I'm sure you've heard the big news, but in case you haven't...best selling author, Barry Eisler, turned down a 500k book deal yesterday so that he could self-publish.
Yes, you read that right.
I can see the negatives and positives from both sides of the debate: Traditional publishing vs. Self-pub. And I'm not saying Barry's decision is wrong or right. I believe every author has to make the decision that is best for them, and that decision is based on many factors.
Me personally, I'm old-fashioned. I'm always saying I wish I was born several decades earlier so I could live in slower-paced times when people spent more quality time with other people instead of dedicating the majority of their waking hours to technology. But that's a whole other rant. Back to my original thought...
I want my first novel to be published the old-fashioned way. I want a real book in my hands. I want to ooh and ahh (or hide all traces of disappointment from my face) at the pretty (or not-so-pretty) cover the publishing house and its designer and marketing team collaborated on. I want to see my book on a shelf in a bookstore so my mom can use her ninja skills to strategically move it to the MUST READ section. I want to picture my book, a hundred years from now, tattered, stained and packed away in a moving box full of other books and when the owner opens the lid, he/she inhales that first waft of old paper smell and thinks, "Ahh memories. I love the smell of my favorite books and--even though I have a computer chip embedded in my wrist that allows me to read any book at anytime instantly on a virtual reality screen embedded in my eyeballs--I will never ever throw these away because nothing will EVER replace the feel of a REAL book."
Yup, I'm a traditionalist at heart.
BUT, I'm also very adaptable. I want my agent to get me a good deal on E rights. I want my stories available at the touch of a button to Kindle, Nook, Sony (and any and all other EReader) lovers. I'm not stupid. I know the percentage an author can make on Ebooks vs. printed. Once I have some kind of following I might take the Ebook route for some of my stories.
But here's my main thing, call me sentimental, but I don't want to live in a world where publishing houses are obsolete. My heart aches and breaks when I picture a world without agents, editors, assistants, foreign rights managers, and all those other people who participate in creating and producing REAL books. That's a lot of passionate literary people no longer being able to do what they love because technology has eliminated the need for them. I hate that. The very thought of it bemoans my soul.
What will come next? Computers that create and write novels without the help or imagination of a real human being? Great, then authors won't even be needed. I know it's an extreme thought, but look how fast and drastically our world is changing--and not all of those changes are for the better (in my humble opinion).
If you want to read Jane Friedman's post, about Barry turning down the book deal, including a downloadable conversation between Barry and JA Konrath about the topic, click here.
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