There is a line in the long running play Chorus Line, spoken by a young dancer, which goes something like, "Don't tell me Broadway is dead. I just got here."
Sometimes I feel a little like that. I finally have the chance to throw myself full time into my life long dream - that of seeing my book on the shelf of my local bookstore - and all I hear is bookstores are dying and good old fashioned books aren't far behind. The reality of the future is the e-book.
I'm trying to adjust. I have a Nook. It's not my favorite way to read but I do use it. And I know several authors who have books out that were published in e-format only. It's a legitimate form of publication. But hope springs eternal and I'm still hoping to someday see my words in print. Old fashioned print...on paper.
Unfortunately, everything I'm reading these days says the sad state of the brick and mortar bookstore is impacting the publishing world as well. With less store shelves to fill, publishers will be publishing fewer books, especially from new and mid-list authors, and many may be published in e-format only. Also, publishers are expecting authors do to more self-promoting and marketing these days. This is leading a lot of authors to consider the option of self-publishing online. Cut out the middle man (the publisher) altogether. Increase the author's profits.
I see the logic in it. But to me the whole idea of "being published" has always meant someone, a professional in the publishing business, thought something I wrote was worth publishing. That was a biggie. Even if it wasn't a best seller (hey, we're talking dreams here) I would still be able to say, "Yes, I had a book published." Putting it out there myself would feel a bit like selling my work at a garage sale because it wasn't good enough for a store.
I have concerns from a reader's perspective as well. When I go into a book store or a library looking for something to read, I know I'm choosing among books that some professional editors/publishers thought were good enough to print. Will I always agree? Of course not. But I will have a baseline level of expectation. If I'm shopping online in a sea of self-published books, how much time will I have to waste separating the carefully crafted novel from sloppy first draft someone threw together and figured was good enough to put out there? If this becomes an issue, will e-book sellers offer readers the option of shopping for "published" e-books only and, if so, what would that do to the self-published market?
Lots of questions. Very few answers. What are your thoughts?
My current word count: 30,877 (took a writing break and editing those first 100 pages)
I'm currently enjoying: Lion in the Valley by Elizabeth Peters (poor Peabody, I've left her in the desert with no reading time to bring her home)
Groaner of the day: A hungry lion was roaming through the jungle looking for something to eat. He came across two men. One was sitting under a tree reading a book; the other was typing away on his typewriter. The lion quickly pounced on the man reading the book and devoured him.
Even the king of the jungle knows that readers digest, and writers cramp.