Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Lunatics Running the Asylum by Jaz Primo
The New Trend in Publishing: Lunatics Running the Asylum
by Jaz Primo
Whether the focus is upon the largest New York City-based publishers, mid-range publishers, or small press publishers, one fact remains: e-publishing is a term that strikes a mix of fear, angst, and furor in the hearts of today's publishers. But why, you ask? The answer is simple. Today, the newest trend in publishing is that the lunatics are running the asylum!
Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly in publishing today. The good: Today, new and talented authors are being discovered by a sea of readers who might never have had the opportunity to fall in love with their work. The bad: Traditional publishers haven't had the opportunity to take advantage of the sales of these new authors because those authors are independent and unsigned by any publisher! The ugly: The publishing industry is experiencing its biggest shakeup in a long time. How long? Since the initial corporatization of literary agents that forced publishers to sweeten their contractual royalties to authors decades ago!
Today, a sizable majority of new titles being released in eBook format on Amazon and Barnes & Noble are those being self-published by unsigned, untried independent authors who have no contract with either a publisher or a literary agent. The system that filters new talent for consideration has collapsed under the sheer weight of its own bloated bureaucracy, resulting in a sort of French Revolution in publishing where the peasants (aspiring authors) have laid siege to (and overtaken) the Bastille (publishing industry) which has been guarded by royalty (traditional publishers). The result is the democratization of publishing where authors, aspiring and perspiring, talented and untalented, are casting their literary creations into the public forum as fast as their word processors can generate content. For $2.99 or less, though mostly leaning to the 99-cent price range, a litany of new novels are available for easy purchase by a hungry, recession-beaten readership. Though hardly drowning, the traditionally published novels are being slowly buried and culled out of potential hearty eBook sales by a sea of often-inferior produced/edited/formatted competing content.
Now, I'm hardly being an elitist by pointing out these realities. Instead, I hope to help publishers understand where the problems, and possible solutions, reside. The floodgates are open, so stemming the flow of new entrants onto the literary field is no longer an option. However, an effective first step is attainable: There has to be a more streamlined, timely, and efficient method established to sort through the "slush pile" of prospective manuscripts to find worthy content that can be published. This, of course, means changing the traditional paradigm of publishing. No longer should a publisher plan to invest thousands of dollars in limited print run paperbacks intended for nationwide or worldwide distribution for untried talent. Instead, leverage the next-to-no-cost e-distribution channels and only use eBooks for market testing of new talent. Granted, you still have to edit a manuscript, pay for cover art, and pay for layout of the work. But the editing is becoming streamlined by refined software enhancements, and cover art licensing costs pennies on the dollar for eBook rights versus print rights. (You can always acquire print rights later if sales warrant a hardcopy print run.) Essentially, once uploaded to e-retailers, the distribution costs drop nearly to zero, and the process for handling sales is entirely hands-off. The publisher simply sits back to tally sales numbers while concentrating on the very important task of speedily assessing the slush piles, as well as new manuscripts that continuously float into their email repositories. That way, the Amanda Hockings of the world get the initial exposure they deserve, the readers get new stories that they're craving, and publishers get to take advantage of many more "hits" than "misses" without substantial initial investment costs.
It's easy, right? Well, perhaps the process isn't entirely seamless. And yes, there will still be a lot of new authors who self-publish substandard quality content that hasn't been properly edited, formatted, or adorned with decent, marketable cover art. But at least the publishing industry will be offering their readers more fresh content at a reduced price and with limited capital outlay. In essence, the publishing industry can regain some of what it has lost; namely, it's credibility as a responsible steward of polished, marketable content. I already sense the hesitancy out there. However, consider this. . .the question isn't really "can we afford to do that" but rather, "can we afford NOT to do that?" The future of the publishing industry rests on how publishers respond. . .or not.
I'm author, Jaz Primo, and I approve this message. *wink*
My sincere thanks to Patti for the opportunity to appear here today. Before I sign off, please consider reading my Sunset Vampire Series. The first novel, Sunrise at Sunset, was published in October 2010, and the second novel, A Bloody London Sunset, was published in May of this year. A third installment, Summit at Sunset, is being released in January 2012. All novels are available in both trade paperback and multiple eBook formats from major retailers including as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and Apple iBookstore.
Here's the teaser for Sunrise at Sunset:
When is a bloodthirsty predator the best protection against a psychotic killer?
When the predator is both a vampire...and the woman you love.
“We vampires are focused and tend to shape our own realities.”
My name is Katrina Rawlings, and I am a vampire. I declare that with neither pride nor ego. I am simply nature’s most dangerous predator. On occasion, it’s a very valuable quality. It helped me protect Caleb Taylor one day when he was very young. But that single, traumatic day is behind him now; wiped from his memory, or so I hope.
Caleb has finally matured into a rather striking young man, and believe me, I like what I see. I’ll readily admit that there are issues for us to confront and overcome, though a sense of mutual commitment isn’t one of them. I’m feeling hopeful for our future together, in fact. But an adversary from my past has returned to haunt me, and she’s trying to get back at me through Caleb. That was her first...and last...mistake. I’ll protect my Caleb at all costs, and I’ll make her regret the day she was born.
So, I suppose that I’m not just a vampire. I’m about to become someone’s worst nightmare!
Jaz Primo is an author, history aficionado, "pun-master", and all-around fan of things vampire and urban fantasy. He has enjoyed a fulfilling background and career in higher education, including teaching undergraduate U.S. History classes during evenings. His lifetime of creative writing, coupled with an eclectic and creative imagination, has generated the perfect storm for a new voice in urban fantasy and paranormal romance via the compelling Sunset Vampire Series. He is a native of Oklahoma where he lives with his wife and a long-lived cat.
You can find or follow Jaz at the following locations...