Introducing the third and final part of author Judith Tarr’s inspired rant on the changes in the publishing industry, and the expectations we writers have come to live with and accept.
Escape from Stockholm: An Epic Publishing Saga
Find Judith Tarr on LiveJournal | on Twitter | & at Book View Cafe
Part One | Part Two
This is no longer the only game in town.
Oh, she’s acknowledging it when she says she can’t deal with it, but she’s not thinking about what it really means. Or how she can make it work for her. She’s living in Stockholm, where Daddy Agent and King Publisher have her convinced she’s this helpless, delicate little creative type who can’t possibly take her career into her own hands and succeed.
We had that in 1983, too. Bad agents, bad deals, publishers’ decisions that killed books and careers. The difference then was that authors couldn’t go much of anywhere else if they wanted to get those books to stores and reviewers and readers.
Now they can.
“But the work! The skills! The crowds!”
True. It’s work and it needs skills. And there’s an awful lot of what used to be the slushpile clogging the system, only now it’s the Kindle free-and-cheap collection.
But you aren’t a newcomer. You have a backlist. A readership. A platform as they say in the PR business. If you can use it to get higher advances, good. You should. We used to push, back in 1983 and 1993. Pushing doesn’t seem to happen as much or as strongly now. The options have shrunk. Terms have become worse and worse, along with the dwindling advances. The walls have closed in. There’s just not the same amount of negotiating room as there used to be. Authors to have to take it or leave it, more and more.
Or do they?
The tipping point is here. The point at which you realize you can make more money self-publishing or crowdfunding than you can get as an advance from a publisher.
So the question is, What can a publisher do for you that you can’t do for yourself?
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(x-posted from The Essential Kit)