Monday, May 23, 2011

We're Here at the Right Time

There is a lot of doom and gloom in the publishing world now a days. The book is dead. "Real" writers can't make money, people are only buying books by celebrities. People don't read anymore. Bookstores are coming to an end. Writers are becoming obsolete.

I don't buy it. I also wonder who's spreading these rumours.

If anything, people are reading more than ever. In my house at any given moment you will find at least two out of the four people reading. Often it's online but it is still reading. Words that must be written by someone, a writer. Books are not dead, they may be changing form but they are certainly not dead. And as for writers, as far as I'm concerned this may be the best time in history to be a writer.

I spent Saturday doing research about ebooks and I became more and more hopeful. Unless you are a rock star writer, the traditional model of publishing has eroded to such an extent that it really does not look good for most of us. If you want your book to have any sort of success you need to know how to market , you need to know the business. Your publisher will require you to be an active part of the marketing team. On top of that, if the book doesn't sell to their expectations you'll be dropped. The traditional model is harsh and getting harsher. But the upside is that the traditional model of publishing is on it's way out. The power is shifting away from agents and big publishing houses and towards writers and smaller independent publishers. People are changing roles. Writers need to be marketers. Agents are becoming publishers. Booksellers are becoming publishers. Writers are also becoming publishers.

On Saturday, I read this article at Kristine Kathryn Rusch blog. Things are changing and they're changing fast. One thing I found hopeful is that you don't have to choose either or. You don't have to run from your traditional publishers and only self publish. Although I'm in the process of self publishing a collection of my short stories, I won't stop doing business with traditional publishers. It will depend on the book. I'm currently working on a book I hope to sell to a publisher that only publishes and distribute ebooks. I could self publish but in this instance, with this book I think this is a better way to go. The choices available to writers are myriad and the power is in our hands. It really is a great time to be a writer. We have all sorts of control over our careers, and we have endless choices of how we want to do things.

I'm going to embrace the change. I'm not fighting it any more. What about you?

13 comments:

Judy Croome said...

Hear! Hear! Lauri, this is so well put. And I agree 100% that we're writing at the write, I mean, right time. An exciting invigorating time that is full of opportunities and potential. I love it!
Judy, South Africa

Sue Guiney said...

I completely agree and have been saying just this for a while now. I think we, as writers, have more power than ever. But, of course, with power always comes more responsibility and that means more work for us as well..namely, promotion. But it's a small price ton pay, I think.

Selma said...

There a lot of opportunities out there. We shouldn't be afraid of the promotions part. I say - GO FOR IT!!!

Joyful said...

I'm not a writer but I'm an avid reader. Personally I prefer paper books and have yet to use Kindle to read books though I've heard some good things. I have purchased several ebooks. The problem with this kind of book is that if you computer happens to fry (and mine has several times over the past several years), you lose your books too. I don't back everything up on disc. Though it is easy enough to do that trying to find what you need again is a bit of a pain. It'll always be a comforting paper book for me, as long as they make them and as long as I can afford to buy them, used or new. Keep on writing and publishing ;-)

Lauri said...

Joyful I'm also a paper book lover but I can see the advantage of Kindle. I like the idea of having a lot of books with me at all times.

Yes Sue, we have more power than ever. I really wonder who's spreading these doom and gloom rumours.

Selma- have you checked out Samshword? I think you should think of putting together an eabook with soem of your blog posts, they're fabulous. And you already have a huge following at your blog, potential buyers.

Tshetsana Senau said...

I'm not an avid reader. I'm the type who'd rather watch the movie. However, I force myself to buy books so that I have to read them. It sounds painful I know, but it's actually quite rewarding in the end when I discover how fun reading is. The idea of kindles for ebooks is fine in terms of storage space and accessibility, but staring long hours into an LCD screen just makes my bad habit of not reading worse. The concept is booming and an advantage to writers, but I think as a reader I'll play it old school for now. :)

As for writing, I believe that self publishing, though some good deals are a little steep on the wallet, is a great way of getting your voice heard if traditional publishing doesn't exactly work out.

Val said...

wonderful to hear this! we have to move with the changes or get left behind eh? i am an avid reader so there will always be one buyer of books while i am around :)

Alexchris123 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alexchris123 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
karen said...

Why not get the best of both worlds? I am a huge lover of traditional books, but I am getting my first e-book reader for my birthday, and am very excited about its immiment arrival, as it is going to be perfect for my lifestyle and location..

Lauri said...

Yes I also believe in the best of both worlds. I don't have a Kindle yet but it is one thing I intend to buy soon. I love owning books but sometimes reading them can be difficult, especially big fat ones. And carrying books around to read in queues can be a bother too. A Kindle will solve that.

Joyful said...

I didn't mean to say I'd never use a Kindle. Whenever I have some spare money...not sure when that will be, I'd like to try one too.

GutsyWriter said...

I am noticing from the comments I get back from agents, that the NY publishers want nothing to do with "unknown" writers as far as memoirs go. They only want celebrities with a platform, and despite all the marketing and networking that we do, that's not enough for the big guys. So I agree there seems to be more opportunities to get published with small presses and I am still not sure which agents have started their own publishing businesses. Do you know where the lists are? Publishers marketplace?