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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Alternatives to Traditional Publishing Article

From Bob Mayer's blog, Write It Forward, about alternatives to traditional publishing.


What’s First, The Chicken or the Egg? Alternatives to Traditional Publishing was the title of a panel I attended Friday morning at Thrillerfest. The panel master was a friend of mine, David Hewson, who did a bang up job of not only keeping the panel focused on the topic at hand, but also directing questions to the appropriate panel members. Lou Aronica, Steve Feldberg, Joel Fishman, A.J. Hartley and Dan Slater made up the panel.
In our Writer’s Conference Guide we suggest picking workshops based on speaker and not necessarily on the topic. We chose this panel because Dan Slater is with Amazon and Steve Feldberg is with—both were people we wanted to not only hear what they had to say, but discuss possibilities for Who Dares Wins Publishing.
It was surprising that this seemed to be the only panel that focused on this topic considering everything that is going on in publishing.
Dan Slater from Amazon talked a lot about how Amazon puts their customers first and wants to focus on the Author/Reader relationship. That’s good news. One thing he said that really struck a cord with me was that it is the authors and the readers who drive this business. Not news to us, but it’s nice to hear a major player in the future of publishing discuss two of the most important people in the publishing business. I really enjoyed listening to him and talking with him later because he was very optimistic about the future. He must have been channeling Bob when he said, “it’s an exciting time to be an author.”
Other things discussed were how publishing is too corporatized. There is a huge problem with overhead, which is affecting the price model for ebooks. Also mentioned was that the rules for digital publishing are different than for print publishing. This isn’t anything new. We’ve been talking about it here for a while now.
Steve Feldberg said something that seemed to struck a cord with the audience when he said, “there is no longer a distinction between alternative forms of publishing and traditional publishing…it’s all publishing.” A writer used to ask himself or herself when will I get published? Now the question is who is going to be my readers?
The feel when I left this workshop was a sense of empowerment for the author. I also noticed that the entire room went straight for Dan Slater of Amazon. There was a long line of writers waiting to talk to him.
However, the overall tone of the conference is firmly planted in print traditional publishing. This is neither good nor bad. Many of these authors are making their living off of the traditional model. But, as we’ve asked here many times—where is the next wave of best-sellers going to come from?
No one really knows what is going on. All the industry experts can predict all they want, but the reality is they’ve underestimated digital and the effects ebooks would have on authors and readers—the people who drive this business. It really is an exciting time to be an author. The key is to educate yourself, know and understand your options and make the right decision for yourself. You are in command of your career.

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