It was interesting (or ironic) that I was going to write a blog posting today and happened across an article in the LA Times. Gotta love Google News feeds.
What struck me about the article is how broken the publishing system is today. It has not transformed fully yet and the processes of submitting to agents, weeding through the submissions, taking risks on new authors, losing money on books that get returned, etc, etc, — it really highlights the difficulties of being a writer today. As I read the article about the hopelessness and despair, it made me appreciate the fact that I have a great day-job (that I’m not earning my income as a writer), that I enjoy writing regardless and will continue to, and it has also made me appreciate those who have read my books and offered feedback. That is the true payoff of a writer.
The future of publishing will be writers using self-publishing venues (there are plenty) and then getting the word out themselves. Rather than relying on a network of bookstore owners and publicists and marketing folks, I think writers will carve their own niches, find their own audiences and use the tools of the internet to make their work available more cost effectively. Those that prefer to read on a Kindle or an iPad can consume it that way. Those who prefer audio books will get the content that way. Those who want it in hard-cover or soft-cover, or in any shape or size will pick what they want and it will show up in the mail or pop out of an Espresso Book Machine (which Google has been touting lately). The consumer will get the content in the form factors they want.
That is the future of publishing.