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Authors and Their Books > Past perfect: future looks bleak for publishers

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message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann Massey (flyingfinish) | 14 comments Is the golden age of publishing over

‘You can keep on knocking but you can’t come in - is no longer true as the market is swamped by self-published books. Droves of writers are bypassing publishing houses in favour of DIY. No longer does an author wanting to self publish have to commit a large sum of money upfront to buy thousands of copies of his title and then have to sell them himself. One of the most welcome by-products of digital technology has been the development of on-line publishers that offer free publishing tools to assist aspiring writers to complete and sell their work without having to spend a cent.

How does DIY affect publishers

Ironically, it is the excluders who are finding themselves excluded. Mainstream publishers that would only consider work submitted by a literary agent, the famous or, a relative of someone eminent in the literary industry, are being bypassed by a new breed of writers who refuse to slink away, completely demoralized. It’s true that independent authors can’t compete with mainstream publishers when it comes down to selling to book chains but book shops are on the wane and on-line shopping is in ascendancy and you don’t need a sales/marketing /publicity department or a huge budget to market on the net.

It has always been difficult for self-published authors to be taken seriously by the literary reviewers, snobbishness is alive and well in the media. But the media is small bikkies compared to the world wide web. Savvy writers are writing blogs or articles, joining book communities, forums and social networking to market their books on the net and, the general public doesn’t give a toss. The publisher doesn’t come into the equation when it comes to buying a book.

What lies ahead

The future doesn’t look good for publishers with sky rocketing printing costs, decreasing numbers of retail outlets, escalation in on-line shopping and acceptance by readers of e-books Competition from hordes of independent authors who are prepared to take control of their own destinies is just another nail in the coffin.

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message 2: by Emily (new)

Emily Hill | 40 comments I think 'The Golden Age' of publishing is in FRONT of us.

NY literary agents have reported receiving up to 15,000 queries a year in the recent past. With only 6 to 8 titles making the gauntlet and the rest back-listed, something was bound to give way.

That 'give way' was the advent of eReaders, ease and access of publishing platforms to debut authors [not to mention authors who are now, as I type, trying to wrest their work away from publishers so that they too can get in on the self-publish boom. The perfect storm resulting in threatening clouds on the horizon for publishing houses.

It's a literary sport now to watch Robin Sullivan's '1000 list' grow as ePub authors hit the jackpot [Hocking, Konrath, Winters, et al] Why, two weeks ago PW cited a poll of agents, 90% of whom stated that they had big name clients looking at the option of self-publishing for their future works. PW noted that the agents polled "were not worried" about this emerging flight toward more fair royalties. "Not worried"? I had to stifle a guffaw!

You are correct! DIY absolutely does affect traditional publishers who are trying to convert as many titles as possible to eReader format [news of Alex Haley's 'Roots' comes immediately to mind] to keep up with the trend. And Alan Rinzler declaring 2010 as 'the year self-publishing lost its stigma'.

You are a successful futurist, Ms. Massey, when you cite the eventual demise of big publishing houses. All Smart Cookies Can Self-Publish A One-Step-at-A-Time 2011 Guide to Independent Publishing by Emily Hill


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