Retrospective (part one)

At the start of 2012, I resolved to "post something useful every day", a pledge that carried me for 366 days last year (picking a leap year was the least of my challenges). For 2013, I decided to take weekends off, posting five days each week (Monday through Friday).

The year is ending, and I'll look at some of the statistics on Wednesday. Although I did take weekends off in 2013, this is still the 260th post in 2013. To help sort out some of that volume, I thought I'd take a look at the ten most widely read posts this year, starting with the sixth through tenth today.

Coming in tenth was "Burn your own house down: Independent bookstores can help self-published authors". It's one of a handful of posts I've written this year about independently published books. In it, I argued that bookstores should capitalize on local talent, rather than fear or marginalize it (a musical note at the end).

Ninth: "What's next: Ten trends shaping the future of publishing". This post borrowed from excellent work done by Johanna Vondeling, Berrett-Koehler’s Vice President for International Sales and Business Development. I followed this overview with ten more posts, published weekly, about each of the items on Vondeling's list.

The eighth most-viewed post is a staple, "Context first: A unified field theory of publishing". Written in 2010, it frames a good deal of my thinking about the challenges and opportunities in publishing. I regularly come back to aspects of it, though I promise that the traffic is not all me.

The text of a new presentation, "Disaggregating supply: Moving inexorably toward a pre-book world", came in seventh. It was prepared for the Berlin-based Publishers Forum organized each spring by Klopotek. In the fall I also had a chance to deliver similar remarks for the annual meeting of the Book Publishers Association of Alberta.

Rounding out the list for today is a personal post, "Lost coastlines", written shortly after my father passed away in February. I rarely vary from the publishing script, and it was both helpful and heartwarming to have the support of my professional friends at a time when I greatly needed it (another musical note at the end).

Tomorrow I'll return with the five most viewed posts for 2013. In the meantime, I'm thinking I'll go back and re-read "Lost coastlines".

One musical note: "Burn your own house down" is a line taken from a Patty Griffin song, "No Bad News", in which she sings "Why don't you burn it all down, burn your own house down, burn your own house down/Try to kill your own disease/And leave the rest of us, there's a lot of us, leave the rest of us/Who wanna live in peace to live in peace". The act of bookstores restricting access for local writers seemed to embody that self-destructive moment.

Another musical note: Okkervil River sings "Lost coastlines", whose lyrics are in part: "And we sail out on orders from him/But we find the maps he sent to us don't mention lost coastlines/Where nothing we've actually seen has been mapped or outlined/But we don't recognize the names upon these signs". Standing on the planet for the first time without a parent, it seemed a moment that had neither been mapped nor outlined.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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