TEN CHANGES IN BOOK PUBLISHING
by Rayne Hall
1. In the past, most authors worked for editors. Today, most editors work for authors.
2. Most books went from author to agent to publisher to distributor to bookseller to reader. Now, more and more go from author to distributor to reader, cutting out most middlemen.
3. To be commercially viable, books had to sell enough copies to finance a big publishing apparatus. Now, many need to pay only one person: the author.
4. Agents and editors acted as gatekeepers, ensuring that poorly written books did not get published. Now, it’s the authors’ responsibility to ensure their books are as good as they can make them.
5. When books were printed, word counts were critical. Nowadays with ebooks, lengths are flexible; only quality counts.
6. Once a book was published, it was too late to correct errors, change the cover or tweak the blurb; any improvements had to wait until the print run had sold out. With ebooks, anything can be changed any time.
7. Many publishers prevented communication between readers and authors. Today, direct reader-author communication is encouraged because it sells books.
8. Mixing genres used to make a book impossible to sell. Today, genre cross-overs sell just fine.
9. Writers used to spend much time courting agents. Now they spend much time courting readers.
10. ‘Previously published’ used to lessen the value of a story. Nowadays, it’s a quality mark.
What experiences have you had in dealing the new world of publishing? [–Ed.]
Rayne Hall has published more than fifty books in several languages under several pen names with several publishers in several genres, mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction. She is the author of the bestselling Writer’s Craft series and editor of the Ten Tales short story anthologies.
She is a trained publishing manager, holds a masters degree in Creative Writing, and has worked in the publishing industry for over thirty years.
Having lived in Germany, China, Mongolia and Nepal, she has now settled in a small dilapidated town of former Victorian grandeur on the south coast of England where she enjoys reading, gardening and long walks along the seashore. She shares her home with a black cat adopted from the cat shelter. Sulu likes to lie on the desk and snuggle into Rayne’s arms when she’s writing.
You can follow her on Twitter http://twitter.com/RayneHall where she posts advice for writers, funny cartoons, and cute pictures of her cat.
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