Cutting Out the Middleman

As a sideline trend-watcher, I’ve been particularly interested in a trend I think of as “cutting out the middleman.”

Now, more than ever before, we are able to share our thoughts, ideas, projects, and creations even more directly (and immediately) with our audience.

For instance:

Writing a book? Self-publishing is the answer for many.

So many authors are not only circumventing the traditional publishing route and doing press runs themselves, but they are even publishing their own digital books for Kindle and other such platforms as a way of getting their work into the world.

Brian Rathbone, a fantasy author I had the pleasure of interviewing, has published his books on at least 10 different digital platforms (both ebooks and audiobooks), and he’s carving out a niche helping other authors do the same.

Can’t find anyone to back your show? Get it out there yourself.

Joss Whedon — my hero! — has done this with his Serenity, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel & Faith comic books as a way of getting his visual art into the world.

I know of an emerging screenwriter who has hired his own artists to help him get his short screenplays into visual form.

I also love how Felicia Day took matters into her own hands with her web-series, The Guild, and married her love of online gaming with her passion for acting, and made her own show.

Joss Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog was similarly inspired.

Want to shoot a movie but don’t have the big backers? Do it yourself, on a budget.

Edward Burns is gaining notoriety for getting out there with cameras and a small team and making some incredible films happen that are surpassing other hugely funded projects in quality and audience-appeal.

Many others are following suit.

Have something to say but haven’t gotten the speaking tour or TV spot yet? Broadcast away on YouTube and LiveStream to your heart’s content.

Now more than ever, activists, artists, and entrepreneurs have accessible resources at their disposal to spread the word about their work. We can blog, write, teach, videocast, and so much more to get our work into the world.

Have a class you want to teach? Get a bridgeline, rent a space, or press the Go Live button and share it with your audience Right Now.

What we can appreciate about this:

I love how these artists are answering the question, “How can I get my work into the hands, minds, and hearts of my audience NOW?”

Cutting out the middleman (the agents, publishers, producers, studios, etc.) lets us connect with our tribe immediately. And in this instant gratification society, that’s pretty darn powerful.

On the other hand:

On the other side of the coin however, we are truly glutted with information like never before, and it can be hard to sift the chaff from the wheat. Those middlemen do a lot of the work for us, deciding what is high enough quality to pass the test. But yet again, often pieces of brilliance are overlooked and left behind.

Is this a good thing?

Your Turn

I’d love to hear from you about:

  • What you think about this trend?
  • As an artist or entrepreneur, how might you or have you cut out the middleman?
  • Was it a good thing?


Coming Attractions

~> July & August. Doing Creative Destiny Assessments with visionary creatives ready to claim their creative destiny. Details coming soon.

~> August 4th. My next Life Purpose Breakthrough ‘Big Vision’ Group. SOLD OUT. Details. If you’re interested in the next group (probably in September), email my team here and we’ll add you to the list.

~> September. Beta-testing my new writer’s accountability system with a select group and offering Life Purpose Coaching Groups. Stay tuned for more info.


~> MONDAYS. Right Brain Business Planning with my buddy Kris Carey.

~> FRIDAYS. Sacred writing days. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

~> Vacationing with my family in August (at least part of it!).


  1. Hi Jenna,

    Everything’s a pendulum. We swung to the Left – LODIFY (let others do it for you) – then to the right DIY – soon I’m guessing we will swing back towards the left again – ending up more in the middle.

    With everyone doing everything for themselves, we start to get away from our own strengths and dilute the purpose of our lives. Yes, you can publish the book. Is promotion your strong point? Will anyone end up reading it?

    I predict a new breed of middlefolks – not as opinionated as the previous version. In that past, the middlefolks guarding the creative door DECIDED what would and wouldn’t pass muster based on some superficial criteria (perhaps, dumbing us down?). A lot of more edgy, challenging stuff never saw the light of day. Some really famous people originally self-published, then went on to be picked up. Do a search on the self-published of yore.

    Even marketing mavens like M. Forleo self published first – I believe. Then got picked up by a publisher.

    The new middlefolks may end up combing through the self-published/ self-produced to find things to promote.

    Even if you are a writer, you still need to bounce your writing off others. Writing mentors will be more in vogue.

    Of course, all this self-production may end if we keep squelching imagination in the schools and keep them functioning like warehouses …

    Fun, G.

  2. I am excited by the fact that there is another avenue for creative people to get their work out to the world. I think there is room for both the traditional route and the new do-it yourself route. As long as people are connecting with their audiences in the ways that work for them, then it is all good.

  3. I do not believe the result of vetting by middlemen is greater quality. The primary concern of publishers, agents, studios, etc. is money; will the work sell? I have attempted to read novels that were brought out by commercial publishers but that were deplorable. Why? Because the publisher believed enough could be sold to make them some money. Unfortunately, selling and quality just do not go hand in hand necessarily, so even trusting a publisher, studio, etc. does not guarantee a good experience for the reader or viewer, & does not guarantee that the work of the artist is of the highest quality.
    I believe the only way to determine quality in a work is to refer to the critics, in some cases, and to give the work time. Does it last?

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