I'm in the hardest and slowest part—the back and forth as the editor proposes and I dispose. But the process is near its end, and my fourth mystery, The Claret Murders, will finally be available to…Continue
Started this discussion. Last reply by Mark Tillmann May 27, 2012.
I started http://www.whataboutebooks.com after attending an international mystery writers’ in August of 2011.
One of the closing sessions addressed the “Future of Publishing.” The dais of about ten people included authors, editors, agents, and publishers. One of the panelists was the renowned author, Donald Bain, who I understand has recently decided to enter the publishing business. I think he is doing so because he sees the opportunities being created by the creative destruction of the traditional agent/publisher model. At any rate, he was the quietest person on the panel; thus, proving he was the smartest!
As a businessman I realized that most of those on the panel had no idea what was happing to the book business.
There are two certainties in life and business: change is constant, and we are always judged by others.
Everything has a life cycle. If it exists, it is in the process of breaking. Things come into existence, peak, wane, and fade away. Things age, they wear out, they become obsolete, go out of style, etc. Long-term career and business survival is achieved by building one life cycle on top of another—new technology, new processes, new materials, etc.
The old model of agent/publisher/distributor/retailer/library isn’t exempt from the certainty of change. It peaked somewhere in the past and now it is on the downside of its life cycle. A new model brought on by an increasingly digital world has been taking over. The survivors in the book community will embrace the change and reinvent what they do and how they do it. They will shift from the downward path of the old print model’s bell-shaped life cycle curve to the upward climb of the new digital life cycle that is gaining momentum. If you are in the business of books and don’t understand this shift from the old print model to the new digital model, you won’t be in the business much longer.
As for the second certainty, the certainty that we are always judged by others, in the book world, the judges are the readers. A good book will be read; a bad book will not. It doesn’t make any difference if they are ebooks, hardcover editions, trade paperbacks, or books “on tape”. It doesn’t matter if they are self-published, published by the big houses or small publishers. If they are good, people will read them. If they are bad, people will not.
There is one caveat. “What is good” is determined according to the interest, and through the eyes, of the reader—not the author or publisher.