The recent disagreement over pricing that landed Macmillan books into the vacuum is indicative of the trials that have long plagued the publishing industry (especially the relationship between author and publisher); it is a harbinger of coming changes that the realm of the internet, digital information, and mobile devices are bringing to the print industry–be it books, film, comics…whatever.
Creators, or writers in this most recent case, are going to be the casualties in this change since down-sizing companies are less likely to cut staff and more likely to cut authors that don’t sell a higher threshold of books. A best-selling author recently observed:
The simple fact is that none of us, no writer, is entitled to a career. We are all a single sales disaster away from working with the phrase, “Would you like fries with that?” Whether it is the downturn in the economy, your editor leaving your publisher, your publisher cutting the division that publishes your books, a retailer (for whatever reason) deciding not to carry your book, no writer should ever have the expectation of a career.
We have never been in control of our own fate.
Are digital sales to the point where they can supplant traditional publishing income? For some authors they are. Digital readers are proliferating, and the J. K. Rowling demographic is very comfortable with reading off a screen. They’re reading more. And if your work is not available digitally, you don’t exist to them.
It’s time for writers to stop lamenting how the inefficiencies of the old system treat them badly, and to embrace the future. If writers don’t take control of their future, they doom themselves to the obscurity that will swallow the current business model whole.
This scribe’s words ring true for many people right now, not just writers. When an economy or a corporate system fails, it is the employee or the contractor that ultimately takes the hit. This cycle will continue so long as people continue to rely on bosses and co-workers for their financial well-being.
So what happens when the axe finally falls? If you’re a writer chances are you want to keep writing. (I’m a writer and I know I wouldn’t want to abandon my calling just because someone’s else’s system failed me.) If you’re a corporate or retail worker…then what? Unemployment is between 9% and 10%, with some states even worse.
Ultimately everyone turns to the internet to search for an opportunity. And why not? It’s the world at our fingertips. And chances are very good that there are others just like us who are tired of playing the game of relying on other people and governments tinkering with economies. For us writers we have stories to tell and we want to make a living off of that if possible. That means finding our niche audience and connecting with them.
So what’s the answer?
The answer is in marketing one’s self. The answer is finding something that you love to do or create and building a customer base. The answer is setting your own value. Leverage yourself so that the only person you need to rely on when it comes to your financial well-being is you and those others that you decide share your exact same passion for success.
Kas and I joined an internet marketing team that is building on the knowledge we already had. Their vast knowledge is helping us to harness the power of the internet even more so that Grail Quest Books will achieve its marketing goals. Recently we opened our doors to submissions at GQB, and learning this knowledge first hand is one of the options we are making available.
Even if you aren’t a publisher or illustrator, or don’t have the knowledge of internet marketing, you are still more than welcome to consider joining our team if you are serious about empowering yourself to write your own paycheck.