One in a Thousand?

I’ve noticed a theme in agents’ blogs on the Net recently.  Essentially a gloom and doom scenario which comes down to three points:

1. E-books are going to take over the book world.  Whether published by mainstream of independent houses, or by self or vanity publishers, they are going to rule the reading world.

2. Bricks and mortar bookshops will shrink, or worse, disappear entirely.

3. Slush piles (ie. the mountain of unsolicited manuscripts that all writers send to publishers and agents at some point in their lives) will disappear because writers will e-book publish.

This raises questions in my own mind:

1. Why are e-books going to take over?  From what I have read in the electronic and print media, the biggest percentage of readers still want to own hard copy.

2. Is a writer going to be judged by the way in which their e-book is published? (ie. if it is a free-download which is self-publishing in any other language, POD, mainstream or independent)

3. If (unsolicited) submissions become a thing of the past, does that not mean that aspiring writers (good and bad) have only one means left open to them to get themselves noticed? (ie. self or vanity publishing in either e-book or hard copy format)

4. If unsolicited submissions become a  thing of the past how will agents and publishers find new and exciting writers?

5. The thought of redundancy in many areas also rears its head but I’m loathe to spell it out.

We writers are up against it from the minute we type Chapter One of our opus. Rationally we know that every second person wants to write a book.  We also know that if every one of those people submit, only ONE IN A THOUSAND will make it.

But we write anyway.

And just because one in a thousand is contracted, it doesn’t mean that only that ONE is quality.  There could be 500 of the remaining 999 that are really good reading.  If the quality of submissions to peer review sites like is anything to go by, that is certainly the case.

So assuming that writers know the odds are stacked higher daily, you can’t really blame them for being proactive and investigating the options . . . from getting in at the ground floor of retail e-book publication to perhaps POD publishing or similar.

It may be the only way to counter the gloom.