A Change In The Weather

News Publishing
The literature biz, not an easy biz even in the best of times, is reeling from the challenges of new media, new pricing models, new access models and new corporate ownership models. Future trends remain unclear, but there are encouraging portents lately:

1. A self-published autobiography, Who Is It That Can Tell Me Who I Am? by psychotherapist Jane Haynes, has been nominated for a prestigious PEN prize.

2. I don't think you'll catch me reading I Was Told There'd Be Cake by new sensation Sloane Crosley. I'm the type of reader who doesn't care whether there's any damn cake or not. However, the humorous essay collection appears to be a smash hit, and do you notice it's a paperback original? Score one for paperback originals.

3. Small Beer Press is giving away perfectly good books for free download.

A change in the weather? You tell me.
2 Responses to "A Change In The Weather"

by rubiao on

All of this publishing business talk doesn't work for me. The publishing business is tough and always will be tough. Literature is an art and not easily adaptable to finance models, to quantitative minds running numbers and graphs to find out if a book will be profitable. To know that they can only publish 75 books a year, but also that they have to publish 75 books a year, makes it impossible. Having to decide how much money to sink into advertising, not where they should be advertising. I think its always been a tough business, and the fact that I buy nearly all my books at used book stores or borrow them from libraries for free can't help either.

But there are still publishing houses, such as The Dalkey Archive, that are funded by the authors it publishes and its readers through donations. Translating grants from other countries, authors donating their profits to help publish lesser-known authors, and non-profit donations from readers fund the company, which actually has a board to decide which books it should publish. It is one of the few companies whose logo I trust as they have yet to collaterally ruin their name. Who else would you buy a book from without even knowing who the author is?

It is not a change in the weather. There will always be small presses and independent book stores that carry them. The real problem is a lack of good books. You would think that with these giant bookstores (Borders, Barnes and Noble) failing they would rethink their formula instead of continuing with the same idea, but why fix a bad thing?

I want to finish up my current project ASAP.
If it's worthy to me, I'm going to look around for bookstores that would sell the book and then look for a printer to do 300 copies and hawk it myself. I wish I could believe that I could make it through the slush pile or find an agent but what is key now is to finish my current project.