The Future of Publishing: You Get to Decide

The topic of my talk at the Y-City Writers Conference (this past weekend) was “The Future of Publishing.”

While I talked a bit about tech and gadgetry, what I really focused on was how much power writers now have in deciding what their future is.

Meaning: Now, more than at any other time in history, there are more opportunities and possibilities to write, share, and publish a story—and interact with an audience.

Are you passionate about the print experience of books? You can totally ignore digital editions, and live up the physical. These authors have done that successfully.

Are you tightly knit into a region or place that would treasure your stories? You can write and publish successfully, building on strong community ties. Read this author’s story.

Are you after the traditional publishing experience—the professional partnerships of an agent, editor, and publisher? You can still have that, too. Maybe it’s not easier than before, but the option isn’t going away. It will still be there if you want it. Here’s an example of one author who decided she DID want it. (And here’s another example.)

If you go back 20 or 30 years, you were extremely limited in your options. There was often only one way, and it meant pleasing a gatekeeper.

Now, you get to decide. What kind of experience do you want? What kind of experience are you willing to work for? Perhaps, if anything, there are too many options—creating paralysis. Writers don’t know which path is best.

Evaluate your personal strengths. Evaluate the nature of your work and
how it is best presented. Evaluate what your audience wants. Find that sweet spot to know how to move ahead.

Finally, don’t forget: “With great power comes great responsibility.

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7 thoughts on “The Future of Publishing: You Get to Decide

  1. Gary Allen VanRiper

    Hello Jane,

    Yes – how glad we are that we ignored the stigma attached to self-publishing when we began ten years ago. (and by self-publishing, I am not referring to P.O.D.).
    With 100,000 copies sold so far in our self-published series of children’s books, now it is we who are being approached by traditionally published authors for some guidance on how they might strike out on their own. What an interesting time of transition.
    Thoughtful piece, as usual.


  2. Rima

    Jane, your blog has quickly become one of my favorite writing blogs. I was feeling sorry for myself yesterday, as a self-published writer who’s sent out 50 queries with no success, when I read this post. I immediately felt my motivation return. It is an exciting time to be a writer, and we can beat the odds. Thanks for posting this.

  3. Buffy Andrews

    Jane, love the sign. (Smiles) I agree with your post. It’s an exciting time to be a writer. The digital landscape provides more choices than ever. The ways consumers receive information etc. (whether news or novels) has changed drastically. Some might get it via mobile or an Ipad or a Kindle; others through a traditional book. I think that authors need to embrace all platforms and strive to bring our work to readers in whatever form THEY want to receive it. So, if (or when) I get an agent, I will be looking to all platforms to share my work. I think, too, that social media is extremely important. People want to interact, comment, engage in two-way conversation. As authors, we need to embrace this as well and be willing to connect with our readers to show them that we are, despite what they might believe, real people just like them. Anyway, sorry for going on but I am passionate about social media and the incredible digital footprint each one of us has an opportunity to expand.

  4. Theresa Milstein

    I worry that there will be a tipping point. If traditional publishing keeps taking hits, how long before authors just don’t get the offers? I’ve heard there’s already been a decline. And then the ebook market will become more crowded. Writers will have to work even harder to promote themselves without publishers to back them. People keep saying it’s the best time for writers but I wonder if it will be in the long run. We have more options but less support.


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