Monday, September 16, 2013
You've got to be brave to be an author...
by Meredith Cole
There are more ways than ever before for a writer to find an audience. But their audience is also distracted by all the ways there are to find stuff to read... Is this good or bad? Depends of course on who you ask.
Traditionally published authors generally come down on the side of "bad news." They worked hard over the years to cultivate relationships with indie bookstores, newspaper reviewers, etc. Now many watch in horror as writers who never had an agent or publisher, self publish and suddenly become a success under the new system. There are algorithms to memorize, and social media to master--and who has time to actually write anymore?
Jeff Bezos thinks it's good, of course. And so do many authors who, after being dumped unceremoniously by their publishers, are now able to republish their backlist in ebook form and make money off of it. And authors who could never get traditional publishing to "buy into" their books think it's an exciting new opportunity. They're making money of their writing (some anyway) and getting feedback via Amazon comments, etc., on their work. They've found fans.
What do I think? I think it's the system we have right now, so we need to all find a comfortable place to be in this "brave new world." It's probably not the end of the world, and it's very likely not the best thing since the printing press was invented. It exists somewhere in the amorphous middle.
When the dust has cleared, we will have less independent bookstores (bad). We will have libraries that look different--probably less books and more computers (ugh). We may or may not have more readers--depending on who you ask. But we will still have writers writing. Some will make a lot of money, some nothing--and most of us will probably be somewhere in the middle. We'll write our stories which will hopefully find new and interested readers, whether on ebook, paper or transmitted into someone's glasses.