Sunday, August 21, 2011

Is the Internet going to eat book publishing?

I’m a writer, and a few months ago I had a problem. My Word program kept quitting. I phoned my computer-whiz friend, Dolores, who said the Word program was outdated and I’d better upgrade.

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll go out right now and buy the latest version of Word. “Sigh. But finishing my novel won’t guarantee publication. Seems every writer I know is papering her walls with rejection slips.”

“If you and your friends have produced well-written work,” Dolores said, “you could submit to Print and Demand publishers. Anyone can see POD is the wave of the future.”

Oh yeah? I thought. What does she know?

On my way to the computer store, I wondered how Shakespeare managed to write such masterpieces with only a quill. And how did the great Irish writer, James Joyce, feel when he finally published his first novel after numerous rejections caused him to fling it into the fire? Since those were pre-computer days, thank goodness his sister pulled it from the flames. 

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected by a dozen publishers, including Penguin and Harper Collins. Well, she can thumb her nose at them now. Bloomsbury of London finally took it. Stephen King’s breakthrough novel, Carrie was rejected 30 times. The list goes on.

Recently, the New York Times ran an article called “E-book Revolution Upends a Publishing Course.” The Columbia Publishing Course is described as what was “a genteel summer tradition in the book business, a white-glove six-week course in which ambitious college graduates were educated in the time-honored basics of book editing, sales, cover design and publicity. Not this summer.” This summer, Madeline McIntosh, the president of sales, operations and digital for Random House gave a talk to those students on the e-book revolution upending the publishing business.

Here is what Chris Crawford of Happiness is Everything! has this to say about POD: “I believe this is definitely the wave of the future. Traditional book publishers have been a bottleneck for new authors and they only serve to throttle the availability of new reading material, especially from upcoming authors. I believe the entire book publishing industry will be turned on its head and will look entirely different in the years to come. POD publishing provides a much more level playing field. The traditional book publisher will have to alter their current strategy, or suffer the inevitable consequences of their own demise.”

So, it seems Dolores may be right. In this digital age, it makes sense that POD is, indeed, the wave of the future.

Thank goodness for my new Word program, for with the best of pens, my handwriting is difficult to read. With all due respect to William, I’d never get anywhere with a quill. Thanks to POD, my three books—romance novels HER SISTER’S SECRET and THE RIGHT MAN FOR KATHERINE as well as mainstream novel, MORNA are sitting safely on Melange Books’ computer ready for both e-book and print in the spring of two-thousand and twelve.

Mary Kate Brogan


Mila Ramos said...

Great article!! I loved this point of view of possibility that is out there. Great view point.

Billi Jean said...

Loved this, great article, and fun to read. LOL. Best of luck with your new Word program. I hope it's not 2007!

;) Billi Jean