Big Guys n Poor Guys in Publishing

I posted this evening on Absolutewrite, a forum I regularly post on, regarding Lynn Osterkamp’s article on the media and publishing. Here is the link to that posting.

The following is the posting I made.

Having read Lynn’s posting and her blogsite for the past year, I’m not sure she is actually arguing the point of the little guy published by the small press vs the big published commercial author, rather, the manner in which the media treats the whole publishing business, and more to the point, the way in which the reading and buying public will hitch on to the bandwagon.

We only have to look at the publishing cases of ‘The Hitler Diaries’ and more recently, Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci Code’ in light of the sales of those books, even after the academic criticism they received.

The informed reader usually buys throught knowledge. Knowledge of the genre or the author. The casual reader is perhaps more guided and influenced by the various forms of media. The reality is that more books are going to be bought by the casual rather than the informed reader. Hence the astonomical sales of books some of us might rightly or wrongly frown upon.

There will always be a few exceptions like James Redfield’s ‘Celestine Prophecy’ where pure hard work by the author and ‘word of mouth’ kicked the asses of the big publishers and media outlets into life. That is the common denominator all writers have to live with. Call it luck.. call it whatever you want. None of us have the perfect formula for success.

I’ve seen lots of changes in the publishing world over the past twenty years. Just today, I was in a Borders outlet in Dublin, Ireland, a retail book retailer who like to promote themselves on ‘championing’ the different and the independent published books. And let me tell you now, from experienced, that it is easier for a self-published author or a very small press to get shelf space here in Ireland than perhaps many other large cities throughout the world. Yet, I spent nearly three hours in Borders, checking the full a-z of fiction and several other catagories in the store, and yet I found just one local book of short-stories published by a writers workshop. I did find a 5 tier bookcase given over to ‘Independent’ publishers. All of these publishers were simply imprints of large commercial publishers bought out over the past ten years.

Keep in mind that AuthorHouse, one of the largest subsidy publishers has a tie-in with Borders, along with Waterstones, as part of their packages they sell to authors. These packages are even called the ‘Borders’ ‘Waterstones’ packages.

I’m not planning on rushing out to my local Waterstones to check them out just yet!

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