1.7.11

WSJ op ed on the ebook self pubbing gold rush

Eric Felton has a lot to say about the brave new world in his excellent op ed "Cherish the Book Publishers - You'll Miss Them When They're Gone":
"It isn't just the elusive prospect of riches that excites the untold thousands of hopefuls crowding into the new self-publishing space. They are buoyed by escaping the grim frustrations of trying to get published the old-fashioned way...It's only natural for those locked out to despise the gatekeepers, but what about those of us in the reading public? Shouldn't we be grateful that it's someone else's job to weed out the inane, the insipid, the incompetent? Not that they always do such a great job of it...

Look in the forums Amazon hosts for its Kindle "direct publishers" and you won't find many posts asking how to do the basics of traditional book production—copy editing, anyone? But there are plenty of threads with titles like "Promote your book" and "review swapping?"—orgies of desperate back-scratching that make old-school literary logrolling seem downright genteel."
Read the rest. Then let's talk. I think he makes some excellent points, but misses the bottom line: the complete devaluation of the craft of writing. I'm not terribly concerned about publishers going the way of the Mohican. They'll survive by paying less and less as more writers clamber for fewer opportunities. The endangered species here is the author.

My first novel was pubbed in 1996, and I've done about a dozen books since then, several of them NYT bestsellers, either under my own name or as a ghostwriter. The industry has undergone a tectonic shift in that time and, in my humble opinion, not kept up with changes. Dedication to craft isn't rewarded in the brick publishers a whole lot more than it is in the mosh pit of self-publishing. There's an agonizingly thin tier of people who make it big, under that a moderate strata of folks like myself who make a good living, for which we are grateful. Then there's the other 96%: a roiling, frustrated, passionate and increasingly empowered population of people who are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

I'm in the process of self-pubbing my backlist titles (though I'd like to think I've had enough experience in the industry to call myself a small publisher, as opposed to an author who self-pubs) and my hope is to gather a coalition of other midlist authors who made it past the gatekeepers of old school publishing and can offer books that will elevate the quality of accessibly priced ebooks. Authors do need to band together to support each other, not as incestuous back-scratchers, but as a craft alliance.

Traditional publishing isn't about ink and paper. It's about artistic integrity, zeal for writing, respect for careful editing, thoughtful presentation. All those are possible in the brave new world of ebooks.

Popular Posts

Do not compromise, for only the valiant can create. ~ Frank Capra

Browse by topic...

#Alzheimers #BloodCancerAwarenessMonth #dementia #howilibrary #MothersDay #sxsw #yougottohavefriends alternative cancer treatment Amazon American Cancer Society anger art ask ashley astroid galaxy tour autotune Bald in the Land of Big Hair bee gees bernie blood cancer Blood Cancer Awareness Month blue mercy blues brothers book review boxer rebellion cancer carnet de voyage CASUAL VACANCY cat stevens chemo brain chemotherapy chevy ssr City of Dark Magic climate change coping with cancer craig thompson Crazy for Trying crazy on you dave brubeck declaration of independence deep cotton did you feel like going like that dinah washington Django rheinhardt Dune dwight okita earth to joni english Enough About Me environment erica jong europe family far enough from heaven farewell summer fear of flying feminism First You Write free book gabby gifford garden of your mind ghostwriting gloria estefan gloria gaynor go with god gore vidal gotta get a message to you graphic novel grateful dead great words hanging by a thread happy holidays have a listen heart HIPPIE BOY homeopathic care hunger games hurricane isaac I feel better now I'll Have What She's Reading I'm So Effing 50 IFTTT iggy pop indie love Indie Pub Adventure Ingrid Ricks Instagram J.A. Konrath James Joyce jeff zaslow JK Rowling Joni's List just sayin kenton nelson kickstarter kill smartie breedlove kindle freebie lead zep League of Extraordinary Authors led zeppelin legitimate rape Leukemia Lymphoma Society life life in general lisa hamilton literary fiction love love and other natural disasters lymphoma Lymphoma Reasearch Foundation Magnus Flyte mavis staples memoir Merry Christmas most awesome thing ever mother daughter movie mr. rogers Music My Memories of a Future Life mystery Nancy G Brinker nerdgasm nina simone non sequitur nora ephron orna ross Orts and Excerpts parenting with cancer people being people photobomb Planned Parenthood poetry politics Promise Me prospect of my arrival publishing news random loveliness ray bradbury red cross Relay for Life remix research rabbit holes richard III richard linklater robin gibb Roz Morris sex shakespeare slide whistle social support Something Awful stairway to heaven stella link books stella's umbrella Sugarland survivorship Susan G Komen for the Cure sxsw sylvia plath that explains a lot The Book Biz The Hurricane Lover the last lecture The Secret Sisters theme song du jour todd akin Trailer Park travel unfairly awesome waking life william Gay woo woo writing craft yeats you've got mail