On this page I'll include various articles, posts and links having to do with the writing business, which is in a state of chaos right now.  For those of you who don't know much about writing and publishing, here's a little primer:

 

The traditional model for being published was that an author would get an agent or an editor with connections to the publishing houses, who would then represent the author in finding the right publisher. The publisher would help with editing, cover design, getting permissions for quotations, marketing and printing.  The publisher was in charge of getting hard copy into bookstores and libraries.  The author just wrote, revised and helped with marketing (readings, tours, etc.).

Then, along came independent or self-publishing in which authors could make their books available electronically  (to be read on a Kindle, Nook, etc.) or in hard copy - without going to a traditional publisher.  The publishers' business model has been dealt a severe blow, and they have lost market share to writing published and purchased on-line.  The breakdown seems to be stabilizing at one third e-sales, and two thirds print sales, though audio books are up and coming.

However, there are estimated to be 32 million titles in "print," just in the U.S., not counting books that are self-published.  You can find just about anything on line, but how do you know what you want?  In a bookstore you can wander around and pick things up and read a bit and see what interests you.  But how do you do that on-line out of millions of titles? 

So now the issue is "discoverability."  I self-published The Upper End of In Between, but how would you find the book if you didn't know me or someone who recommended it?  I could place an ad on Google or Amazon - very expensive.  I could do Facebook and Twitter and try to reach you that way.  Of course a website is a must. And I could try to get reviewed by online book reading sites like Goodreads, or on Amazon by readers who had found and bought my book.

The traditional publishing approach distributes the books for the authors, and gives a kind of imprimatur - at least someone has vetted it, someone with credentials thinks it will be salable.  With self-publishing, anyone can publish and there's a ton of junk out there!  Of course, publishers publish junk too.  Junk can be quite profitable!  (No, I'm not going to define junk.)  A self-published author has to do for him/herself what a publisher used to do (and increasingly asks their writers to do).  And a lot of writers are more interested in writing than being marketing experts and Tweeting and making "book trailers" for You Tube.

So, people are trying to figure out better ways for readers to find the work of self-published authors.  Stuff like search engine optimization (SEO), collecting more statistics on what's being sold and who's buying it, and so on.  It's really fascinating!

Then there are all kinds of issues about pricing....  It goes on and on! 

New Innovations 

Amazon/Kindle has two interesting, relatively new programs.  One is called Kindle Scout.  Authors upload their edited manuscript and book cover and anyone who comes to the site can "nominate" three of them to be published (within 30 days of the upload).  "Nominations" help, but Amazon chooses based on the quality of the work - what they think will sell.  The selected authors get $1500 and 50% of the royalties, plus some exposure.  

Then there is Kindle Singles.  These are long short stories or novellas, or memoir or poetry - anything that doesn't quite fit the regular guidelines for publishing.  Authors submit a manuscript and Amazon decides if they want to publish it. Authors are using it for publishing books serially, including best-selling authors.  Check it out. 

 

On publishing and writers connecting with readers

Discoverability

How to get found on Amazon

eBooks Gone in 5 years?  Big change coming....

Here are some articles about sexism in publishing and the literary world:

My So-Called Post- Feminist Life in Arts and Letters

Why We Need She Writes Press