My author friends are up in arms over the whole ebook thing and the decline of traditional publishing. No one knows what’s going on, including The People in New York–the publishing houses, editors, agents–and they’re the people we rely on to guide us.
No one knows what the publishing landscape is going to look like in the future, even the very near future, and it’s scary. Libraries are reducing hours or closing, independent book stores are like endangered species, Borders is in big trouble.
Authors rightly see it as a threat to their livelihood. And I agree. It’s really scary. The economy in general is terrifying. Even in my little neighborhood, it seems like anything having to do with the arts–the used CD store, the classic cinema, one of the two used book stores–is going under.
I don’t like it either. It’s the end of an era. Worse, it seems like the the impersonal (Amazon, Starbucks, WalMart) and the unprincipled (banks and their bonus-receiving executives) are thriving.
But other than supporting the small businesses with my money, I don’t know what else I can really do. It seems like being fearful and bitter about the future just doesn’t help.
And I do feel ridiculously optimistic about the future of publishing. I think the whole ebook thing is exciting and I think self-publishing (which does best with ebook format) seems really cool.
My traditionally published friends look like they’re going to throw up when I say this, but I really want to try self-publishing.
Not sure which of my darlings I’d be willing to send off into the wilds of Amazon.com to see if they could survive, but it’s definitely an experiment I want to try this year.
This Minnesota author Amanda Hocking couldn’t get published, so she did it herself and has sold 500,000 paranormal books for teens in less than a year.
I read her first book Switched, which is a fairytale-ish book about (not-ugly) trolls. I liked it a lot. I’m not positive I’d have the courage to self-publish, though. I’m not sure if my theoretical optimism has caught up with actions quite yet. We’ll see!