HuffPo | We are all on a journey. None of us know with absolute certainty what happens next. All we can do is position ourselves for the future we prophetically or delusionally imagine. History will judge us all. Those who position correctly will be rewarded. Those who aren't prepared will face the harsh realities of the future marketplace.
Every one of us holds the power to change the course of history by taking actions today that enable the future we desire. Our actions mirror our aspirations, which means the future of publishing will be determined by our collective and sometimes competing aspirations. Readers are our gatekeepers.
I challenge you, my dear writer, publisher or reader, to take charge of your future. Imagine a brighter and better future ahead, where the culture of books reigns supreme, where more people are discovering, reading, purchasing, publishing, selling, and profiting-from books. Imagine a future where more readers than ever before will enjoy a greater diversity of books than ever before. Imagine a future where the power center of the publishing business shifts from traditional publishers to ordinary writers where it belongs.
The utopian and often self-serving aspirations of industry participants don't always intersect. Sometimes, objectives are at odds with one another, and at other times objectives are aligned. Our experiences, biases and fears color our perceptions, and sometimes distort them.
Much is at stake. The world's 50 largest book publishers alone achieved $68 billion in sales in 2011, according to Publishers Weekly. Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) estimates the US consumer ebook market alone will surpass $10 billion by 2016. When so much money and power is up for grabs, industry players have a lot to fight over, and much to protect. Books are worth fighting for, so fight for the future you want. Otherwise, someone else may determine your future for you.
None of us can truly predict the future, but we can still prepare for it by remaining flexible. We must be willing to roll with the punches when fate tries to smack us upside the head, and adjust our course and our beliefs when we make mistakes, or when we discover new opportunities on the horizon.
The doubters like Donald Maass are becoming the exception, not the rule, and that worries me. When everyone starts swimming in the same direction and believing the same group think, that's when I start wondering about what comes next. It's the job of any entrepreneur - and we are all entrepreneurs of our own destiny - to prepare for the future while surviving today.