The slow death of an industry
Hello Rebel Alliance. Today, I am going to tackle the sticky conversation that people seem to want to avoid, but needs to be addressed.
The death of the traditional publishing industry.
Okay, okay, so it's not dying, per se, but it IS the end of the world as we knew it. For most of us authors, we grew up dreaming of a day when we'd finish a manuscript, find an agent and get a publishing deal...not even knowing where that road would lead. But now, we do know and we do not like it.
Finding an agent is hard. Hell, it can be damn near impossible. Most agents at this point require a referral to even get your manuscript read. So you need an agent to get an agent. What? Yeah. For a new author, this is an insanely daunting task.
Best case scenario, you get an agent. Yay! Congratulations. The agent will take your manuscript and tear it down, then build it back up. Often, the story you have submitted is not the story you receive back. The changes they "suggest" are actually required if you want them to sub your book to publishing houses. You may hate the direction they took your story, but if you want to go this route, you'll suck it up and do as your told.
Best case scenario, step two, a publishing house accepts your manuscript. Hooray! You're going to be a published author...eventually. First, the editor at the publishing house will demand their own changes. Now, your Dystopian Menage Zombie Thriller, is more of a YA Adventure with a watered down romantic subplot. But hey, fame, fortune, book tours...oh, wait.
You are a first time author. In six months to a year, they will do the initial print run of, maybe, a few thousand copies. They will not do any promotion for you. Let me say that again for the authors in the back. THEY WILL NOT DO ANY PROMOTION FOR YOU. It is up to you, buttercup, to promote the hell out of yourself. You must take this new story, that you barely had a hand in writing the final draft of, with a cover you did not choose, and a minuscule print run, and you must pimp the ever-loving-fuck out of it if you want to sell out your first run. Oh, and by the way, your publisher has to approve any promotion you choose to do on your own books behalf. No. I'm not kidding.
For this, you are rewarded with 10-15% of the sales, but you also have to give your agent a cut. Yeah. There is very little fame or fortune for a first time author. Sure, there are exceptions, there always are, but the exceptions are so few and far between, they almost aren't worth mentioning.
Do this, next time you're in a bookstore. Look at how many books are on the shelves. See if you recognize any author names or titles. For about 85% of them, I'll bet you won't. Because no one is talking about them. There is also a reason there are only 1 or 2 of each title on the shelf. The publisher barely printed any, so they have set you up to fail from the get go.
Is it any wonder that authors are fleeing the New York Publishing scene by the droves? The publishers are pushing us away with both hands. No support. No promotion. No say in our own work. What the hell kind of deal is that?
There was a time when being Self-Published was embarrassing. People only self-published if they couldn't get accepted by big houses or agents. But today, Self-Publishing is smart. The author has total control. They get to keep up to 70% of the money earned on their hard work. They get to choose the cover, they get to pick their audience, they get to promote however the hell they want. That is why this is the future of publishing. Because the big guys have told us they don't want us anymore.
I follow many, many A-List authors, the BIG GUNS in the publishing world. And I have seen many of them talking about moving to Self-Publishing. Can you imagine? With direct publishing and Print On Demand, the industry is being turned on it's head. Writers that have always deserved a shot, can pull the trigger themselves.
For me, I am incredibly fortunate to be part of a sub-category of publishing. I have a wonderful Indie Publisher, Resplendence Publishing. They are the best possible middle ground I could have ever imagined. Not only do we have a say in edits, covers, and promotion. But the owners are accessible to us any time we need them. They support us, they encourage us, and they help us.
This is what I am excited for. We authors now have options available to us that twenty years ago we never could have imagined. It's a wonderful time to be a writer.
If you have any questions or comments I'd love to hear from you. Be sure to follow me on social media (links to the left.) I love to talk with you guys and I also really like to give stuff away, so watch for me on the interwebs!