apps. Of course, such a multi-pronged approach may not serve all types of authors equally. In a press statement North Star Way revealed that it will focus initially on fields such as self-improvement, motivation, and business inspiration.

The North Star Way announcement follows another S&S initiative called Simon Says, in which authors in fields like health and personal finance will appear in online courses expanding on their published work.

We would hope that authors taking advantage of these platforms will be compensated for their promotional efforts—and it appears that they will be. Adam Rothberg of S&S confirmed as much, according to a Digital Book World report, saying that North Star Way contracts will take into account “the new services and activities being offered,” without going into further detail.

As the digital marketplace requires authors to spend more time on promotion, we’ll be following this trend to see how it actually pans out for them.