Publish or Perish?

by Jeff Abbott on April 20, 2009

Lots of articles being written on how the economic collapse and the advent of technology are going to change the DNA of the publishing industry. Here’s a quick roundup, for both readers and writers:

The Hachette Book Group’s Jonathan Karp has laid out his thoughts a 12-step “wake up call” for the publishing industry. Some of his ideas would require publishers to abandon long-held practices and habits. But it’s interesting reading for both producers and consumers of books.

Author MJ Rose┬áhas long written about the challenges in marketing books and authors. She’s been suggesting that, a la the model of the actor-driven United Artists studio, a “United Writers” publishing firm will emerge–one run and owned by writers–even though, as she notes, writers are not necessarily interested in running companies (or have the requisite skill sets). UK suspense author David Hewson explores┬áthis rather ground-shifting idea.
In the Wall Street Journal, Steven Johnson writes on how he believes e-books will change publishing, how we read, and how we write.

    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    Janet April 20, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I read and enjoyed Karp’s article very much. But I will confess to bridling when he suggested that authors should be expected to put part of their advances into publicity. This is an entirely unrealistic requirement when even best-selling authors often have to hold on to their day jobs. Granted, if publishers started being more selective, perhaps more writers could earn a living wage. But still, it rankles to hear an executive in an industry where everybody BUT the author is a full-time professional wanting to offload more of the burden onto authors. Just wrong-headed. Pledging to support and finance an author’s efforts would be more reasonable. Having the publisher make more of its own efforts so that authors could invest more energy in writing makes even more sense.
    And just because some authors are effective publicists we shouldn’t conclude that this is a general talent.

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