From LitFlow Magazine, terrific insight on the current publishing world and how authors are making their way through the high weeds.
Jane Friedman says, “I spent more than a decade working at Writer’s Digest, where my job was to understand the problems of writers and give them information and instruction to help them make educated career choices. What is happening today in the publishing industry is confusing to authors as well as hugely divisive. Authors are separating into camps: those who defend traditional publishing and those who defend self-publishing (or the often preferred term, indie publishing). Very few clearly or objectively understand the changes in the industry, which can result in the kind of destructive behavior that we saw when a mob of authors brought down a legitimate e-book lending service, LendInk. If anyone doubted the power of authors working together through online communities, this was a wake-up call. The beliefs and attitudes of authors will in part dictate what the future of publishing looks like. And for many decades now, authors have felt underserved and unsupported by their publishers. Yes, it’s an old cliché—the love/hate relationship between author and publisher—but the authors have reason to be unhappy, and the publishers know it. It’s unnecessary to detail all the ways that authors have become dissatisfied with publishers; anyone working in the industry is familiar with the complaints. We all acknowledge that most books and authors receive limited support and attention, and, for too many authors, this is not what they expect or want from their publisher relationship. Now that many alternative and better-paying publishing paths have opened up, authors are asking publishers “What have you done for me lately?”, and too frequently the answer is “Not enough for the royalty percentage and marketing support you offer.”