Given unlimited resources, how would you change the publishing world?
Week Four in the Writerly Chronicles from my Orangeberry Book Tour:
Actually, thanks to Amazon.com and the ease with which self-publishing has allowed anyone to enter the market, I think the publishing world is doing a great job of going through it’s own rapid evolution and requires no help from me. The gate-keepers of literary agents and publishing houses have, like the little man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz, lost a great deal of their power in the past few years. While they will always play a vital and important role in the market, luckily for us, they are no longer the only avenue to publication.
The best outcome of this revolution in publishing is that it doesn’t take unlimited resources to play the game. The barriers to entry have been virtually eliminated thanks to the advent of the e-reader and the availability of venues for free publication.
Remember when you had to spend months querying agents in New York, just hoping to find one who would represent you and your book? That process was like playing the lottery. It could take months or you could win on your first try. But that was only the first step.
The next wait came when your agent sent your book out to publishers. Then the beauty contest began again. If the book was not picked up by a publisher, you might be asked to re-write the book, your agent might drop you, or she might wait around while you wrote a second book.
If you were lucky enough to find a publisher to take on your book, you had to hope that it would become the victim of the revolving door of editors moving from house to house. If you were lucky your book might see the shelves of a bookstore one and a half years after your typed ‘The End’.
Now, all of that has changed. In my mind, for the better.
Today you can take matters into your own hands and self-publish your work and get your book into the hands of readers immediately.
Yes, you do still need to have your work edited. An eye-catching book cover will help you stand out from the crowd. And working up a consistent marketing campaign will help readers to find you.
The key is that all of these opportunities and responsibilities are now in your hands.
Which is why, in my mind, today is the best time in the history of the world to be a writer. The only thing stopping you is your willingness to do the work. Which means that really, you have all the unlimited resources you could ever need!