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Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Brutal Truth About Publishing

The brutal truth is that publishing is harder and easier now. Anyone can produce a book and put it out there on for a Kindle download. The time from conception to e-publication is measured now in nanoseconds. Literally someone can write a book one day and publish it the next. It might not be any good but they can tell friends and neighbors to look them up on Amazon. But here is the brutal truth: no one will buy it because it will be a speck of sand among millions of other specks.

And so publishing in a strange way has become more rarefied. More exclusive. The dunning of millions of authors cancels out the playing field. The noise from three million books reaches a critical mass where no one can get their message out. Except for the few. The few who are published by the mainstream large publishers who put the muscle behind the book to blow right past the Hoover Dam of published authors. And they do it the old fashioned way; with lots of money.

Start with the million dollar advance. This author has a huge advantage over his kindle published brethren. For one he or she can make a living as an author. Right there the stream is narrowed drastically. But the publisher now has to make that million dollars back and they do it by pumping money into pushing that book. While the kindle author tries to get his book reviewed, five thousand galleys go flying out to bookstores, reviewers, bloggers. Publicists and marketers follow up and the word shoots out that this is a big book. The noise of all the self published authors is drowned out by a single tidal wave of publishing muscle.

Then the buzz starts and the author and the book steadily climb onto the bestseller list. The self published author sells a few copies and then simply disappears. Now there are exceptions. There are now authors selling a million ebooks on Amazon. We have all heard these stories and they are inspiring. But for the majority of authors who decide that watching their Amazon rankings tick a few times down and seeing their name in print is worth more than the years of learning their craft, the fate is a dismal one. Utter obscurity.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said there is no greater difference than that between the amateur and the professional in the arts.  This is probably more true today where the amateur runs to immediate gratification while the professional labors on in pursuit of their craft. There still is no substitute for first rate work even in the age of the internet and the digital word.

http://www.billhazelgrove.com/

Books by William Hazelgrove