Neat article in the LA Times about the future of the publishing industry. It’s an interesting (and eye-opening) take on the role of traditional publishers and literary agents. Check it out.
Book publishers see their role as gatekeepers shrink
I’m starting to see more and more of this as mainstream multi-published authors separate from their publishing houses and strike out on their own. Of course, most of them already have an established print fan base, so it’s not a big stretch for them to do this as opposed to a first-timer. They don’t have much to lose, and everything to gain, whereas a debut author still has to pound the proverbial pavement to build his/her readership to get sales.
That said, I’m being proved wrong more often as several first-time authors go out the hard way on their own, making the most of the internet/social media revolution to boost sales, and knock it out of the park. Those are few and far between, but I suspect we’ll be seeing more of that as the economics and ease start to take over. The landscape is changing, and the rules are evolving to fit the new landscape.
While I can appreciate the role of the “gatekeepers” as the ones who sort out the good manuscripts from the bad, what’s to say that readers can’t do that themselves? If a product has fifty thousand “likes,” I’m probably going to check it out. Just like I’m going to check out a book on Amazon with a five star review. Same with books, same with music, same with movies. Following Indie-music and Indie-films traditions, Indie-books seem to be the next logical step. It’s only natural, after all.