What an opportunity! A chance to get up on that soapbox and tell the world, well maybe just the readers of this blog, that publishing is not dead. This post isn’t news, but a response to the writers with the publishing blues. At least from this writer’s point of view, the industry appears to be morphing into a different reality. There will be more agonizing groans and grunts before a new model emerges. The point to remember is that humankind has been reading since we first learned to make sense of symbols. The manner in which we read may change as we absorb the new technology, but the love of the story and the chance that we might learn something or be entertained is too enticing to be ignored.
Just as there is always someone who foretells the end of the world, an end which appears to be on a fluctuating scale, there are doomsayers in all walks of life. As each antiquated function is retired into obscurity, a sleek new techie function slides into the gap. This is the story of life and renewal, viewed in an industrial sense.
As writers, we must keep an open mind about the possibilities, before we judge which way will suit us best. This is an industry which is a catalyst, existing as a conduit between the author and the intended audience. Publishing can be elitist in some of its manifestations at the highest levels, although each successful book starts in the same way. Someone must write it, unless computer compilation of the subject is desired, a choice that goes against the creative process.
Due to the difficulty in acquiring a representative within the publishing field, self-publishing and e-publishing have become more prominent. These choices haven’t been totally embraced, as most writers believe that a printed book is the epitome of success for the author. The actual measure of success is how well the book is received by the readers, a fact that is dependent on how well it is marketed. Most writers aren’t comfortable with this marketing aspect, which explains the success of companies offering to do the promotional work for a price.
What is needed at this point is direction. There are websites that assist writers in their efforts to be published, and there are many writers’ help sites which will charge you for that help. Some agent blogs or writer sites offer guidelines -- free of charge -- to help writers through some of the process. Just as research is needed to determine which agent or publisher to contact for representation, so research is also needed to find out which newsletters or blogs/websites are suitable for your purposes.
I’ve listed my favourite picks for sites on this blog in another post, 'My Pick of Writer Sites and Blogs'. Checking some of these links might save you a little time, or provide a starting point for your own research. In summary, industries and technology continue to change and unlike those sixties bands that seem to keep on rockin’ the oldies, you must continue to evolve or find yourself on the sidelines.
July 7, 2009