Friday, May 8, 2015

Change Is The Only Constant

We have probably all used this line some time before. "Change is the only constant." Within the publishing world, this is really true. This market is constantly shifting and moving. Sometimes within a matter of 6 months, editors and agents could be screaming for wanting more of one genre, that only earlier, they said was not in demand. As authors, we really don't mind the shifts as long as it is heading in our direction. But when that pendulum swings the other way, it totally sucks!

When it does shift the opposite direction, it becomes really easy to blame the publisher for the books not selling, or the agent, for not pushing the books the right way. But the one factor that is often overlooked it the consumer. We have to remember the readers out there have to buy the books.

In the end, it is the audience, the mass public that is dictating the swing in the market.

I will say I did not take the excessive amount of time to research this, but I do know I have heard it on various media outlets including NPR. Our current population of readers is pretty picky about what they like and don't like. Along the same lines, they are shifting between ideas at an enormous pace. They are quick to dismiss an idea, but then, if things change, they see no reason to not go back to something that didn't quite work.

This population is also heavy into social media, but again, they shift pretty fast from one forum to another. I was recently talking to a group of 18-25 year olds and they noted they have shifted from Facebook to other sites really fast in the last year. One note she had move to Instagram and then dumped it for another within a month. It just didn't work for her.

What makes publishing difficult is the advance prep it takes to meet that market. Even if you are self-publishing and you can get your book to the press within 72 hours of being finished, it still took 3 months or so to write it. Your traditional publishers are trying to predict markets years in advance. Even longer for those of you wanting and asking for multi-book contracts.

Is there a single answer to fix this disconnect? At this time, I have to say, I don't think there is a single answer. Everyone is doing their best.

Look, when we lost the major book stores  (IMHO because they tried to do more than sell books but that is another story). When we don't have bookstores to browse through, when we don't have bookstores to discover new authors and buy more than we had planned, we have to find another way. We have to remember, this is a business that takes time.

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