In which I detail my adventures in writing and publishing

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Future of Publishing

The minute you try to predict the future, watch out! That's only one of the reasons why I don't gamble except for nickel stakes with my golf buddies, where I believe I have some influence on the outcome

Take a look at this post by Joe Konrath over at his blog:

If you read it and don't agree that traditional publishing is in the midst of a revolution, I'm not sure we can agree on anything.

More evidence: popular agent/blogger Nathan Bransford has retire from the agency business. Now I don't know Nathan personally and there are probably lots of good reasons why he switched careers besides the e-book revolution, but it has to have entered into his calculus. He happens to be an e-book fan, I believe, but the writing on the screen is this: self published e-books have never had it so good, and it's going to get better, both for established authors and those trying to break in.

The quality issue remains too important to ignore. One of the snarks written about self published books is that the quality control is lacking. Yeah, it is easier for anyone with a computer and limited grammatical skills to publish a book than in the days when you had to spend big bucks on a vanity publisher to accomplish the same feat.

The problem with mainstream publishing now is that they are all looking for the next blockbuster to fill their coffers with gold, meaning that a lot of quality writers don't get book offers; or if they do, the marketing support is non-existent and the books sell poorly. A write like Joe Konrath, who has made his mark and has a bunch of mid-list books to his credit can make a lot more on e-books where he can make 70% instead of whatever peanuts mainstream publishers offer.

In my projection of the future, agents will diminish in importance and free lance editors will see their stars begin to shine. Maybe some agents will do more editing of books that have potential but need polishing. The free market has never looked so good. Mainstream publishing has been cartel-like in its control of access of the reading public to new authors. The advance of technology has broken the game wide open and a writer's destiny is more in his own hands than in the moldy boardrooms of New York.

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