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 YouWriteOn.com http://www.youwriteon.com 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.
Many – many years ago, when I was working for ICI in Melbourne, the big news was that their product Terylene was going to make wool redundant. Now no-one has even heard of Terylene and wool has gone from strength to strength. Proving that the “real” thing always triumphs in the end.
One would hope, Mike.
Personally I can’t envisage a world without ‘real’ books. It beggars description.
As to the extermination of the slush-pile, I don’t know what to make of such a comment. For as long as there have been publishers, there have been writers submitting . . . its hard to imagine a world without it.
Can I add flame to the fire? I am addicted to ebooks! I am no writer only a mere reader and avid library user. But with access to particularly public domain ebooks I got hooked reading on my iPod. The thing stores easily dozens books, not that I read that many at a time, and my bookmark can’t fall out like in a regular book. When I have pockets which these days I favor clothing with exactly because it enables me to do bits of reading here and there. Then I heard about this app called Wattpad. http://www.Wattpad.com is the YouTube of ebooks. And like YT on it’s front page is a load of cr@p. But it’s beauty lies in the fact that each story
comes with a mobile code for the wattpad app
where it can be read offline. They made the
format very workable for fanfic writers. One
creates a storygroup first where additional
parts can get posted to.
I find this really interesting. Being a luddite, I am only just coming to grips with all that technology offers. As a reader, I can’t imagine reading books on a screen. As a writer, I edit my own writing in hard copy because major mistakes stand out better in hard copy.
BUT, because I am having such fun with the fan fict. stuff, I have often wondered where it might go . . . ultimately edited into a downloadable e-book? I’m going to check out the link and thanks so much for mentioning here. I really appreciate it.
Sadly don’t think Wattpad let’s you put in pictures but I still hope you put this fic or future one’s there so I’m not limited to having Internet access. (at least i have all your chappie’s in one folder bookmarked) I’ll make myself a fan of you straight away.