Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Isn't it time for people to accept digital publishing?

I've been reading a book on writing a novel in my breaks. I read quite a number of teaching books about writing as it's important to learn from professionals, and outside my genre. Today's book is interesting, written by a literary agent, and I think it mainly gives sound advice. However it was written in 2000, and one paragraph rang huge bells with me. The author was extremely scornful about ereaders and their place in the publishing world, and even more scornful about digital publishing which he said was no better than vanity press.

Pardon me for a moment.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Predicting the future is a bitch, my friend.

Okay, that was smug laugh because I'm sitting next to my phone which has a Kindle app and a huge number of books stored in something the size of a couple of credit cards.

However that superior attitude still exists. Even in 2014, fourteen years, and a digital revolution later, I went to an author fair which treated digital publishing like a red-headed stepchild, unwanted and definitely an annoyance. They had self-publishing tucked away in corners, and traditional publishing; the agents, publishers and authors on the main stage. We were approached by vanity presses asking us if we wanted to pay to publish one book. There wasn't one acknowledgement of publishers and genres that have thrived, thanks to digital publishing. At the time, my companion, Clare London, and I, seethed (not so quietly) as the people on the main stage discussed publishing in a way that completely erased the past decade.

If you said to me that I have a vested interest in digital publishing, you'd be right. How else would M/M Romance have grown as a genre? My whole career as an author is built on it. Six years ago I had to buy an ereader to proof my own books. Now I wouldn't be without it. I listened to an audiobook on the journey home from my weekly trip to the 'office' with Clare. A few years ago audiobooks were an oddity, now they are almost expected. I'm lucky that a lot of my books are out in audiobooks and several languages, and I'm a small-time author in a niche genre.

I'm interested in publishing as a whole. I want to see outside the genre and I read magazines and articles about the industry to try and gain a sense of the future. But all I do is plough my way through pages of traditional publishing news to get to any mention of ebooks, digital publishers, and authors. I've just cancelled my subscription to these magazines because they aren't interested discussing ebooks beyond how they're doing compared to print. Now I'm going to look for news online.

In 2000, I didn't know what an ereader was. Maybe I'd have had the same sense of scorn for an industry that was in its infancy. In 2016 isn't it time publishing as a whole looked at digital publishing as a valid part of the family and not the kid in the corner?


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