Pivot Your Publishing Biz During Times of Crisis and Uncertainty

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Next up in my series for thriving during times of crisis and uncertainty is discussing how to reframe and even pivot in your business, if necessary.

Yesterday, Amazon announced that they would be temporarily closing US print centers, resulting in Merch products becoming temporarily unavailable. 

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As of this post, Amazon has NOT announced the same for KDP. This was today’s announcement in the KDP back office:

Will this Crisis Set Back Self-Publishing?

I’m an optimist, so I hope KDP will not shut down our printers/shipping BUT…

…it’s likely they will. 

Jeff Bezos himself is prepared for things to “get worse before they get better,” FBA shipments have been suspended through April 5th, and just yesterday we learned that Merch products would be temporarily unavailable, effectively shutting down many independent sellers – and cutting off income completely, for some.

This is all because Amazon is pivoting. Like other businesses, they are finding a new way to operate {yes, I’m sure even temporarily shutting down completely, if necessary.} 

Shipments are being limited, production is being cut back, and KDP could be a part of that, so we need to be thinking ahead. Worst case, book printing and/or shipping is stopped…so we prepare for the worst and hope it never comes to that.

But what DO you do to prepare?

Pivoting in Your Low Content Publishing Business

First and foremost, you MUST be resilient.

Take on the attitude that your business will thrive in all situations. Because you will recover, adapt, and do what needs to be done.

Next, you must be willing to think creatively about the solutions you provide. How can you pivot and continue to provide value and meet a need?


✅ Related: Start a Low Content Publishing Side Hustle when You’ve Lost a Source of Income


The Opportunity that’s Staring You in the Face

There’s an opportunity right now that’s staring you in the face – and happens to be an easy pivot from publishing paperbacks…

…to publishing digital products.

Right now, people are scared and if they’re being proactive, they’re self-isolating.

But the world DOES continue to run. People still need what you have to give. 

Birthday parties still happen. Moms are now at home, helping their kids transition to a new way of doing schoolwork. Women are expecting babies. People need a way to pass the time or learn new skills.

And you can tap into those needs by creating the digital products people will need. 

So start thinking about how you can solve problems digitally. Because we’re learning to live with a new normal and must come up with a new way of working in our businesses.

Let’s Continue the Conversation!

Drop me a comment below and let’s chat! How could YOU do things differently in your business? What changes will you be making to adapt to the new normal?

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2 comments for “Pivot Your Publishing Biz During Times of Crisis and Uncertainty

  1. DK
    March 28, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    Wow…I didn’t know that Amazon put a pause on Merch.

    But you know…now that I ponder that, it sort of confirms 2 critical dynamics that we must take into account:

    1. Yes, there may be more people at home, and hence, buying online.

    2. But–and this is a big BUT–what’s foremost on their minds (that is, what their buying priorities are) has shifted significantly. That is, I think their buying has shifted more from…shall I say, “non-essential items” to essential ones.

    A lot of people in the online world have been essentially saying, “Hey…people are at home now, so there’s going to be a lot more online shopping, and more people with time to buy my products.”

    So, let’s put that aside and come back to it later.

    Yes, people are at home, but I don’t think they’re buying the same things in the same quantities like they used to. In other words, they’re buying more essentials-oriented products, and less of the non-essential products.

    This is especially true if you consider that a lot of those people are not sure where they’re next paycheck is coming from.

    So, going back to the notion that people are at home now, yes, they are at home now, but unless your site/product/service is an essentials-based one, you might see sales decline.

    I bet that’s something that Amazon observed with Merch: buying sentiment has shifted from non-essentials to essentials. I belive Merch has to do with t-shirts, and I’m making an assumption here, but I don’t know if Merch is as much at the forefront of buyers minds as it was a month ago.

    The same goes for most non-essential items.

    That said, I wonder about KDP books, particularly the educational kids’ books, because those are very much needed now. I suppose it’s a wait-and-see scenario, but we don’t have to let that cause us to hesitate.

    We can easily make our KDP books digital. (In fact, they’re digital before they’re even printed.)

    There are digital marketplaces like Gumroad and Etsy that may be viable.

    You can also create fiction or non-fiction Kindle ebooks.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts for now.

    • Julie
      March 29, 2020 at 2:12 pm

      Great thoughts.

      It’s really about being mindful of what people still want and need now while understanding that no matter what, things will shift back and people will go back to buying the non-essentials, for sure. They’re still buying them now. But the bulk of purchases are definitely essentials and we shouldn’t be surprised to see a decline in sales.

      In my opinion, it’s a good idea to meet the demand right now as well as plan for the future. We still want to be building an inventory of paperbacks because when things shift back, people will go back to buying them. But there’s a new need now that we can use to inspire us to do new and better business.

      ~ Julie

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