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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Publishing Revolution

If you go back several hundred years ago, and you wanted a book you would a) have to write it or b) go to a bookseller and buy a hand written copy of a book.  Scribes would work copying books their entire lives, this is a profession that dates way back.

Then along came the printing press in it's various forms.  Today we are seeing a revolution in publishing that has not been seen since the first days of printing.  Between the printing press, and pioneers like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and countless others who inspired and opened up avenues for the printed words and the spreading of ideas, thoughts and opinions faster than ever before in history.

Since the early days of writing up to the advent of the computers and the Internet the publishing industry grew and flourished and entrenched itself in the ways of getting published.  Agents, query letters, editors, publishers, subsidiary publishing, and the many other forms grew to become the giants in a multi-billion dollar industry and they held all the keys and chips.  Why shouldn't they?  There are so many more people on the earth today and more than ought to desire more than anything to become a published author. 

Let's face reality for a moment.  Everybody has a story!  If even a small portion of the population takes the time to record the story in some fashion, that still adds up to a huge amount.  There are only so many publishers, printing presses, editors, agents, and viable means to get your story into print.  It takes massive persistence, LUCK, timing, getting your story to the right person to even be noticed among the tidal wave of stories, possible books, and people dreams.  I hate to think of the literary works of genius the world has missed because of missed opportunity, bad timing, etc.  One thing is for certain, of the mounds of crap the age old process shifts through they do find a produce some real gems and make some authors look pretty amazing, which only helps to fuel the desire of the masses to join their ranks.

Now for the first time since the invention of the Printing Press a new Revolution is taking shape in several stages simultaneously.
1.  Anyone can publish almost anything for free with e-publishing.
2.  For the first time since the Tower of Babel incident can the entire world communicate - if you have a computer!  We didn't reinvent a common language as the earth had at one time, but the Internet lets you chat, E-mail, share ideas and communicate across the language barrier that has existed for centuries with out having to learn multiple languages yourself.

This is the amazing part of this Revolution.  The reading public gets to play the roles of agent, editor, and decide who will be the next literary greats and who will remain in obscurity.  Of all the books that are out there available for downloading pieces for the public to sample most are crap, I know I am a major contributor to the new published crap.  As I continue to write and get better at it, as I gain notoriety, sales, and hopefully a reputation as a good writer it will ultimately be the public who determines whether I become a success as a writer or wallow in obscurity.  To my fellow Indie Authors (Independent Authors) best of luck, keep at learning and improving your craft.  We will  rise or fall, based off our merits and skills at turning a decent tale and the most polished work we can produce.  I still firmly believe that every great book makes it or not based off of word of mouth.  Of course the Holy Grail of word of mouth is from Oprah's book club, but she is bigger than Face Book and Amazon combined. 

To the Traditional Publishing world, the largest of tempests announces itself a simple breeze.  The wind is blowing, and times are changing.  There will be a market for traditional books for years to come.  I do still dream of getting traditionally published someday in the future, but it will be with a following of loyal readers and a new smash hit series of books.  If they are decent and cooperative I may let them traditionally publish some of my previous E-books.  The times are changing.  I see a day when agents have to entice authors to get their business.  When authors get famous and notoriety before they get traditionally published.  Unfortunately the reading public is now going to be the recipients of tons of trash to sift through in trying to find the next up and coming great authors.  The upside is the price of want to be noticed seems to have dropped to free or 99 cents.


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