…this roundup of stories, but I find myself running across so many good ones that I can’t help but share them. I guess you could call it meta-blogging, since for example the first link is a blog post commenting on two other stories. How deep does this rabbit hole go?
First up is a post on the topic of “What do readers owe authors.” Read the thing first, then see my comments.
What do I think readers owe us authors?
The price of the book.
After that, it’s all gravy. It’s great to have fans. It’s great to have fans that recommend your work – oh, yeah, that’s awesome. But no one owes it to us. It’s a gift when a fan tweets or facebooks or otherwise spreads the word about our books, but they don’t owe us. We are selling product here. It’s an affective product – like music or a movie, we are selling entertainment, an experience, that in its best form provides both fun and some kind of human improvement (fun first). It might engender loyalty and admiration, but not obligation.
So, dear reader, I love that you support me, but if I ever start to presume upon your gratitude…just shoot me. Metaphorically, anyway.
Here’s an article from the point of view of a publisher-friendly writer – something of an apologist, I would say, though not too unbalanced. This is different for me because I find myself most often anti-tradpub – not in principle, but in practice, because of their many miscues and the walls they have historically kept so high.
The article, though a bit hard to follow, basically says this: publishers have shot themselves in the collective foot, and have to get their act together.
Surprised? Not me.
The thing that did occur to me, though, was that what has really, really changed in the last five years, is their gatekeeper status. And in fact, that status was the key to their success – and their ossification. God bless Amazon for blasting those gates open.
Now, publishers are increasingly relegated to, in essence, a talent agency not so different from those that manage actors. A publisher can relieve a writer’s load by providing marketing and product-improvement services (cover, editing,) and a lot of generalized and insider know-how – but no longer do they have the cozy deals with the big-box book chains which have themselves lost control of their market. In fact, the publishers and bookstore chains were so incestuous (okay, let’s be fair – merely orgiastically in bed with each other, not actually breaking any laws) that when Amazon opened the bedroom door, both got tipped onto the floor at the same time.
All right, I may be stretching a metaphor, but hey, that’s the fun of writing.
Bottom line, publishers are no longer the exclusive gatekeepers – and in fact, many have smartened up and realized that cherry-picking indie talent is a sure-fire way to profitability. So now, like in many industries, there are now two broad roads to success – the old way through the publishers, and the new way as an indie. It’s rather like, say, breaking into movie/TV acting. You can go the Juilliard and Shakespeare route and get lots of credibility the conventional way, or you can get out to Hollywood, wait tables and show up at every audition until you get a gig, and work your way up. Before Amazon and KDP, there was only one way – through the publisher gates.
I said it before, and I’ll say it again. God bless Amazon, for what they did. No matter what they may do in the future, they’ll always have Kindle on their karma.
A very interesting post on some not-so-obvious ways to market your book. The one about giving a free ebook copy to everyone who buys a print copy interests me; I just have to figure out how to do that.