Saturday, I attended my local RWA meeting (the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter) where the speaker was editor Adam Wilson of Gallery Books. He was very charming and funny and said a lot of fascinating things that made me think.
Self-publishing has definitely changed the publishing world, and publishers are still reacting and (in my opinion) struggling to make good, informed decisions that are at least less hampered by an “old world” view of publishing. Adam talked about how self-publishers are creating successful genres that NY wasn’t taking a risk on. These are my words, by the way. Self-publishing is this cauldron of literary experimentation that NY can look to for help in refining how and what to take a risk on. What’s bubbling up to the top? What voices are compelling? Can a successful self-publisher bring a base of readers such that NY can profitably — including for the author — do what they can do well, which is broaden the exposure and leverage their expertise in print? I think we’ll know the answer in another year.
And then there’s crap like Random House and its
digital imprint publishing service (I blogged about it here). Man up, Random House. What you’re offering is NOT a publishing imprint. It’s a competitor to Smashwords, except a crappy, horrible unfair one.
Any author who’s been in the business a while knows just how many companies out there see authors as nothing but a bunch of stupid saps to be separated from their money. Emails from these companies land in our inboxes all the time. (“Publicists” are major offenders. “Publishers” are another. How many books do you think you can sell to your friends?) Believe me, we know BS when it’s slung our way. This Random House thing is exploitative BS all the way.