HighTalking: Novelist Jon F. Merz on How Social Media is Changing Publishing (Part 1)
Nowadays, people don’t want to go through the traditional publishing hoops of querying agents and editors. They don’t want to wait. They want their stories and articles out there fast. So, instead of even putting a piece of paper into a typewriter, they simply click open MS Word, write their masterpiece, and the save the file as HTML. Uploaded to the site, it’s instant gratification.
Publishing’s response to this has been something along the lines of, “Yes, but we’re the gatekeepers of quality. We *know* what the consumers want.” Bull puckey. That argument might have once held water, but no longer.
I’ll use myself as an example: my novel PARALLAX is a thriller with Science Fiction/Psychic elements. In trying to get the book sold, all the editors who read it, loved it. But because publishing thinks in terms of labels and how to slot books into those labels, the fact that Parallax blurred the lines a bit meant they couldn’t sell it to the committee and the book never got picked up.
Fast forward a few years and I’m tired of having a novel sitting on my hard drive not earning me any money, so I put it out as an ebook. Lo and behold, reader response has been fantastic. So while publishing might *think* they know what consumers want, that isn’t always the case. And Parallax proves that a well-written book will always find a home with an audience if given the chance.
As far as the quality goes, there is certainly plenty of crap out there. People are impatient and they want to believe that their stuff is gold right out of the gate. So, sure, there is a lot of junk. But there are also some really great writers out there making a decent living from self-publishing their own material. If traditional publishers were smarter, they would take advantage of these ready-made audiences and then look to break that author out into a larger market share.
Emphasis added by me.
There are also some very interesting thoughts in part two.