It seems to me that every other day or so there is a new article about the death of publishing. It usually revolved around the revolution of Indie Authors, Trade Publishers slitting their own throats and other mumbo-jumbo of the like. At first, it was thought-provoking … the “what if” hung in the air … but now, it feels more like a diatribe in which you’re asked to pick a side and stay there forever. Honestly, I can’t even read about it any more.
I’m left wondering … why does it have to be all or nothing? Why can’t publishing be like any other industry? Why can’t Indies and Trades flourish side by side? We’re not in 4th grade … we know cooties don’t exist … we’re highly functioning, creative adults … we should be able to share the sandbox.
I look at my town … Naperville, Illinois. It’s a pretty little place nestled on the outskirts of Chicago. I was born here … and I’ve lived here my whole life. Back in the 80’s our downtown was small … locally owned stores dotted the busy tree-lined streets. In the 90’s we saw the birth of big box business. Talbots, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks all converged on our space in force. Some independent stores faltered and failed because they couldn’t compete … while others thrived in the onslaught of the new traffic. Now, in the 2000’s stores … locally owned and otherwise share block space just fine. The two bookstores in the heart of the town — 1 Indie, 1 Big Box — both see high volume traffic. You can buy a $500.00 table from Little Luxuries or a $500.00 table from Pottery Barn. It’s your choice … they both are set mere steps from each other.
Why does publishing have to be any different?
I’m not going to go all “why can’t we all just get along” on you … but I am going to say that books are an important resource in this world … we need them. If one avenue of that dies … we’ll all suffer. You don’t have to pick a side to understand that. It’s pretty much common sense.
Traditional Publishing has its flaws … as does Self Publishing. Not every author is suited for Trade … not every author is suited for Self.
When I listen to an Indie Author smack about the evils of Traditional Publishing … I’m curious to know what was the first book they fell in love with. I’m sure it was something their mother bought for them in the bookstore. So, it can’t be all that evil right? It was a source of love, a pot of inspiration, a good part of their childhood.
When I listen to a Traditional Publisher spout the evils of Indie Publishing … I’m curious to know why that hate it? How can someone chasing a dream possibly hurt them?
It seems like someone feels that they need to have the upper hand … when that’s not always the best option. And … worst of all … it’s boring. Like, really boring. Because no one is right. Traditional Publishing will adapt. Self Publishing will grow. And that’s what will happen. That’s pretty much it.
So … let’s just share the sandbox like adults, shall we? Stop predicting doom and just celebrate the way one leads into the other and vice versa.