Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why Publishers are Missing the Boat

No matter how hard we try, we can't fight change.  It seems to happen all around us when we're not paying attention until, suddenly, we're standing off to the side asking ourselves how we missed it.  In truth, we don't simply miss it - WE IGNORE IT.  It's like those old blue jeans hanging in the far back corner of your closet - I call mine the "Elephant Graveyard".  Those are the old jeans that I could fit into a few years ago...that I really, really planned to be able to fit into last year...but I'm still not going to get into this year.  We all have them.  They didn't just happen, either.  We ignored the subtle changes until we HAD to change, but we still cling to our past.

Today I read an excellent post by a literary agent, Rachelle Gardner - "Are We Ready for Change: What the Publishing Community can Learn from Kodak".  What Ms. Gardner points out, as many writers and other agents concur, is the fact that the publishing industry has been slow to accept and embrace the changes going on in the world of printed media.  Their collective ship, as it were, is very likely going to run aground or capsize in the near future.  There is nothing wrong with the vessel, mind you, that a change in leadership cannot correct.

While many media outlets have managed to get on board, (I point to the Wall Street Journal, for instance) many publishers of books are still trying to fit into their old, skinny jeans.  Not even lying on the bed and sucking it in is going to help. Eventually you'll need to stand up and breathe - or pass out. Trust me on this.

Authors, like me, are writing and uploading our work to and earning the same margin of profit as we would had we gone the traditional route.  Going through a literary agent takes away some of your money and creativity.  Waiting for a publisher to pick YOUR novel as one of the eight they might publish this year...well, this is damning to a creative mind.  Of course, the Big Six have a superior marketing apparatus in place. However, in today's electronic marketplace, do they really have that clear of an advantage?  The truth is, if they can do it, so can everybody else.

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