Thursday, July 14, 2011

Why Don't People Get It?

I've been hanging out in various writer/author/publisher/etc. groups on LinkedIn for a while, and there's one persistent issue that still gets me going: why don't more people see what's happening with publishing?

Yes, there are thousands and thousands of authors, agents, and publishers that DO get it.  They are embracing the changes that are happening right now, on nearly a daily basis it seems.  They are adapting to the new world, and doing well because of it.  What I mean is:  they understand the power of the ebook.

Ebooks, regardless of your love or hate for them, are here to stay and are a growing portion of the publishing industry.  The group that has embraced this new technology, with the various ereaders that are out there (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony, and many others), are indie publishers.  These people are running like mad to take advantage of what this sea-change in publishing means.

What does it mean?  It means that no longer will an author have to wait months and months (like 12, 18, 20 or more months) to see their work available to the public.  It means that no longer are agents and publishers the ones that will decide what the public will be able to see; now, readers themselves will vet the books, and the ones that are good will be read by many, while those that are poor will be read by few.  It means that authors will finally be able to make some real money, and there will be more authors that will be able to make a living off of their writing.  It means that books can be discovered over the course of years, if not decades, rather than having to make all of their sales in just a few weeks and then disappear.

You know what also fits the above mold?  POD, or print-on-demand, books.  Yes, if you really like a book, you can still get it in paperback.  Even years after it was first published.  And a bookstore doesn't have to physically stock the book, and will only produce one when its sold.  Have you ever heard of the Espresso Book Machine?  It will produce, from blank paper and card stock, a completed book, printed, bound and ready to read, in 10 minutes.  Think about that:  10 MINUTES!  This is a proven concept, and will become more prevalent in time.

The old guard of publishing is going away, sometimes with a fight.  As an author, now is the best time to be an author in at least the last 40 years, and probably more.  As a publisher, think about all of the great books that you couldn't publish because you didn't have the capacity or you weren't sure if they would sell.  Now, you can see what readers want, and you've got a track record from the indie publishers who are selling hundreds, if not thousands of copies of their novel each MONTH.

Wow, what a time we live in!