The Current Model
Kristine Katherine Rusch wrote a brilliant article about the problems the publishing industry is currently facing in trying to adapt to the quickly changing climate of ebooks and the huge influx of indie authors.
She’s right. Many of us who grew up in the scarcity model of publishing (I love her terminology) did have a difficult time transitioning to the new way of thinking. I know that once I changed my thinking not only did I find more success with my writing, but my only use for a publisher now is to help grow my audience. I don’t know that I could go back to a “professional” writer pay-scale based on the old model. Not after tasting a livable writing wage. (If you’re a writer and you want to contact me privately, we can discuss livable writing wages.)
And of course publishers can’t operate by paying their authors what myself and some other Indies are making. It’s a sad fact. It used to be that you had to be published by a big publisher to gain legitimacy. There was no other way to get your books on the bookshelf. So if you were chosen for publication it was a big deal. As much as it pains me to say this – this is no longer the case. Now, anyone with a computer can be a published writer whether they’re any good or not.
Even so, I am not daunted by the direction the publishing industry is going. I think it’s exciting both as a reader and as a writer. With the new model, writers don’t have to write formulaic fiction anymore. Readers aren’t limited to what they can read, either. They will be more readily able to find books that include topics they’re interested in. Once taboo topics to a mainstream publisher, like Satanic characters who aren’t *evil* and sex magick, are no longer off the table. We can also write experimental fiction and test it on the market.
Big publishers will catch up and figure out how to make the current model work, it’s just going to take some time and they will never have a shortage of writers because there will always be writers who don’t want to do it themselves and who will work for lower wages in exchange for not having deal with the production/business side of things. Some publishers have even opened up editorial arms to help DIY authors edit and format their MS for publication (a brilliant move IMHO).
What I see in the current model is opportunity for a larger number of writers. What do you see?