Monday, March 21, 2011

Here Be Dragons (Rerun)

Meetings abound, mes auteurs, so it's a rerun for you today. Happy spring (it's official!) and see you later this week! — E

Episode: "Here Be Dragons"
Originally aired: Monday, October 11th, 2010

I wrote a post last April about myths and misconceptions in the industry, mes auteurs, and I think it's once again time to put a few rumours and unfounded fears to bed.

Onward! (Again!)

· You have to spend money to make money. Aside from incidental costs like paper, printer ink, and postage (and that's only for agents who still don't accept e-MSS), you shouldn't have to pay to submit your work. Let me say that again: no legitimate agent will charge you to read your manuscript or to represent you. Period.

· You have to know someone to get published. This one is sort of true, but let me re-emphasize: if your writing isn't good enough and you're not Justin Bieber or Lindsay Lohan or Kanye West, it doesn't matter who/how many people you know—you're not getting a book deal. Knowing someone greases the wheels; it doesn't build the machine.

· You don't have to promote your book; publishing houses have publicity and marketing teams for a reason. Unless yours is one of the publisher's lead titles, you're going to have to do some of your own legwork. Midlist authors at large houses and most authors at smaller houses have to be willing to do at least some self-promotion in order to give their books the best possible chance in the market. If you're asked to do podcasts, blog tours, physical book tours, readings, signings, or bookstore events, it's in your best interest to do as many as possible.

· E-books and self-publishing are going to make publishers, agents, and editors obsolete. It's true that the industry is changing rapidly and that, à mon avis, the Publishing World of Tomorrow will require fewer employees and companies. Roles will unquestionably change. But as long as people are willing to pay to read books, you're going to have people to sell them, manage their brands (i.e. you), market them, and make sure they're as strong as possible before publication. The future is not a bunch of people uploading their just-finished MSS to Amazon for immediate review and sale.

· Amazon is going to kill the independent/second-hand book store. While I can't say for sure this is 100% false, I'm very confident that Amazon will not kill independent, local, and second-hand book stores; there's no substitute for their ambience, knowledgeable staff, and propensity to stock hard-to-find titles. In fact, should Amazon manage to kill brick-and-mortar chains (which I think is the likelier scenario), indepedents might undergo a resurgence/renaissance of sorts. Think of it this way: chains are the dinosaurs, indies are the scrappy mammals, and Amazon is the asteroid.

That's all for today, meine Bros und She-Bros. Questions in the comments!


  1. Wonderful image ... Amazon as the Asteroid! Bring it on.

  2. E-books and self-publishing are going to make publishers, agents, and editors obsolete
    (long post about why thats not true)

    Absolutely! Its part of my own thoughts, right now self publishing takes a LOT of work. Having a few people to do the extra, non writing work, for people lets them focus on the writing!

  3. I'd say your post is showing its age :o)

  4. This is pretty interesting, especially as someone who wants to go into the publishing industry. I also think your metaphor for bookstores is a very good one. This whole thing reminds me of the introduction of paperback books. Hopefully we'll all just adapt and evolve into humans eventually!