Friday, March 18, 2011
Mark Coker: The Author Uprising Against Big Publishing
Okay, a couple of observations about that article. First, I think equating the changes in publishing, fast and furious though they may be, with the revolution in Egypt is real eye-rolling material.
Other than that, though, the article definitely pegs some of the problems with Big Publishing for both writers and readers, like shrinking advances and promotional budgets, narrowing selection (with choices made by marketing people trying to predict the future and often failing), etc. I think the rise of electronic self-publishing is a strong push-back against that, and lord knows I'm excited about the prospects of having readers actually make the decisions on what's "commercial" enough and what's not.
All that said...unlike some people I know, I'm not predicting or hoping for the demise of print publishing, or even of the so-called "Big 6." I'm not anxious to see the stranglehold of MacMillan, Harper Collins, et. al, replaced by the stranglehold of Apple, Amazon and B & N. I don't want to see the "Big 6" turn into the "Big 3." I think if that happens, those lovely 70% author's cuts for e-books are going to fall by the wayside.
What I'm hoping is that the rise of alternative markets expands rather than contracts our reading choices and that the competition leads the Big 6 into abandoning some of their occasionally ridiculous and counterproductive ways of doing business that hang on for no other reason than "because that's how it's done."
So far, given some of the statements I've read from publishing insiders who do little but carp about the problems with self-pubbing (and there are quite a few), I'm not seeing that happening. But, we live in hope.
Posted by JD Rhoades at Friday, March 18, 2011