My newest hobby is worrying about the evolution of the publishing industry.
It’s all I think about.
With the self-publishing explosion, I can’t help but wonder exactly what’s going to happen to small presses, traditional NY publishers, brick and mortar book stores, mid-list authors, advances, royalties – all those things writers normally obsess about.
My opinions on the subject change hourly, but at the moment here are my predictions.
Small presses/aka e-publishers – I think the competition is going to get rough, not for authors to find space in the stables of e-presses, but for e-presses to lure authors into their stables. When so many authors now can create cover art for themselves, hire freelance editors, learn formatting in an afternoon, and have their books available at numerous e-book retailers overnight, e-publishers might begin to find it difficult to convince authors to hand over 60% or more of their earnings.
Traditional NY publishers – I think they may find their slush piles shrinking [which might not be a bad thing for them] as the pool of submitting authors diminishes. People who are tired of waiting six months to a year for a reply from a NY pub will be going the self-publishing route more quickly. Does this mean it will become easier to snag a NY contract as the competition lets up? Nope. I predict it will be harder – because the NY pubs will be competing with the gajillions of free books out there. They have to produce stuff that’s beyond phenomenal to entice readers to pay premium prices.
Brick and mortar book stores – well, we can already see what’s happening to them with the liquidation of hundreds of Borders stores. Barnes & Noble sells the Nook from their stores, which makes me question what a book store will even look like in the future. It might be just a place to pick up your e-reader and maybe connect to free Wifi so you can download books that are advertised in the store while sipping a latte at the cafe.
Mid-list authors – the average working author already has a rocky road ahead, but now the question is, should mid-list authors continue to work for smaller advances or jump ship and get into self-publishing where their profits could soar or tank depending on the quality of their work and the strength of their promotions with no publisher to back them up?
Advances – up or down? I think down for a while, especially while the economy is still struggling.
Royalties – up or down? I say up for the e-published author, the self-published author and maybe even for the loyal e-press authors, but I predict we all have to be content with quantity of sales over quantity of royalties – meaning our books will sell for less per copy but hopefully to a much wider audience.
Okay, now it’s your turn. Do you agree or disagree with my predictions?