Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On Publishers

I believe change in all industries happening right now, being forced through new technologies, is a revolution that one day we'll look back on and say, 'Oh yeah, I watched that whole thing unfold.' Just like older generations watched vinyl change to 8-Track which gave way to cassette tape which bowed out for CD's which are now dwindling for digital music.
We've already seen tremendous industry changes.  Think of the music industry.  Artists are not only promoting themselves, they're good at it.  And you know what else?  Listeners are good at finding what they love and discarding what they believe sucks.  But the best part is, it's the listeners making that choice, not a guy behind a desk watching market trends and deciding that this guy in his office will be the next big thing and not the other guy in the waiting room simply because this guy has a sound like that other band already on the radio.  Listeners don't choose music because of market predictions.

Books are no different.  Publishers want you to believe that they are the last bastion between you, the reader, and all those 'wannabe authors' out there whose writing you simply won't enjoy because this guy behind a desk said you wouldn't.  Readers tend to be pretty damn smart people.  Because the internet has changed the way we view the world, brought us instantaneous access to decision making tools, we the people are demanding certain things.  A large demand right now is for 'real' things.  Not reality TV real - whatever that is.  Real real.  Meaning people doing what they love and it shows.  People being honest about who they are.  Artists offering that up for the sake of sharing their passion.

The reason publishers are making so much noise about this is plain and simple fear.  They are losing ground in the world and oops, that's scary.  If publishers continue to favor well-known authors, famous people's memoirs while not proffering much in the way of marketing for most any of their authors, self-publishing will drown them.  They need to ask themselves what they have to offer an author that justifies the author giving up the majority of the profits on the book they wrote.  Because authors will be asking them that, should be asking them that.  If you are real, love writing and write the best book you can, the tools to get your book not only published but also marketed are at your fingertips.  

As for having to sift through bad books to find good ones - bring it.  I'd argue we readers have been doing that with traditionally published books already.


jaded said...

Well said. Technology is leveling the playing field in a way that makes insiders squeamish.

I suppose it could be argued that this is similar to "everyone is a winner" but the truth is closer to "everyone has the opportunity".

Lynnea said...

Jaded, exactly. There is no doubt we will be inundated with tons of great and tons of horrid books. But the fact that everyone has the opportunity is the beauty of it. and that we as the consumers get to be the choosers - I love that the most.