On break from the day job, so I have been getting caught up on my reading. No hope of that, but we do it anyway. It’s like trying to swim the Pacific Ocean. That list includes nonfiction sources for this year’s NaNo novel, fiction in my genre (at the moment, we’re declaring for steampunk), and various on-line reading about the publishing industry.
Specifically: e-books, independent publishing, self-publishing, web-based promotion and marketing, and related topics.
Oh my lordy lordy. This is where the history reading comes in handy.
We have the evangelists, the doomsayers, the hucksters, the snake-oil salesmen, and the honest practitioners. It would seem impossible to tell the players without a scorecard, except for previous examples of game-changing technologies, e.g. printing press, mass literacy, canals, railroad, paved roads, mechanized machinery, internal combustion engine. If you know what happened in those cases, the rhetoric is all very familiar.
It’s neither doomsday nor the earthly paradise. Craft still matters, good writing still matters, and if you go independent, you will have to work extra hard as the price of creative control. On the other hand, there are prospects of an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay for writers with superb craft and the ability to write a lot, edit ruthlessly (or listen to the editors they hire), and package their work attractively (or listen to the book designers they hire).