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Statements for the Future

One of the things the Prime debate has reignited in me is the belief that eventually there will be a change in publishing, similar to that which is currently happening in music, and which will result in well known authors forming their own imprints to control their own work.

It will not be a collective, in that the authors will band together and form their own print, but rather a series of authors who, having grown tired and dissatisfied for whatever reason with publishers--lack of communication, lost money, buried books, or even simply a desire to be in control--will step away from these firms. The technology is reaching the point that the actual physical creation of a book is not hidden from an author, nor out of reach, and given the rise in self employed and contract work in all professions, the professionals that they can employ, much like a publishing house does, is not out of their reach either. Eventually, I believe, writers will be drawn to controlling their own work because they can employ editors who passionate about the same work, who understand their intent, and to cover artists they connect with, and so on and so forth--just as those professions will work with authors they connect with. What will happen will be similar fashion to what bands such as Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have done, to pick the obvious examples.

Understand, I don't think it will happen now, or even soon. As Deb Layne (deborahlive) points out in the comments of my last post, "Writers can form their own "publishing houses" and publish under that imprint, but they still carry the scent of Vanity Publishing. And for now at least, Vanity Publishing has a whole different meaning in books from what it's equivalent has in music, you know?" She's right, of course, and it's strange that in literature, self publishing is seen not, as it is in music or even in comics, as putting your money where your mouth is, or controlling your work, but rather as a vanity, as the last ditch attempt of a desperate author who cannot be published by legitimate publishers. To an extent, the reputation is earned because there are hundreds of bad self published novels out there, each one of them as wretched as the next (the same, however, is true for the music and comic industries)... but yet, despite this, I do believe there will be a change, eventually.

This does not mean, of course, that publishers will disappear, nor that they should. There are good publishers out there, and there will always be authors who prefer to not take the huge responsibility or getting their book ready for publication, distribution, and so forth, and honestly, I don't think publishers should disappear.

Rather, I believe there will be a change in how things happen. Maybe in the next ten years, maybe more, maybe less.

Will it work?

Well, that, I suppose, only time will prove.

Comments

benpeek
Aug. 8th, 2008 07:03 am (UTC)
it's probably got to do a lot with the modes by which the work is put out. if you're a band, you get a gig, perform, and grow in the public space. if you're a writer, someone in authority must pass judgement over you before you can get published. it works with bands that way (gigs are not given out), but still...
girliejones
Aug. 8th, 2008 07:05 am (UTC)
Hmmm ... I dunno, I think also if you perform a piece over and over again, you might get the chance to fine tune it with each performance which would be a lot more fluid than a piece of writing?
benpeek
Aug. 8th, 2008 07:07 am (UTC)
that's what writing is. no one emerges full blown--each piece is about fine tuning what you do, and no musician just learns just one piece. a lot of early songs can still suck, no matter if the band is better skill wise.
girliejones
Aug. 8th, 2008 07:09 am (UTC)
That's true. But I think that each time you play the piece, you get to edit it. Maybe it's the timeframe - you could fine tune the one piece or you could do it across your body of work? I dunno.
benpeek
Aug. 8th, 2008 01:34 pm (UTC)
well, it's hard to say. comparisons between music and writing only go so far, honestly.
girliejones
Aug. 8th, 2008 01:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Still comparing the models is interesting.