There was an interesting article over on Futurebook I read this evening about the changing nature of publishing. I’m sure it’s not anything surprising to anyone who’s in the know these days, which—if you’re online—is pretty much everyone. We all know how traditional publishing is being swept aside in favour of e-publishing and e-books and the like, but it’s still very enlightening to read how the whole process works from the publisher’s side of things. There’s a lot of risk and cost and development involved on their side as well, for each and every book that comes through their door.
It’s difficult to bring a book to fruition, for anyone involved. For you, the author, it’s a labour of love and a brain-child that takes either months or years of hard work. For the publisher, it’s a means to make money, and it’s in their best interest to make sure you’re well represented and that they capture your good side, so to speak. In the face of the changing environment, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle and see your work vanish forever because of a shifting tide on the business side. But here are some (mostly) encouraging words, straight from a publisher:
“This is not the right time to wait and see which direction things take, this is the time to experiment, to learn and to guide. Think in chances and opportunities, not in threats and fears. Not always visible to people outside of the publishing house, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t working hard on new developments, product forms, campaigns and business models.” ~Timo Boezeman, Futurebook
It’s a rapidly changing environment. Stick to doing what you do best: writing. Past that, roll with the punches and see where you land. Self-promotion is increasingly important, but the bottom line to any best-selling, successful novel is good writing—it’s the base on which all the marketing is built. Work on your foundation, and the rest will (with some luck) fall into place.