I’m sure most of you are aware of the popular theory that the ancient Mayan calendar predicts the world will end on December 21 of this year—yes, that all life on earth may be extinct shortly.

I’ll make a bold prediction: the Mayans got it wrong . . . or people are misinterpreting their calendar!

I will tell you what is going the way of the dodo, however: big traditional publishing houses. (Could the Mayan calendar be predicting their demise?)

In October, Penguin and Random House announced that they will merge, bringing the number of large global publishing houses from six to five. Give it a couple more years and that number will likely drop even lower as a result of further mergers and acquisitions.

What does this have to do with authors? Nothing if you’ve self-published your book or plan to do so. But if you’re holding out for a call from that elusive agent with connections at a traditional publishing house, be advised that this consolidation means that there will be fewer potential traditional publishing deals out there. And time is running out—the world is ending in a few weeks!

Whether you self-publish or are looking to get published by one of the “Big Six” (soon to be “Big Five,” and counting), your own platform as an author is the key to connecting with readers and customers, and not reliance on any publisher’s existing or nonexistent marketing plans. That’s why we’re going to focus on online author platform building in the Authors Academy in 2013. We’re also raising the membership fees (for new members only) from $17 to $37 on January 1, so now is the time to join and lock in the low charter membership rates. To sign up risk-free, visit http://authorsacademy.com/authors/