Monday, August 4, 2014

Traditional Publishing Is Not Dead - Quit Trying To Demonize It

During the end of July, I had the opportunity to attend two major national writing conference. During both, I heard a lot of comments from authors that I feel need o be addressed immediately. Time and time again, I heard author demonizing traditional publishing. The approach these authors took was pretty straightforward:

  • Traditional publishing is dead
  • Agents are useless in this entire process
  • To be successful you can do it entirely on your own
...but I think what hurts the most was how authors were treated when they wanted to take the traditional approach. They were treated as outsiders and complete losers. In other words, if you were wanting to find an agent and take the traditional approach to publishing, you were clearly missing the mark and treated poorly.

Publishing has a lot of different approaches for writers. We can use any number of traditional publishers, we can use independent publishers, we can self-publisher through platforms such as KDP or Smashwords and guess what - not one way is better than another. Like everything in publishing, it all depends on the book, the concept, the author and who knows what other variables.

I know I spoke to several agents after the Romance Writers of America conference who felt that agents were not needed or for that matter wanted at the conference. I made a mention of this in an earlier blog when a key note speaker overly emphasized how writers should "fire their agents" and ignore the traditional publishing route.

...and yet....

We fail to realize that there are really far more writers struggling in the self-publishing arena than there are those succeeding. We forget that many of the authors doing well in the self-publishing market are authors selling their back lists. In other words, these are people who already had a following.

I have no problem offering programs at conferences for those interested in learning about self-publishing. I have no problem with authors who want to take this approach and are doing well. But please, do not demonize those authors who love to take the traditional approach.

RWA published an article entitled "Romance Writers of America Offers Professionalism, Inclusion". I am hoping that in the coming 2014-2015 year, the RWA, as well as all of the other writing organizations actually take this approach and treat all of their writers with this same attitude.

As for Greyhaus Literary Agency, we are continuing with our standard course. We are not doing this because we are "old school" or "not open to other approaches", or "not progressive".  Greyhaus offers the support to those writers who have selected to take the traditional approach.

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