From a marketing standpoint, how a business is "oriented" sets the course for how they run their whole operation. Not only is it one of the most definitive marketing opportunities of virtually any industry, the publishing business has had a very defined evolution. Companies and their owners have philosophies, and those philosophies are in general categories of orientation: Product, Production, Customer/Market, or Sales. We are going to talk about the first three, and each term is linked to an expanded definition from another source on the web.
Product Orientation - (The product itself is the focus of the business) Simply put, in traditional publishing, the author hands over 100% of the editorial and creative control to the publisher (because they are spending the money). The publisher says to the author "Rewrite this or that. Here's your cover, ain't it grand. Oh, and here's how we are positioning your book. Have a nice day Mr. Author." Then he moves on to say to the consumer, "Here's this book. Buy it like this."
Production Orientation - (The way it is produced is primary focus) Along came the POD/Subsidy/Vanity and "so called" self-publishing companies (iUniverse, AuthorHouse, Xlibris, and the like), and the tables were turned. The editorial and creative control for publishing a book went right into the author's grasp...only problem is, the author doesn't often know what they are doing and more often doesn't want to spend the money to hire professionals. Author says to "publisher": "Print my book and put it on your wholesale listings." And then moves on to say to the consumer, "Hey I wrote a book. Buy it like this."
Customer Orientation - (Finally, the consumer enters the mix, and the market drives products by demanding high quality, pricing control, availability, formatting and even creative -- by voting with their credit card.) Now, in the most exciting time ever for publishers and readers alike, the consumer says "I want to read a good book, with a good story line that has been thoughtfully edited, and creatively packaged and is available in the formats I want to read it. I want this book as a Kindle, this book for my iPad, that book as a paperback, that book as a PDF, and so on. Don't have those formats, Mr. Author? I'll move on to another book, thank you."
It's your time. It's the reader's time. Go on. Write your dream!