These are scary times for writers and publishers. Whereas it’s never been easier to get published, conversely it’s never been harder to sell. This great divide is expanding exponentially. Take a look at the Al Gore demonstration at Mike Matas: A next-generation digital book. All of this seemed pretty whiz-bang a year ago. Now my smart phone can do most this.
The Great Divide Paradox is easily explained.
Major publishers are down-sizing, and guess who goes first? The B-list. With fewer staff, publishers are publishing fewer books. Perhaps only the best-sellers will enjoy print books from the majors with no or little mid-list. It does make you wonder where publishers will find the next generation of best selling authors. They’ll undoubtedly get some from best-selling self-publishers, such as the recent EL James (50 Shades of Grey) and of course this has been happening for a while – Matthew Reilly (Contest) springs to mind. And there will be a proliferation of these authors with the availability of lulu.com, Lightning Source, etc. Even Dymocks has a platform for vanity press at dpublishing.com. I think the self-publisher has replaced the agent for assessing the slush pile for major publishers.
It’s not just the article itself that is worth a read, the discussion below the comment line is well informed and thought provoking too. Anyone with an interest in the subject should check it out.