Some of my new students this term are asking, “Has the publishing world gone crazy?” Their mouths hang open or they shake their heads as I describe the changes happening all over the industry. I tell them it’s changing fast and to hang onto their literary hats. Crazy? That depends on whom you ask.
Writing Tip for Today: Especially in the self-pub realm, things ARE changing and changing rapidly. As I try to keep students informed, I’m most aware that many writers feel more empowered than they ever have. I have a sneaking feeling, though, that this new-found power will in most cases sputter if authors aren’t paying very close attention. My thoughts:
- A Crowded Field. EVERYone is writing these days. Even if it’s becoming easier to publish (via one of the models such as CreateSpace or Lulu), it’s no easier to actually sell what you publish. In fact, marketing expert Randy Ingermanson points out that as the market gets flooded with substandard fare, readers may have an even harder time finding your gem of a book. He stresses the value of knowing exactly who your reader is.
- Your Power, Your Deal. If authors are empowered they are also responsible–for everything. Although self-publishers offer “marketing packages,” every author must do the work it takes to build an audience. That”s a lot of sitting-on-your-buns-smiling-at-lookers at the county fair. Know what you’re getting yourself into, and be prepared to spend as much as you can for the biggest reach you can gain.
- Good Writing Rises. I think there will always be a demand for good writing. With the self-publishing glut, readers may figure out ways to rebel against bad content. And big publisher players such as the Big Six aren’t going down without a fight. So, although the publishing world is changing fast, most writers who are excellent wordcrafters and who have compelling stories to tell will find ways to connect, whether they publish traditionally or not. Never stop learning and honing your craft–even if it appears that the publishing world is passing you by. Whether you go crazy is entirely up to you.