There are some very gloomy people in publishing at the moment. Over here, the bookshop shelves are creaking with heavyweight tomes, bought at great expense, publishers crossing their fingers and hoping that Christmas will see a boost in sales. Early indications, and it is very early, is that it won't. The whole publishing industry is in a fret.
I have a copy edited manuscript to go through, my own heavyweight tome (I'll be releasing three books next year, in various formats, of which more anon) so an in depth discussion of what's going on/what's going wrong will have to wait for another day. Into what kind of market they'll be released is anyone's guess. I'll also be releasing some self-published ebooks to test that particular stretch of water. I may be naive, but I still think there's place for both print and ebooks to co-exist, and that authors should choose whichever way to the market suits them best, according to the book they've written. One of my forthcoming books, a guide on how to be a detective like Sherlock Holmes for 9-12 year-olds, is hardly suited to an ebook only release (though it's interactive, and the art is so jawdroppingly good, it'll be great on an Ipad) given most kids don't have a Kindle. Yet.
Which reminds me, I got a new phone the other week. I've been travelling to and from the British Library on crowded tubes alot recently, so I downloaded a book to the phone, which has a pretty big screen. Hardly revolutionary I know, but it was for me. It was a very satisfying experience, and allowed me to get even more reading in, snatching a few pages here and there.
I still have a nagging suspicion though that the publishing industry is hardly helping itself at the moment, either through lame decisions, or clinging to the old, outmoded way of doing things. This vituperative letter, brave, stupid, whatever it may be, raises some interesting questions, and is worthy of discussion. The tone is a wee bit hysterical, to say the least, and the language industrial (consider that a warning) but some of the issues raised are valid ones, not least those levelled at the glacial pace at which the industry still moves. I think every published author will nod their head when Marshall tees off about the ludicrous length of time it takes publishers to pay people.
I have to say, while I know of many authors who've written excoriating accounts of their times with publishers who have rejected or jilted them, this is the first time I've seen an author have a go at his publishers before the book is even published.
Hope you enjoy.
Dan - Friday
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