It’s no surprise to anyone who reads the blog that I’m a little obsessed with England and the past. In fact, every manuscript and story idea I’ve written in the last three years has been set around two hundred years ago in the regency period. I’ve even convinced my dh to move the family to Great Britain should we ever be in a position to do so. But until that lucky day, I need to focus on the here and now, including trying to make sense of the future of publishing.
Given the recent failures of Borders both in the US and here in Australia, it seems the chances of securing shelf space for a new novel has become that much more difficult. For a new author with their first book about to hit the shelves, now non-existent shelves, it must be a particularly nerve wracking time, especially if they weren’t totally onboard with the increasing popularity of ebooks.
As I read through my daily dose of blogs and twitter posts I notice that every man and his dog has an opinion on which way the cards will fall. The only thing I can be sure of is that to succeed, to get a new book before readers, the authors must remain in control of their careers.
I’m newish to the publishing world, just over three years as an author, but I listen a lot and one of the first things I learned was that getting an agent and landing a contract with one of the big six publishing houses should be my priority. However if the big six have less places to shelf their sparkly new books then new authors have far less chance of securing space next to the NYT bestsellers.
Given all I’ve read in the last six months I no longer believe print publishing should be my priority. I’m already digitally published, and quite happy with how things have gone. And I’m reading of more and more established authors taking the initiative to digitally independently publish their backlist. I’m proud of them for embracing change. Good stories, well told, deserve to be available to readers and the beauty of digital publishing is the endless shelf space. No more hunting for an authors back list in every secondhand bookshop you find, not that I don’t love secondhand book shops, but its easier now to discover an author’s backlist with a few clicks of a button.
But that does beg the question: With established authors self-publishing their work and new authors considering it too could Indie publishing become the norm? And will readers care?
Ooh, late addition to the blog. I just stumbled upon this video of Margaret Atwood speaking at the O'Reilly TOC Conference. She very funny.