I survived StellarCon and had a blast. OMG–I am so going back next year, as long as they’ll have me. And as long as I’m on the topic, MystiCon was fun, too. It was smaller than StellarCon, but definitely had some very cool programming. I loved all of my panels from both conventions.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay for the Traditional pub, e-pub, indie-pub, oh my. Where are we headed? panel. But since I couldn’t, I thought I’d bring my views here to my blog. And keep in mind, the majority of us were readers before we were writers. So, this is a topic that pertains to both.
First, I believe the more technologically savvy readers are, the more likely they’ll be the ones to decide who will rise in the publishing world. If you don’t believe me, think about cells phones. Once the technology improved and the prices lessened to where everyone could afford one, they took off. Some seemed to be more connected to their fancy phones these days than the one that’s plugged into the wall at home. It’s only a matter of time before ereaders do the same. And even though there are many readers who love the tactile feel of the paper between their fingers, are they really interested in paper or the actual story? Sorry guys, but I buy a book for the story.
So where does that leave readers who cling to the paper? Right where they are now. They’ll still be able to hold a book in their hands (though their choices will lessen) and here’s why I say that.
Contrary to some beliefs, print-first/traditional publishing won’t die a horrible death. They will only keep those authors who they know will sell out of their advance. After all, they’re in this for the money and they’re losing it with every author who hasn’t proven themselves as bestsellers. That means publishers take less chances than they are now and offer fewer advance dollars. Again, they’re not going out of business. Just decreasing their print runs–no thanks to the Borders demise–and their offerings.
This is assuming those publishers embrace ebooks the right way (lesser prices) and they pay their authors a %40 royalty rate. The more traditional publishers concentrate on ebooks, the more there’s a chance they’ll see their bottom line strengthen. Ebooks will give them the revenue they need to keep authors in print and their lights on. After all, ebooks have increased 135% in sales this past year and it keeps getting better. Mass market, hardcover, trade paper, etc. They’ve all gone down. Granted ebooks are still a small part of the market shares, I have a feeling it won’t be like that for much longer. Not when people care about their bottom line as much as the publishers do about theirs. 😉
Epubs who got it right from the get-go or have taken time to earn their reputation, will be around for a LONG time. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they become major players in the publishing world. They’ve been at this game for a while and know the ins and outs. Even better, they adapt way faster than a traditional pub can. When I first came onboard with Samhain, it seemed Chrissy Bashear was working left and right to get our books available in every format and outlet possible. Her willingness to seek out new opportunities has yet to slow down. It took how long for NY to catch on? Epubs have been at this business for years, so they know how to sell an ebook.
As for indie pubs, I have no doubts they’ll survive simply because it’s our world to do whatever we want. We take our work to the readers and don’t look back. There isn’t an editorial review board or a marketing board to go through. No senior editor or an agent involved. It’s all about the writer having direct access to their readers. I think it’ll only get bigger, with traditional and e-pub writers getting into the mix. Indie authors are already forming groups to cross-promote their books and make sure they reach as wide an audience as possible. If anything, this will become the largest field with the most choices available. Now will they be good choices? I can’t say. It’ll depend who decides to go the extra miles of hiring competent editors, cover artists, and getting honest/constructive feedback. It’s a reader’s oyster as much as it is the writer’s.
Personally speaking, I still haven’t taken my eye off NY because they have the massive distribution channels that indie pubs don’t. I see them as the ultimate marketing tool for my indie-published books. When I’ll dip my toes in those waters again, I have no idea and it’s not really my focus right now. I’m concentrating on building Dusk Till Dawn Books.
Agree or disagree? I’d love to know everyone else’s thoughts.