Are Publishers No Longer Necessary?

Our world keeps changing dramatically – and the publishing world is no different.  There are varying opinions of where things are going with the publishing industry. Here are just two, from different sides of the coin:

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/08/end-is-nigh.html

http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2011/08/lets-learn-right-lesson.html

Being a SF author, not a seer nor a time-traveler, I can’t say I have any definitive answers. I guess I’ll just stand aside and watch. When I have my next books (I have two WIPs at the moment) ready, I’ll have to make a decision. Until then,  I’ll keep writing (and teaching Fiction Writing *grin*).

What do you think is the future of traditional publishers?

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6 thoughts on “Are Publishers No Longer Necessary?

  1. I think some will survive, some will die off. But they’ll be around. What services they will be offering may be a different questions. They’ll have to carve out a spot in the publishing services that writers can’t easily do themselves in exchange for the rights they are buying up. And there will always be authors who don’t want to do the work themselves. As long as that is true, there will be people to help them…selves to the money. 😉

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  2. Just finished reading his article. Interesting. 🙂

    I think having read up on the situation in big publishing, I’m going to hold off trying to seriously get published by them, and focus on a combination of small publishers like Splashdown, and self-publishing.

    One reason is the publishers are getting desperate, and are putting clauses in their contracts that in some cases can force writers to put their career on hold, not write and publish any books without their approval, even if not directly related to the series. There is a big rights grab, and writers have to make sure an IP attorney or a very good agent goes over the contract and ensures you’re not getting taken for a ride. So for me there is the risk factor. It is safer to self-publish than to risk being told I have to do things on the publisher’s time table, or find out some clause in my contract prevents me from publishing a book because the publisher believes it will affect the sale of my book with them. Etc.

    The other reason is that things are just so much in flux right now among big publishers, it is better to let the dust settle before dipping into the waters. And if I can during this time build a following through my self-publishing, once big publishing finds its footing and proceeds forward and a new “normal” has settled in, any efforts I’m doing now will only make me that much more attractive to a big publisher. As a matter of fact, most people are saying big publishers will more likely be culling the indie market to find books that are doing well and make an offer on those.

    But the other big risk due to the flux of big publishing right now, is that some of them will collapse and fold up shop. If I get a contract with the wrong company, my book could be tied up in settlement for who knows how long before I get my rights back. So to me, the risk of going with a big publisher is higher than it has ever been, especially when you have less risky options around. For big publishers to succeed, they need to stop trying to milk the authors that do come to them, and instead make it double worth their while, and find the business model that will make them an attractive alternative to self-publishing. Their big advantage right now is if you want to get into bookstores seriously, especially Christian bookstores, you pretty much have to go through one of them. But I think even that will change. As bookstores are finding it harder and harder to stay afloat as ebooks become more and more popular. Dean Wesley Smith has an idea that can help them, but it will only put a dent into the problem, I think. Amazon is biting into too much of their customer base to totally stop the decline.

    Anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough. Check with you later.

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