I know it’s not a new story, but the more it’s told the more the publishing world might take notice. Like so many people I have decided to move away from print to e-books. And although I’m fast becoming an ambassador for digital book technology that’s not why I decided to make the move. I only really saw the merits in digital once I started to seriously look into e-books- which wasn’t so long ago.
So why am I changing? In a word, because of indolence. Not mine, but the publishing industry’s. The agents and publishers who make it so hard, and so financially unrewarding, to get a book published. Unless of course you are an A-list author and there’s a good chance of a screenplay coming out of the book.
I’ve had a couple of print books published so it’s not as if I have always found it impossible to get published. But it is so demotivating, sending out enquiries and manuscripts, one after another, and getting nothing but standard replies back. Most of the time it’s quite clear nobody is reading your work.
Now I know that the publishing industry is in crisis. We are in the middle of a massive economic downturn, which is always a bummer for book sales. And hard copy publishing can’t compete with digital media, either on cost or on the speed of getting books to market. But, and it’s a big but, publishing is not the only industry to face these challenges. Every creative industry does, and others too. But – that word again- traditional book publishers and their symbiotic agents seem to be far better than anyone else at wallowing in their inactivity to rise to the challenge.
When books aren’t selling what sense does it make for an agent to say ‘my list is full’? Really? Well you must be doing pretty well out of your authors in that case, if you are not even prepared to look at new opportunities. And what nonsense for publishers to refuse to accept unsolicited manuscripts. You haven’t got the resources to read them all? Then you shouldn’t be in business. How many shops refuse to look at new lines that are offered to them? How many ideas did Steve Jobs refuse to consider because he was too busy? How many insurance companies refuse to give a quote because they’ve got enough customers?
I’ve been in business all my life. I know a bit about it. Traditional publishing faces challenges but they are not insurmountable. There is only one obstacle in the way of traditional publishers, and that’s indolence. How do I know this? Because the e-book business is booming and there are opportunities galore, for those willing to rise to the challenge.
I’ll use this blog to let you know how I’m getting on with my e-books. As of this week I’ve got one on Amazon (Jerusalem Imperilled), and three more that I hope to format and upload in the next few days. One of the most exciting things I have discovered since I started exploring digital publishing is that it is fuelled by a positive, knowledgeable and engaged community of authors and readers. I am glad to be part of it, I hope I can make a contribution.
Thanks for reading this blog and please let me have have your comments. I promise to respond if I have anything of value to say.