Winds of Change

By now there probably aren’t too many people in the pub world that aren’t aware of what’s going on over at Dorchester. And I’m not really planning on discussing all the sordid details – the pros and the cons of epubbing or if this move is truly an act of desperation vs a bold maneuver into the future.

There are plenty of other places out there that have raging debates on the topic:

Jim Hines
Smart Bitches
Dear Author
JA Konrath

And regardless of what the outcome is, no one can say the move isn’t polarizing. And of course, everyone feels terribly for the authors, most of whom were completely blindsided by the news – some of them had books that were scheduled to be released next month. And now? *poof* Or ebook only.

As to the rest of it, I’m not entirely sure. Everyone seems to be clamoring in different directions. I won’t read ebooks. I only read ebooks. Publishing is dead. Publishing is changing. Self-pub is the only way to go. Self-pub is for unedited losers. Self-pub is for people with a niche market who know what they’re doing. Traditional publishers are skinflints who aren’t interested in their authors. And on and on.

There’s obviously no real answer here – everyone’s experiences are different and that’s what they’re bringing to the table. Numbers and percentages can easily be twisted to provide “proof” that one’s argument is correct. Controlled chaos is about the best word I can think of, and I suspect it’s going to take a while before things settle out. I’m not sure what’s needed. A consistent epub format for sure would go a long way to easing some things, because even aside from the argument of trad pub vs digital pubbing is that the readers have so many options, so many devices, that it’s difficult to know where to turn. In that respect, we all lose – readers, authors, publishers. Maybe we’re all losing sight of the main goal here –  to tell stories and produce those stories in ways to reach as many readers as we can.

As someone who’s going to be pubbed traditionally, I can say that it makes me feel a little uneasy. Not so much because things are changing – growth *is* change and it’s sometimes painful – but more that it’s just so uncertain. For so long, the ultimate goal has been to see my book in print, on a shelf. And it still is, obviously, but it’s hard to reconcile that with people who are constantly berating that choice as going that of the way of the dinosaurs.

The rules are changing, and it’s not enough to just say “Oh, well I’m getting trad pubbed so I don’t have to worry.” After all, many of the Dorchester authors probably felt the same way. Sticking your head in the sand and waiting until it all blows over is probably not much of an option and aspiring authors do so at their own peril.

Whatever path you choose, make sure you’re as fully aware as you can be of the potential pitfalls…and then take the plunge. The rest will just have to take care of itself.

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