While the following should have no bearing on whether or not you choose to become a writer, it should open your eyes to the fact that the publishing world is undergoing considerable upheaval. In a nutshell, here’s what’s happening. For the past few decades, middle and large-sized publishing companies have been consolidating and/or going out of business. As it stands, there are six mega-publishing houses left in New York City. Those six are desperately trying to figure out how to make money in the face of the Kindle/Self Publishing/Ebook revolution. So far, they’re not doing to well.
It used to be that the first thing you did after making the decision to become a writer, other than writing the book, was solicit either an agent or publisher at a major publishing house with the goal of being offered a nice advance and multi-book deal. These days, ain’t nobody getting that kind of perk except the handful of mega-authors who could publish their grocery list and sell a million copies to adoring fans. Mid-listers, who used to be able to crank out a nice living, find themselves without the budget for promotion and faced with the prospect of very little, if any, in the way of an advance payment on royalties.
Today, expect that if you want to become a writer, you need to start polishing your promotional skills too. More often, writers are choosing to go the self-publication route entirely, not even bothering to play the rejection game with the ivory-towered publishing industry. The funny thing is some are finding success to the tune of thousands of dollars a month in book sales, mostly electronic, thanks to the rise of the Amazon eReader known as Kindle.
The point here is that your success in the writing business is no longer manipulated by the opinion of a few big time editors; it falls squarely on your shoulders. You no longer have to impress the middle man. Now you can go straight to the reader, who always should have been the ultimate arbiter of what constitutes a good book and what doesn’t. And this brave, new world was made for niche writers. Do you think a major publisher would give a whiff to a writer who specializes in the smallish genre of zombie-squirrel-romantic-beach fiction? Likely not but, today, if you can find a niche of readers to buy the stuff, have at it.
The new end game for the budding writer? Promote, promote, promote. Wait a second, that sounds suspiciously like the old days. It is. The difference is you get to keep all the rights and you get to do all the work. Welcome to Publishing 2.0.
The Speaking of Wealth Team
Flickr / books_authors