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Tuesday, October 18, 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 too 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.  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 alot are crap. In the traditional publishing industry this was known as the slush pile.
Ultimately the public who determines who will become a success as a writer or wallow in obscurity.  To my fellow Indie Authors (Independent Authors) best of luck, keep writing, learning and improving your craft.  We will  rise or fall, based off the 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 based off of word of mouth.  One friend who reads telling another friend about this great book they are reading! 

To the Traditional Publishing world!
The largest of tempests announces itself a simple breeze.  The wind is blowing, and the 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 I want to be noticed seems to have dropped to 99 cents or free.  This is great for readers!

I also would love to see the reading public join in the revolution and become Beta readers for Indie Authors.  For those who know English but have no burning desire to write a book, find an Indie Author and offer your editing skills for FREE.  It may take a bit until you find a perfect fit, with an author you can get along with and will be receptive to your editing.  It may turn into a sideline job if the Indie Author starts climbing the ranks as a successful author, because they will pay then or lose you, and right know the going prices are between three and five dollars a page for editing!  For a 500 page book that translates into 1500 to 2500 for a single book.  Find two or three up and coming authors and in a few years when they can quit their their job to write full time you can quit your job and edit full time.

I also throw this out there for people who are doing art work and want a career in graphics arts, find some Indie Authors and maybe do six to eight book covers for FREE and if the author starts taking off start charging for your work.  When you get a good reputation as a cover artist and get a good following of authors you will have your own business.  The same could be said for the large group of people making YouTube Videos of senseless stupid crap and not getting paid for it, why not make free book movie trailers and have it grow into your own production company in a few years.

I have posted stuff and had discussions on some on-line forums about this very subject and two things are brought up.
1.  These already exist, except you have to pay a few thousand dollars for the services. 
         FREE the bulk of newbie Indie Authors are writing in the evenings, weekends, while caring for families, holding down full time jobs, and etc.  They live paycheck to paycheck.  They can't afford to borrow or just pay a few thousand dollars on a whim.  Many who will be using said services will not become successful.  The editors, artists and movie makers will dump them and people will not buy their books.  Some will become huge in short order.  One thing I have noticed about readers is they all know GOOD writing when they read it!! 
2.  People will take advantage of the editors, artists, and movie makers.  Most people are decent and honest or society would collapse upon itself within a week or two.  When the right group gets together it will be magic and they pay and work together and all participants will be pushing the success of the combined efforts for the mutual credit and success of the group.  I have even heard of a group where everything is done for free up front but each contributor gets a portion of the proceeds up to a certain predetermined amount then after each person is paid for their part the author keeps the balance from then on out.  This will work and will be HUGE and DYNAMIC as soon as somebody brilliant puts it all together.

Part of this post is a re post of an earlier post from a few months ago.

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