Brave New World For Writers

11 Oct

I saw my agent yesterday. She told me that my editor at Harlequin Teen is very pleased with the number of online reviews, 60+ and counting, that The Juliet Spell has received. That is, she is very pleased with the level of response that my book has stimulated from a review source that didn’t exist a few years ago.
Sixty reviews. Ya novels used to get about four if they were lucky, all in professional journals for librarians. Then, perhaps, a passing mention in a newspaper column or two. That’s still the case, but now there is a whole universe of specialized reading interests orbiting around genre-specific blogs, and publishers have begun to realize that this is a good way to get the word out about their books.

But so much is going on in publishing as a direct result of the online revolution that the new relationship with the blogoverse seems relatively minor. The standard pocket-sized paperback is being replaced by the download. Kindles make it possible to carry a library around with you, and some of the available titles are amazing. Things that you would have to have access to a university library to read once can be had for free with a few taps of the keys. Everything is changing, and traditional publishers are confused and scared.
Or maybe it’s just the really big ones who are staggering like brontosauruses going down for the count.Indy publishing seems, from what I can tell, to be perking right along. In fact, as the big ones panic, rejecting titles they would have accepted two years ago, and dropping advances to a quarter to an eighth of what they were, the stand-alone get-it-done knows-her-business-and-her-market publisher looks better and better.
But the real new frontier is electronic publishing. The possibilities here are amazing. Self-publishing’s been around at least since William Blake, but now it’s coming roaring back, and the markets for it are emerging rapidly. There’s also going to be a new kind of on-line-only publisher, offering higher royalties on lower-priced items, a situation that benefits everybody except big publishers and lumberjacks.
For readers and writers, things are confusing, but they’re looking good.

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