The future of publishing, part 1 of 2

The big talk in both the blogosphere and the traditional news outlets these days is that the publishing industry is at a crossroads. If you attended the DFW writers’ conference this past weekend, you heard that authors are embracing self publishing platforms and social media and that traditional publishing is on the ropes.  Those same folks said that you were a fool if you still chased after a traditional publishing contract. Traditional publishers are simply middle men taking a big cut of profits out of the pockets of authors. Why, they even showed us how we can become our own publishers and publish our own real books for nominal fees, promote those books to the right groups, and make out a pretty good living doing so.

But then you also heard that traditional publishers have fully embraced social media. They have the ability to maximize what social media has to offer. They will continue to promote their workhorse authors that have shown up on the bestseller lists for years as well as publicize new and upcoming authors that show promise.   

There were those that talked about eBooks being the Holy Grail, that they will put more books in more people’s’ hands for much less money . You also heard those that believed there will always be a market for real books that you can touch, smell and take along anywhere, wi-fi connection and power source be damned.

So, that begs one question: who’s right? I think they all are. I think that there has never been a better time to be a writer than right now. Sure, the emergence of self-publishing and the ability to publish an ebook for free on Barnes and Noble’s Pubit or Amazon’s self-pub service has definitely crowded the market, but it all comes down to one thing: is it a good book? Because whether you believed the agents at the conference that work hard to get their client’s a book deal with a traditional publisher or you are out there by yourself  hand selling each and every copy of that book that you sweated over for the better part of three years, one thing you must do to make sure you get the recognition you’re after is to make sure that book is your best effort. Have you reviewed it until you’re sick of looking at it? Has it been edited by a professional? Is the cover the most eye-catching it can be? And so on.  

Whatever route you want to take to get your book published, it seems you can take it these days. But, like I was reminded at the conference, make sure the book you’ve got is the best you’ve got. If not, then you’re just spinning your wheels. And whatever direction the publishing industry takes, if you’re spinning your wheels, you’ll go nowhere fast.

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and award-winning author of Five Days in Dallas and The Brink. Check out his novels at www.markfadden.com.

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