The REAL elephant in the room

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elephant in the roomAt a recent meeting of the Woman’s Writing Festival, the future of mainstream publishers was brought up.  Though it was a casual comment at first, the subject became more insistent, with some suggesting that soon the majority of books available to the public would be self-published, essentially putting most traditional publishers out of business.

Although the discussion of these writers centered around the impact on writers of the traditional publishers’ absence, I don’t see that as the big issue writers should be addressing.  I also don’t see the balance between self-published and traditionally-published books to be the big issue.  The real issue here is this: When most books available to the public are self-published, how is the public going to find them? Continue reading

The new class system

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Donald MaassAuthor, agent and blogger Donald Maass has written a nice post about what he describes as the new class system in publishing that’s developed as the industry has moved forward.  He does not see an industry of dinosaurs slowly being replaced by the plucky mammals gaining evolutionary dominance.

What’s happened instead is an evolution of the publishing world into a new class system, and like any class system it has winners, losers and opportunities. It’s a system that, if not recognized for what it is, will trap frustrated writers in a pit far more hopeless than the one they yearned to escape.  Continue reading

Do we need a publishing industry?

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A recent article by Eoin Purcell examined the damage done to the publishing industry by the Agency pricing scheme.  His take on it was that publishers had lost the battle and the war to maintain their position in the publishing industry, and that it was about time for existing publishers to make way for the new breed of publishers, or find a way to re-invent themselves to take advantage of the new digital era.

Eoin’s impression is that the publishing industry must evolve, or perish and be replaced.  But I wonder about that: Do we need a replacement for the publishing industry’s existing players?  Do we need a publishing industry at all? Continue reading