I've seen a lot of change in the world of authors and books in the last few years. I don't think anyone could say they haven't. I've witnessed a lot of denial, a lot of terrified scrambling, lost and confused drifting, head scratching, and a great deal of revolutionary waving of banners.
It's kind of fun, really.
In my bios, I often say that I have trouble picking sides. I don't do just one genre, I like to throw in more than a little romance to just about anything, and somehow I ended up with two publishing houses as well. (Primarily because it turned out they both rock, and I wouldn't trade either for anything--but that is a different story) It's not that I'm a fence rider exactly, but I do like a nice neutral perch to watch a good ruckus from...and OH what a ruckus it has been.
You're still not going to get me to pick a horse, but I have to weigh in a little bit on the side of revolution here, because I have a long held belief that change is good, fresher is better, and I just like to shout, "Evolve or Perish," from time to time.
Though I'm not about to give up my house...er...houses. I have dipped a toe or two into the self-publishing waters. I also have *gasp* continued to query NY on occasion. Don't judge me. The point is, I've noticed a quality among the revolutionaries that I have to admire. They are adapting, and they are doing a damn good job of it.
These new-fangled authors are willing to learn, and learn well, anything that they need to get the job done. They are studying. They are brushing up. They are evolving into fully-skilled book crafting machines that can handle every bit of producing their own product from art beginning to business end. They can do it all.
Like I said, I admire evolution. This new creature who takes charge of their story's destiny from start to finish, is learning to design covers, to do professional layout, to edit, to negotiate, to navigate the third parties, and to market their creation. They are getting better at it too. Sure, a few years ago you could spot a self-published book a mile away, but today, not so much. Not all the time. Not even most of the time.
Just wait a few more years. Just wait.
I've listened to the blogs, the blurbs and the boards where the revolution is taking place. These authors are educating themselves. They know a LOT about the business of publishing. They know a lot more than many, many traditional authors about contracts, layout, third parties and merchandising. They are not content to let someone else handle that for them, and they are not content being considered less than equal at getting the job done.
It kind of gives me goosebumps.
A long time ago...about the time I started this blog, I made a prediction about Agents. I'd met my first few, and I'd noted that they struck me as a bit like lean coyotes who see a long winter coming. I'm not going to point out the changes that have happened in that industry, but you don't have to wander far to find out. :)
I'm not a Seer. (though I write about a fair few) I wouldn't venture a prediction about the future of publishing right now, because I think it's still a chaotic mess. But, I have to say, when I see one group of people putting their nose to the ground and working their asses off to know every tiny detail that might help them succeed, and I see another group going, No. No. It's not happening. It will never happen.
Well, If not a prediction, I might venture a teen weeny guess who ends up on top.