Blogger: Mary Keeley
I try to stay informed about publishing news and culture so that I can keep you informed, because I know you’re busy writing and learning and writing more, growing relationships with readers, and marketing your books. Publishing was a stable industry for decades, but the changes in just the past eight years are mindboggling. Technology will continue to influence change, but other forms could add to the mix in the future. I read about two what-ifs recently that are worth our discussion.
What if Amazon really were to open bricks and mortar stores?
Rumors have abounded about this since large chains such as Barnes & Noble decided they wouldn’t carry Amazon Publishing’s books. However, nothing came of it until now. This month both Shelf Awareness and USA Today reported on the secretive rehabbing of a store in a popular shopping center in Seattle, which is where Amazon’s home office is located. According to one report boxes of books and bookshelves were seen through the window of the former restaurant. Amazon also has sought out and interviewed booksellers from area indie stores, giving vague information about available positions. The main focus would likely be on their Amazon Exclusives line and their devices.
The growing elephant in the room that is going unnoticed by publishing executives is the buzz among gifted writers who are tired of waiting for traditional publishers and are talking collectively about alternate routes to publication. This may be the time traditional publishers get serious about taking more risks on talented new authors before they turn to the biggest publisher in the world that will distribute their books directly to the shelves of their own local bookstores.
What if freedom of speech is endangered?
A cloud hung over the Frankfurt Book Fair’s official opening this year as news of Iran’s boycott of the fair spread through the newswires. The reason: the Iranian Ministry of Culture (Iranian government) decided to exclude Iranian publishers’ participation, to the expressed disappointment of those publishers. Why? Because British Indian author Salman Rushdie was present. Salman Rushdie’s response? He sees Iran’s action as a threat against freedom of expression. You can read more about what went on here and here.
But that’s somewhere else. It couldn’t ever happen here in the US because free speech is protected by our Constitution, right? Maybe not forever. That protection is being questioned. The next step up the PC (political correctness) ladder may be speech codes if college students have any say about it. A McLaughlin & Associates study commissioned by a program at Yale University gives you insight into the next generation of adult readers. They surveyed 800 students at various colleges across the country. Of them 51 percent are in favor of having speech codes to regulate speech for students and faculty, and some 30 percent think the First Amendment is outdated. Sobering data.
We don’t know that either of these scenarios will materialize. But you need to be flexible, resilient, informed, and strong. The bottom line is that we serve the God of the universe, and I am confident that
If you keep on
- mastering your craft
- growing your platform
- getting to know your target readers so that you speak into their lives to influence them toward Christ
- keeping up with the industry through blogs like this and with the guidance and management of a good agent to navigate this moving target,
you will be in demand as an author, because quality books, in whatever form they take, will always be wanted and needed.
Speak out. What is your reaction to these recent what if scenarios? Do they invigorate your passion for your writing? If those post-millennial students are part of our target audience, how do you think you need to adjust your approach to win their reading ear, so to speak?
Writers, stay informed, be flexible, and be ready to respond to what-if scenarios like these. Click to Tweet.