Friday, August 6, 2010

A Great Moment for Writers

(the following was sparked by a discussion with writer Valerie Douglas)

It's very rare to promote learning over, or at least on par with athletics, yes. Papa Joe's old school, and also just plain old.

The notion that "men don't read novels" has been circulating in publishing for some time and I find it both ridiculous, given my experience and acquaintanceship, and also somewhat typical of the long series of self-defeating stances publishing has adopted over the decades. This is why I'm not at all freaked that soon Big Publishing will either change drastically or end entirely, as post-paper or digital publishing, and the independence and power this hands the writer, kicks in, as it already has, given that electronic sales have now outstripped hard-copy sales.

Seize the day, writers. At last you will not be held hostage by editorial gatekeepers, overhead costs of printing, or access to distribution. At last you'll be able to sell directly to the reader.

Of course, with freedom comes responsibility. You'll now have to make sure your work is professionally copyedited, edited, and laid out. You'll have to ensure it's up to scratch. You'll have to do all the scutwork of legal vetting and release forms and permissions. You'll have to come up with attractive covers, and any illustrations or charts you may want to include. And you'll then have to advertise, and not only create but maintain an audience, which requires your participation with them.

In short, the burden for making a professional product, and for being a professional presence in the marketplace, falls now on you, but the payoff is, no more being nickel-and-dimed, no more being cheated, and no more being misunderstood by promotional departments, etc.

Grab the chance while it's here, it's a unique moment in history. Wake up to it.

(for Gene's next motivational speech, please stay tuned...)

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