I’d like to dedicate this entry to the nefarious person who decided to tear apart traditional publishing and pretty much ruined my day. Their article titled: Why you’ll NEVER be published by the big six is pretty much a desperate cry from someone who’s clearly on the brink of insanity.
That being said, I don’t have statistics because I’m not that savvy, but I do have some facts to point out.
1) New Authors ARE being published by the Big Six. The same way they always have been. There are LOTS of them out there. I think this year alone I’ve read at least 10 books from debut authors if not more.
2) Traditional Publishing is like Law Enforcement, just because you don’t see Law Enforcement catching all the drug lords and murderers doesn’t mean you can pick up a gun and do it yourself. The same way you can’t take the law into your own hands, you can’t expect to take the market into your own hands.
3) Traditional Publishing is like the Fashion Industry. They tell you what to read and what not to read. The same way fashion tells you what to wear and what not to wear. They CREATE the trends and then every house and small imprint catches the wave. Right now that wave is Dystopia, Urban Fantasy and Steampunk. In a few months that trend will change again, but guess what, it’ll be because of the big six, not because of the “indie revolution”.
4) Your ideas of an “Indie Revolution” are flimsy at best. There are maybe 3 of the thousands of Indie Authors out there actually making substantial money on their books. The rest of the Indie community is suffering like they always have. They’re selling maybe 100 – 500 copies of their book and they’re only doing it at .99 cents per book. Believe me, nobody is getting rich off Indie Publishing.
5) Nobody is getting rich off Traditional Publishing either! These new authors are getting their advances and then they’re not seeing anything else for their book. They’re waiting while they build their own social networking empire and online fan base. The same way everyone else is.
6) Traditionally Published authors are under way more pressure than the Indie Authors. In all honesty they’re the ones under contract to write. They’re doing everything they can to stay alive in a market that’s fading out like a dying star. You know, by the time traditional publishing is really gone, it’ll have traveled light years to get there.
7) You pompous know it all Indie Revolution supporters need to take stock. Traditional Publishing does NOT consist of ONE nefarious person who is rejecting all the good manuscripts. It consists of a network of professionals, from agents, editors, publishers, marketing analysts, artists, librarians, teachers, and assistants who deserve the respect they’ve earned. These are the people who brought you the books you grew up loving, the books you’ve aspired to. You can say there’s shit out there, but you can’t say they haven’t published a good number of books you’ve loved.
8) I personally still get the majority of my books from major publishers. Reason being, I can’t trust an Indie Author, they’ve either got an unrealistic view of the publishing industry and their attitude stinks, or their book stinks, or both! And for the few Indie Authors I’ve found who don’t suck, I totally support them, but I don’t envy them!
9) One of the stupidest things I’ve seen recently is an Indie Author writing Middle Grade. Exactly HOW is this Author going to get their books into the hands of the kids they write for? I mean really, teachers, librarians, parents, nobody is going to take them seriously. They’re going to treat said Author like the pedophile on the playground. The only hope this Author has of selling anything is by going the total DIY, spending a lot of money on vanity publishing and going to events to sell their books.
10) How is Self Publishing any different than Vanity Publishing? You want to look at how it’s free to put your book on Kindle, Nook and other Ebook Readers? That’s great, but that’s not paper publishing, that’s not books on the shelf in Chapters, Barnes and Noble, Borders and Indie Bookstores. If you want to sell your book through a POD that’s another “free” service, but then look at the stuff you can buy from these people: cover design, interior formatting, marketing plans, etc. etc. If you go to lulu or create space you’re going to see the DIY options which yes are free, but then you’re also going to see the vanity publishing options where you PAY to get your book out there. Even then, if you put a book on POD, you have to put out $75.00 for a Global Reach Program. This is just so your book appears on barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com. And you make $2.00 a book if you’re lucky and you might sell 10 copies. Again, what a fantastic plan!
11) Traditional Publishers these days are NOT relying on their big authors like Stephen King, Nora Roberts and Terry Goodkind. When was the last time you saw Stephen King on the NYT Bestsellers list? No, they’re relying on either the authors they’re building and making a name for themselves, or the flukes they publish that break out there. Otherwise they’ve begun relying on a large number of average authors, ones that sell enough books to make some money, but not big money. They rely on their version of a trend. That’s why every imprint has their own Dystopian Author, their own Steampunk, etc. etc. They’re relying on casting a wider net and doing combined sales between a few authors, not just the big ones. What they’re hoping for is that one of their average Authors breaks ahead of the others big time and bam, their books start selling like hotcakes. They have reached a point where all their top writers are getting close to retirement, and so they need to bring out new authors to replace the old authors and these people need to be big. They like the young ones because they don’t have tendonitis and carpal tunnel and still use typewriters. They can write for a long time and publishers can tell them what to write next. You may see more and more bestselling authors being approached and asked to write books that publishers want to publish. You see how this works?
12) The other thing is, each publishing house and imprint can only handle ONE Author per genre at a time.. So basically an agent has to go through the editors with a fine toothed comb and see where they have an opening for your really awesome Paranormal Romance. The houses are swamped with these books. They can only afford to push one of these authors to the top and if you think it’s all about the book when it comes to who they pick, then you’re stupider than you look. It comes down to who’s willing to do the work, who’s really nice to everyone and has the best attitude, who’s willing to listen to them and take their suggestions and who’s pretty much an awesome person to work with. Are you, Traditional Publishing basher, an awesome person to work with? I think not.
So that’s why YOU will NEVER get published with one of the Big Six.
The rest of us still have hope as long as we take into account the current situation and are patient and strategic enough to get them on our side.
Bottom Line: It takes a community to build a great book. Nobody ever got anywhere in publishing without someone else’s help.