The Beginning of The End, Part 2


Last month, I talked a bit about the changes present and coming to the publishing industry: the way that mass market paperbacks (the small paperbacks) are slipping away; the way that publishing houses are moving to Trade (the large paperbacks), Hard cover, and E-books; the way that bookstores are going to buy and stock fewer books altogether. A LOT less books; the way that the decreasing amount of shelf space for new books in stores will change the publishing marketplace. Worse – the way that, with fewer large pubs, there will be fewer numbers of writers published. Worst — the way that those fewer numbers of books in houses and on bookshelves means fewer editorial staff kept on hand, fewer PR staff, and all this means more adjustments for unpublished and midlist writers.

These changes have already resulted in a huge transformation in the way readers shop for books, and the way writers will be paid for books. It is also changing the effect of small presses on the readership of the US. And it is driving many more writers to self-publishing. I talked about all that.

Now I want to say that all these changes are placing opportunity in our hands. Yes. Our hands. The hands of the writer. I am not complaining about anything. I am simply seeing what is heading down the highway toward us, and taking a good long look at the publishing realities of the present and near future.

Change is always difficult. Change is another word for stress, even if the stress is good stress. It is enough to make us depressed. It can be enough to make us want to stop writing, or, it will drive us to look for innovative and smart ways to market ourselves and our work.

I have talked to David B Coe and John Hartness about the changing world of publishing and books, and the way that the evolving marketplace is both a help and a hindrance to writers. Being honest here. I have maybe ten more years of good writing in me. I will want to retire at some point and sit on my laurels and maybe take a pottery class or something. And maybe edit books. And only write a book every now and then. In ten years the marketplace may be quite different, and for the younger writers among us, that means keeping abreast of the changes and keeping one foot in several open doors.

Let me address the emotionally charged part of the issue of change. For those who feel the desire to quit, I say this. If writers quit, if we give in to despair, the US literacy rate will bottom out so fast it will feel  like a bomb exploding on the Interstate. Pieces everywhere and nothing left but destruction and emptiness. More movies with dreadful dialogue. More TV that sucks. More action flicks with lots of stunts but no story. Fewer and fewer well-edited books… Just more and more of us putting out unedited edging-toward-crapola stories with no idea how to get readership. More and more of us turning to teaching and editing and falling out of the writing marketplace altogether.

We owe it to the future of the country to keep creating good work, to find ways of getting edited (and not by our mothers or English teachers, but edited by *real*developmental editors).  We owe it to our readers, whether they be few or many. And we owe it to ourselves to keep writing. To keep finding ways to b published.

Somehow, we have to keep an industry of writing alive. How do we do that? Because really, folks, it’s up to us.  It affects all of us. The future is hanging there, in front of us like a rotten apple. Or like a gem waiting for polishing.

In my opinion, all these changes mean three things.

  1. Creating, developing, and supporting small presses.
  2. Hiring real editors for our self-pubbed books.
  3. Finding new ways to cross pollinate the readership.

Next time, I’ll talk about the small press.


PS — Obligatory mention that BLOOD IN HER VEINS is out tomorrow. BloodinHerVeins_Final-cover

Faith’s bio and social media:

BIO — Faith Hunter, fantasy writer, was born in Louisiana and raised all over the south. She writes three Urban Fantasy series:  the Skinwalker series, featuring Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee skinwalker who hunts rogue vampires. The Soulwood series, featuring earth magic user Nell Ingram. And the Rogue Mage novels, a dark, urban, post-apocalyptic, fantasy series featuring Thorn St. Croix, a stone mage. The role playing game based on the series, ROGUE MAGE, RPG.

Don’t forget SHADOW RITES, book 10 in the Jane Yellowrock series, out in April 2016. Pre-order now!

BLOOD IN HER VEINS – the (19) collected short stories and novellas of the Jane Yellowrock World. Out in Feb. 2016.



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