Kristen Lamb‘s “An Industry on the Brink—Five Mistakes that are Killing Traditional Publishing” got my gears a’turning. Want my humble opinion?
I think publishers must reach a delicate balance for effectiveness in a digitally driven world, which is why I enjoyed reading this article. Ms. Lamb’s points about traditional publishers are spot on, and everything she mentioned makes complete sense to me.
However, while I do agree traditional publishers must make some changes in the way they do business and quit stomping their feet like tantrum-having children, I don’t necessarily think they are on their way out if they don’t change. People will still want quality books by professional authors.
I’m a fan of traditional publishing. Granted, I’m just starting out and I’m really only going on what I’ve heard from other writers/authors, but it seems to me that the more (inexperienced/uneducated/uncommitted) authors self-publish, the more readers will think, “Those books suck. I’m going to buy a real book from an author who knows how to write well.”
Now, I’m not so naïve to think e-publishing is superfluous. We live in a digital age where it’s just so darn easy to click the ‘Buy Now’ button. But, how many of these readers will buy the next book from an author who didn’t invest their time or money in a professional editor or cover designer? Who wants to read crap? I certainly don’t, which is why I favor the traditional route—it’s automatically built into the model.
Now, I want to clarify, I know e-publishing and self-publishing are two completely different dead horses to beat, but I am also aware that they tend to go hand in hand. One doesn’t typically think, “I’m going the traditional publishing route so I don’t have to e-publish.” You can go the traditional route and still e-publish. But one also doesn’t automatically think, “I’m going to self-publish because I want to see my books in print.” That just doesn’t happen, or it does–but for the wrong reasons. If you’re self-publishing these days, then you are e-publishing. True, there is the Print-On-Demand thing. But, it seems to me that this is just an after-thought; it gets thrown in the package of e-publishing.
One other thing pops into my mind—what writer really wants to use enormous amounts of energy for marketing and promotion? It seems to me the more energy you put into something, the less time you have for other things, like writing. (Thanks, mom, for pointing this out.) While I do understand the value of self-promotion, I don’t wish for it to consume my life. Writing already does that, thank you very much.
I’m a big fan of community before commerce, and I must look into Ms. Lamb’s books. I have so much to learn about the writing/publishing world and I’m sure her wisdom will prove instrumental.
What are your thoughts on e-publishing vs. traditional publishing?