There was a very interesting post on Joe Konrath's blog yesterday. I'm still in the process of absorbing all the implications it raised.
In a nutshell, the only constants in this publishing dance we're all engaged in are writers and readers. Everything else is variable.
That had already occurred to me, actually.
It's perfectly true that things are always changing. Two months ago I had only the very faint hope that I might someday sell something to Tor or Baen. Today I already have my first e-book out, and it's just been approved for the Smashwords Premium Catalogue. Which means it'll be available on quite a few websites other than Smashwords soon, including Apple, Sony, Barnes and Noble, and a number of others. If Borders was still in business it would be available there, too, and by the end of the year it will also be available on Amazon. I don't have to do anything further to facilitate any of this. It's already a done deal.
Now, some writers are apparently afraid that all this great new stuff will change suddenly or go away entirely.
Well, yeah, things always go away. We don't have any control over that. Smashwords could go bust tomorrow. Amazon could drop their royalty rate from 70% to, let us say, 10%. There aren't any guarantees. Like I said, that had already occurred to me.
I don't think any of that is very likely right now. But what do I know? Let's just say nothing would surprise me.
I do think it's silly for writers to wring their hands and worry themselves over stuff they can't change. I think they're fixating on the wrong thing. They're focusing on how they get published, when they should actually be focusing on how they find, build, and continue to reach their potential readership.
It's not too soon to prepare for change, of course. That's why I'll be going back to Joe Konrath's blog today and trying to fully absorb all that was said there yesterday.
I'm a huge beneficiary of the largesse of strangers right now. Smashwords has let me put out my e-book, my way (that's their slogan, in fact) to occupy virtual shelf-space alongside everybody from Stephen King and John Grisham to Mary Shelley and Katherine Stockett. For free. Blogspot has given me this very website, also for free, where I could even sell things if I wanted (like e-books—mine, and maybe yours; someday we might not even need Smashwords or Amazon).
These things are assets. I'm grateful for them. And as long as I've got them, I intend to take advantage of them.
That's all for now. Thanks for dropping by.