Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Published yet?

Are you published yet? I get asked this just about every time people find out I'm a writer.

The short answer is: No.

Longer answer: It takes a while. You work on the craft for years, polishing and honing, and then you network and make contacts until the planets align. Right now the planets are crashing into one another.

The publishing world is in upside-down chaos these days, sort of like the Poseidon Adventure, only less fun. Both Barnes and Noble and Borders are hanging onto bricks and mortar book stores, but they are hurting. People are browsing, then buying online from Amazon or other e-retailers. This means they are having a hard time making the building lease payments, which pressures the mall owners, etc.

But what this all really means is books are being sold for less than ever--either p-books (printed) or e-books--from online retailers. Even physical books sold at Walmart and Costco pressure the price. That puts the squeeze on the publishers' profits, which further cuts into the authors' receipts. Pretty soon, it just won't pay to write books. Oh, wait...that's pretty much the way it is now, at least for most authors.

Check out the well done blog on this topic by literary agent Steve Laube: "Is This the End of Publishing?" He has some links to rather discouraging blogs about the state of publishing, but also a very creative video that gives some hope.

Now, does all this doom and gloom mean no one will write books? No. Writers write--gotta do it. It's like a bad habit: once you pick it up, it's hard to put down.

So I'm excited about the new publishing world. We're going to have many more choices of where we get our reading material. Sure it'll be confusing for a time, but the possibilities are almost endless.

And those possibilities take me one step closer to publication.


Bethany from Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE paper books!! Please tell me they won't go away forever anytime soon! Unfortunately, I am guilty of buying from Amazon, or using instead of buying from a brick & mortar store, but a girl's gotta watch her budget, right? On the flip side, I'm a writer who is VERY frustrated by the non-paying markets out there! I write articles for a bunch of different places & don't get paid for one (well, once in a while). Like you, I certainly don't have any answers for this conundrum. Sigh.

C. S. Lakin said...

You are a wonderful writer. You will get published. And God is your literary agent, not the economy. So, don't fret. Do as you are called--keep writing and wait on him. If he wants you to stop, he'll let you know. I tried to stop many times and he kept dragging me into the ring. I've got the brusies to prove it!

Rich Bullock said...

Bethany--don't think you have to worry for quite a while. Paperbacks will be with us until the cockroaches are the only thing left.

But I think we have to face some publishing reality. Just a year ago at a writers conference, publishers told me that ebooks were such small potatoes that they weren't really looking at them that much! I predicted then that the market would explode--soon. I think we're seeing the beginning of that.

Can't help you on the non-paying markets. That's part of the information deluge we're under these days: there's always more than we need, and often for free.