Dare I look into the future of story-telling? My iPhone doesn’t have an app for that. Information on publishers, agents, Amazon, and large bookstores lands hourly in my mail box. No one knows for sure whether future generations will want to read fiction or buy books with covers and pages. I sit at my computer spinning tales without the certainty of a market for my stories. No wonder people who don’t write think writers are weird. I could point out that farmers plant crops that nature might kill and they raise livestock subject to premature death.
Bestselling authors with loyal followers can be sure people will buy their next book but, if it doesn’t meet expectations, these same authors could become yesterday’s news.
My grandchildren tune into technology almost from birth. I used to think my children could’ve been born with a phone attached to their ears. My grandchildren could’ve been born with access to the Internet. Does that mean they will look for stories and dramas that can be downloaded onto their PC’s? My daughter has a bookcase that contains her favorite books. She also has an eReader so she can download her favorite authors and books recommended by her friends at any time and in any place.
So, back to the future question. How long will printed books continue to be produced? Trees die so authors can give birth to books. Paper is not easy to store and will eventually disintegrate. I’m not writing as a young rebel seeking to distinguish her generation from those proceeding. I love holding a book in my hands and opening it to the first page. But, I have to ask myself, are books and bookcases fading into nostalgic anachronism?
I’m taking a course with C.J. Lyons, author of URGENT CARE, WARNING SIGNS, and LIFELINES, on escaping the slushpile with the right query and pitch. I continue to search for an agent and a publisher willing to take a risk on a new mystery writer. Agents have become the gatekeepers of the publishing world. How soon before people rebel against their power to decide what fiction reaches the public? Writers are already displaying their work on the Internet and letting the public decide what it is willing to pay for. Could I say for certain all these writers are not as good as writers selected by agents?
Sure, there are logistic problems such as how to direct the public to an author’s latest fiction offering. There could be an app for new fiction. Amazon doesn’t have to own the monopoly for writers who want to publish first chapters online. Groups of writers could team up to seek attention on the Internet. Agents, publishers and bookstore owners could create sites. This is America. New enterprises would find a way to make money.
I’ve met agents and publishers who love books. Most agents and publishers take up the profession because they’re interested in books. But the old publishing model isn’t working efficiently in today’s world. Writers are expected to have a business plan for promoting their books. It doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to see writers starting out as entrepreneurs even as they sit down to type the first words of their first drafts.
I continue to follow traditional routes to obtain an agent and publisher. I can’t help noticing the process is not egalitarian. Famous people publish memoirs that might be less interesting than those of any Tom, Dick, or Harry. Some authors have connections while others write first and then seek in the dark to enter the publishing world.
There’s a lot of useless information on the internet and it’s up to the researcher to sift through the good and the bad. EReaders could help with this. Maybe, in the future, readers will sift through writing that hasn’t been prescreened by an authority, and decide what they want to read.
Please contact E. B. Davis at email@example.com for information on guest blogs and interviews. September Interviews 9/1 Carol Perry 9/8 Nupur Tustin 9/15 Maggie Pill 9/22 Veronica Bond 9/29 Rhys Bowen Guest Blogs 9/18 Mark Leichliter -----------------------------------------------------------------------------