Summer is a time for going new places and trying new things.
The entire publishing industry is “going new places” these days as many writers try new things–
In the next few weeks, we’ll take a closer look at these changes and give you some tips in case you’d like to dive in yourself.
The Way it Was
Ever since Johannes Gutenberg, books have been printed on paper. Whether the printer used carved blocks or typed the pdf master on a computer, the end product was the same–a “dead tree” book you could hold in your hands. If you’re a bibliophile like me, there’s something nostalgic about the smell of ink on aging paper, but parts of the publishing process were frustrating.
For one thing, producing a book is expensive! Agents look for the best of the best. Editors buy a manuscript and pour over it making improvements in the structure and presentation. Artists design the cover. The marketing department comes up with a strategy for publicity. The finished books are boxed and shipped to stores and warehouses. Are you beginning to add up the costs of all those salaries, paper, ink, and storefronts in your head? Producing a book is a huge financial risk for the publisher.
Because producing a book is expensive, the vetting process (weeding through all the wanna-be writers to find the few whose stories stand to make significant money) is a long one. Writers spend a great deal of time writing their stories and then a great deal of money attending conventions as they learn to polish and perfect their manuscript in hopes of meeting the right people and capturing their interest. Writing a book is a huge personal risk for the author.
And Then Came E-Readers…
Stories can be purchased and downloaded in seconds anywhere you happen to be. No trees die. No financial risk up front for paper, ink, or storefronts. And anyone can play. Do writers need an agent? Not necessarily–at least not to start with, because a publisher is optional. It is possible to self-publish. Do writers need an editor? Yes–someone knowledgeable who can help hone the story structure and proofread for professional-looking presentation. E-books also need great cover art, but many writers are finding that they can hire the help they need.
And suddenly the timeline just got a whole lot shorter for the people who want to be writers.
If you’re interested in learning more, stay tuned! And if you have specific questions about e-books and the new possibilities in publishing, please leave a comment. We’ll try to answer your questions!