The Demise of Traditional Publishing? Or: Is the World Coming to an End?

Well, it looks like we escaped the rapture. That would be a tragedy; just think of how that might reduce the audience of potential book buyers. Okay, maybe not by much. But after reading several items over the past few weeks (and getting a little query weary -- more on that soon), I'm starting to wonder if the world of traditional publishing is heading for the cliff. Here's the evidence that indeed it might be:

1. Amazon just announced that its eBook sales now surpass all print book sales: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/19/amazon-ebook-sales-surpas_n_864387.html For every 100 print books sold, Amazon sells 105 eBooks

2. Over at the Passive Voice blog (www.thepassivevoice.com), the Passive Guy posted a detailed analysis of the breakdown of royalties an author may receive from traditionally published books and eBooks: http://www.thepassivevoice.com/04/2011/who-makes-the-most-money-indie-author-vs-traditional-author/. Take a look, and then you do the math.

3. The eReport published an article this winter highlighting the precipitous decline of print sales, nearly 25% in all trade categories combined. At the same time, eBooks have exploded by over 200%. For the discouraging (or encouraging, depending on your point of view) rundown, check out the article: http://activitypress.com/2011/04/19/us-publisher-upheaval-ahead-as-print-book-sales-see-sharp-decline/

4. Now famous (if he wasn't before) Barry Eisler just turned down a $500,000 deal with a traditional publisher to sing along with Fleetwood Mac and go his own way. And the blogosphere is on fire: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/03/ebooks-and-self-publishing-dialog.html and http://blog.nathanbransford.com/

5. Agent Ted Weinstein expressed his concern to the Wall Street Journal that the traditional roles of agents and publishers are shifting: “When you have widespread electronic distribution of books, whether e-books or print-on-demand, all of the barriers of entry disappear,” said Ted Weinstein, a San Francisco literary agent. WSJ likens the change to a seismic shift. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/e-books-causing-seismic-shift-in-publishing-2011-05-26?link=kiosk

It's enough to give an aspiring author much to think about. Go Indie? Keep querying? Will the traditional book world and its gatekeepers be rendered irrelevant players in a brave new world of literary democracy? Or does this landslide threaten to break down the floodgates and deluge us all in a torrent of mediocre offerings?

Gearing up to Get an Agent -- It's a Blog Party!

Fellow aspiring author Deana Barnhart has a brilliant idea: team up together and spend the sweltering summer month of July gearing up to get an agent: http://deanabarnhart.blogspot.com/2011/05/gearin-up-to-get-agent-blogfesthere-we.html 

Love the idea? Join up! The more the merrier. Let's have fun while we sweat. Sort of like Zumba.

Sweet Treat if you Tweet

http://www.laurendestefano.com/blog.php

Check it out for a chance to win Lauren's new ARC of Fever and a signed ARC of Wither.

Callie Kingston: Mermaids are Hot!

Callie Kingston: Mermaids are Hot!: "According to USA Today, that is: http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/2011-05-12-mermaids-make-splash_n.htm Well, there just so happens..."

Write to Publish Conference

Whew! Just one week after the awesome SCBWI Oregon conference in Portland, Ooligan Press put on a great conference called Write to Publish. A day of workshops all about publishing and marketing your books was followed by a day of presentations by successful authors who discussed their journey through the publishing maze. Yesterday a knockout panel including authors Emily Whitman & Michelle McCann, and editor/publisher Cory Freeman of RainTown Press and  Emmalisa Sparrow of Beyond Words Publishing discussed trends in YA literature.

And yes, did you catch that? RainTown Press is new to Portland and has the brilliant intention to focus its publishing attentions on Middle Grade and Young Adult books. Welcome, RainTown Press. More here: www.raintownpress.com

Thank you Ooligan Press for the informative conference: www.ooliganpress.pdx.edu
Run by students pursuing their master's degrees in book publishing, they are the only student-operated press in the country. How awesome is Portland?

Get Real!

I've been listening to If I Stay during my commute and decided to check out the author Gayle Forman's blog. Delightfully, I discovered her April 20th post entitled YA Smackdown -- Team Contemporary http://www.gayleforman.com/blog/2011/04/20/ya-smackdown/

Thank you Gayle! First, for your gorgeous stories. And second, for throwing down the gauntlet for realistic teen fiction. The fascination with all things freakish and weird (vampires, ghouls, ghosts, angels, aliens, insert your mythical creature here) makes a lot of sense when taken in context. After all, the real world kinda sucks. A lot. At least, a lot of the time. And who doesn't want a hot boyfriend with superpowers? But there's room in there for some human lovers and human characters with very human issues, too.

 (in the interest of full disclosure, my novel Undertow features a bit of both the human and the not-so-human -- more here: http://calliekingston.blogspot.com/p/undertow.html)