Jeff Bach at Quietwater Films sent me a thoughtful email that I'll post here in its entirety (with permission):
"When first purchased, your book opened my eyes and got me quite excited about this "Long Tail" segment of the economy. While my eyes continue to be opened and I continue to be in learning mode, unfortunately the excitement over this Long Tail has faded away as "reality" has set in.
My reality as a content creator and producer is that it is basically not possible for anyone in the "normal" realm to make a living in this Long Tail space. I create and produce "paddlesports" content. Canoes and kayaks. I am a provider of niche content. My customers are John and Jane Public and are people who like outdoor recreation, especially the watery kind. Affluent, active, with disposable income to spend on products like mine. They are doing it as I had hoped.
But the reality at this time for me and my company is that I need to find multiple large national distributors if I hope to even come close to making a living at this game. And I need to produce fresh content on a reasonably frequent basis. In short, I am a much smaller and more struggling version of the giants that have preceded me. I have the same issues and problems my predecessors did. The only thing that has changed is that I am trying to do it with an awareness of Web 2.0 and Long Tail and several other "New Media" phrases that you can insert here.
Your Long Tail theory is a basic and profound truth that I happily embrace AS A CONSUMER. But as a producer and creator of Long Tail content it is basically spelling out my doom. Other than your book examples which are still basically about VERY LARGE entities and aggregators, I am finding very few self supporting examples of independent Long Tail producers. I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth as I see more and more that the "old school" of thought, economy and media will continue to endure and dominate until.......I don't know when, because I'm not seeing a change in the economics of selling enough to support yourself.
Still - you wrote a great book! Although I think you are fortunate it was one of the "hits" and that you do not need to depend on its Long Tail sales to make your living."