News from Conferences: The Changing World of Publishing
Blogger: Mary Keeley
Location: Books & Such Midwest office, IL
The “Changing World of Publishing” panel discussion at Colorado Christian Writers Conference reinforced what we’ve been observing in the industry and highlighted developments with a fresh perspective. Several of us have blogged in the past that editors are looking for two kinds of authors: the sure-fire best- selling (celebrity) author and the debut author with a fresh idea. This was confirmed by the panel, and although tough for mid-list authors, it shouts opportunity for aspiring authors. Further discussion involved the following:
1. Here’s the author-publisher relationship succinctly described: editors don’t look at you as merely a potential author. They evaluate you from the perspective of a potential business partner. (Publishing is a business, after all.) You must convince an editor that you have more than one great book in you, that you have the passion, time, and commitment to market and promote your books and that you will be cooperative and pleasant to work with. They also want to see your commitment to the quality of your work and to the publishing house. In short, editors are looking for a long-term, successful relationship with an author that blesses their bottomline.
2. A fairly new group of publishers on the scene could be considered an exception to the long-term trend. Houses in this group operate primarily the same way traditional publishers do, but they don’t give advances, opting instead to offer higher royalty rates. Print runs are smaller and overall sales might be lower with these publishers. But they create greater opportunity for new authors and continuing opportunity for published authors. The co-founder and editorial director of one of them told me her company published more than two hundred titles in the first three years and has been successful adopting this new model. Having been published by one of these houses, authors are free to pursue publication with one of the larger houses if you so choose.
3. Editors and agents agreed that, even with a great platform, marketing plan and an impressively professional proposal, “content is still king.” This is good news for you authors who have poured yourselves into creating a fresh, rich story with well-developed plot and characters or a well-defined solid, compelling work of nonfiction. It could mean you need to employ the help of a freelance editor to help you to identify and fix weaknesses and to proof your work, but the results could make all the difference.
Do these points encourage you? Energize you? Spark a new action plan?