Hi, everyone! This post is part of the A-Z challenge. Please take time to visit the other blogs that are participating.
We all know the publishing world is turning upside down, and don’t let anyone convince you that the industry is dead.
The numbers I read from Bowker reports dated April 4, 2010, and May 18, 2011 are astounding:
247,777 books were published in 2002
266,322 in 2003
295,523 in 2004
282,500 in 2005
296,362 in 2006
407,646 in 2007
561,580 in 2008
1,335,475 in 2009
3,092,740 in 2010
At this rate there could be tens of millions of ISBN numbers issued in 2012. Did you get that? Tens of millions of possible books!
The number is mind-boggling, and you know as well as I, those books aren’t coming out of the Big 6. This means most of the influx (even if only half of are published) will come from self-published authors. This saddens me to a certain degree. Many years ago, it meant something to say you were a published author. It was romantic. You were looked upon with a certain respect. You were special. Unique. After all, not everyone had a way with the written word.
Now, thanks to Lulu, CreateSpace and Amazon (among others), anyone can be published, whether they have talent or not. There’s nothing special about being published anymore. If you have a thousand bucks in your pocket and words thrown into a .pdf file, you can be published. That’s not to say there aren’t some good self-published books out there. There are, but the self-gratification process negates the romantic element of being published…the being picked.
There is something romantic about a publisher choosing a particular short story or novel for publication. After all your time, hard work and persistence, someone notices and thinks you’re pretty darn special. Your publishing ‘soul mate’ has picked you, YOU, out of the millions of hopefuls, to represent. It’s romantic. It’s exhilarating. You won! Your ‘voice’ spoke above all the others.
Where is the romance with self-publishing? You plunk down your hard-earned money, gratify your needs, and then congratulate yourself for a job well done. I will admit there are some lucky self-published authors who sell lots of books, but those are few and far between.
And what is with this eBook stuff? I know it’s the wave of the future, but where’s the romance of pointing to something on a screen and saying, “I wrote that”? Imagine giving birth to a baby and never being able to hold it, touch it. All you can do is look at it on a screen and say “I created that.” I know this is an extreme example, but there’s not much difference to me. These are my words, my creations. I want to touch them, see them. I want to autograph a complete novel, not a cover page. To me, digital isn’t real. It isn’t physical. It’s not the actual work. It’s cold. It’s cyber. It’s not romantic.
I fear tangible proof of an author’s work will someday vanish completely, like so many other crafts. Physical books will be found only in museums or private collections. They’ll be rare, but you know what? They’ll be real. They’ll outlast the Kindles and Nooks, and you’ll never have to worry about out-dated software. All you’ll ever need with a tangible book are your eyes and imagination. And when you’re done, all you have to do is pass the books on for someone else to enjoy. No worrying about copyright infringement or too many downloads per ‘license’ or ‘share’ rights.
Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I think this old-fashioned, romantic girl is going to keep it ‘real’. I know there’s a publisher out there who’s going to think I’m special, and my writing will find a home. All I have to do is hold out and wait. Be patient. The best is yet to come.
- Authors Smile If Amazon Is the Publisher, Bezos Says (forbes.com)
- Publishers Weekly seems to relish scathing reviews of self-published books, says Kim Strickland (teleread.com)
- Amazon is full of knock-off books (seattlepi.com)
- How Do Self-published Authors Reach Readers? Sue Grimshaw Speaks! (writersinthestorm.wordpress.com)
10 thoughts on ““P” is for Publishing – It’s no longer a ‘romantic’ industry”
I completely agree with you, Jenny! Nothing beats the feel of a ‘real’ book, or matches the look of row upon row of books on a shelf. Finding a publisher to take a chance on you is getting harder, these days, but I’m sure you will find your match. Don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than you’d hope. The right publisher is out there for you. 🙂
I totally get you! Self-publication can bring a few people success, but it’s just not the same. And I hope print books will never go away. I grew up reading books my Mom handed down to me, and loved the musty smell of the battered yellow pages.
Ancient tomes in cracked leather binding and gilded titles, with dusty yellow pages touched by your parents and your parents’ parents, sitting aged but proud on your library shelf like an old war veteran … you just can’t get that with e-books.
A to Z Blogger
Amen! To hold that sort of history in your hands is priceless and it is something digital will never be able to provide.
I’m right there with you on the “old-fashioned” part of publishing. E-books are great opportunities, but I want the real thing with my name on it. I want to be able to hold it (and hug it) and flip through the pages. If anything, the dream of that is what makes me keep reaching. 🙂
Things are changing and we need to change with them. No matter whether we love books or kindles, the reality is that publishing companies are loathe to take a chance on unknowns anymore because THEIR futures are unknown. Things are changing. I’ve been a published author (in my professional work) for quite a while and the truth is that the romance of publishing is well gone. I’m not being jaded…just realistic.
Rhia from Five Minute Piece for Inspiration (about # 776 on A to Z list)
I know you’re right. I see the signs. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
My heart agrees with you completely; though my brain says, “If no one will take a risk on you, take one on yourself.”
Tooth and nail, I will fight for this romance, but should she not have me, I will have her less than romantic sister.
Praying for us!
I’m in your cheering section, dear!
I’m with you, Jen. I’ll self-publish if I must, but it would feel like a defeat to me if I do that. By self-publishing, I would feel like I’m admitting that I just wasn’t good enough to be chosen by the ‘real’ publishers, like it’s my birthday but no one got me anything so I went and bought myself a gift instead.
I actually did that on my birthday 2 years ago. My hubby and kids completely ignored my b’day (no presents, no breakfast in bed. I even had to make dinner). So I went out and bought a can of Planters cashews. (My mom used to send them to me on my b’day before she passed away). I guess we do what we have to do to get by, but it doesn’t take away the sting of rejection.