Notes from Thrillerfest Part 1
Actually, Thrillerfest just kicked off tonight with a reception. But Craftfest has been running for the past two days. I’ve just observed, listened and tried to feel the vibe. It feels a bit different, more subdued than in years past, but the hotel is also undergoing a renovation so people are scattering in the evening. But just shooting from the hip and from what I’ve heard and seen: no one really knows what’s going to happen in publishing.
There is definitely a sense that the digital revolution was terribly under-estimated, which I already knew half a year ago. Frankly most people still under-estimate it.
More than, though, is my feeling that few people see the big picture. Most people are concerned with their niche and how their niche can either survive or prosper or what they might be able to do in order to adapt. Or are scared of the very real possibility their niche is being obliterated by the new publishing paradigm.
Traditional publishers seem to have two major problems: one is that they are large organizations and you can’t turn something like that on a dime. They have a business model in place that has to keep running for quite a while longer in order to generate revenue in order to survive now, yet they have to change in order to survive in the future. The other problem is that people always prefer the known to the unknown. That’s normal. If I’ve done something the same way for the past however many decades, it’s very hard on an emotional and subconscious level to let go of continuing to do it that way.
Another thing I’m sensing overall is that the ‘indie’ book movement is also morphing. Those who are finding success with it are finding they can’t keep it up on their own. Even outsourcing a lot of the work on one-time fees doesn’t really work because writing and publishing is an ongoing and evolving thing to be a career author now and make a living at it. Sure you can pay someone to do cover art, editing, formatting and uploading, but that’s only the foundation of the business. Doing promoting, marketing, trying new things, foreign rights, audio, etc. etc. while still doing the most essential thing which is producing more books is almost impossible for an individual to accomplish alone. We recognized that early on and formed Who Dares Wins Publishing 18 months ago. Some of the authors who have indie success are now banding either with agents, publishers or other entities to take the heavy lifting on with those things so the writers can focus on the writing. That’s simply a reality.
I’ll post more about this, but what I see is a lot of morphing of roles in publishing and lines that were considered black and white, are now turning gray. While we can argue about things, it’s a reality. Which brings me to the last point as my brain turns to mush—I see too many people arguing the emotions of the business rather than the reality of the business. What I ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ matters little in the business. To thrive as an author and publisher I have to absorb all the information out there, regardless of how it makes me feel. I see way too many publishing ‘gurus’ who believe they have the answers, when they only have some answers and don’t know other things that are reality. When I look on Twitter and some expert has 10,000 followers but only follow a chosen handful (mostly who agree with them), I question their view. When these gurus go to a conference and do their presentations and never bother to sit in on other presenters’ workshops or presentations, I think that’s very shortsighted. And I’m very leery of considering their advice as the answer. It’s part of the answer.
Because tomorrow’s reality is going to be different and the only way to truly prepare for it is to be open to all information, regardless of whether we agree with it or not.
Posted on July 7, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged Bob Mayer, Book Writing, books, business, eBooks, Future, Self-Publishing, Technology and Publishing, Thrillerfest. Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.