Changing Sands

Like most people involved in writing, at least those who are serious about it, I read tons of blogs about the publishing business. Some, such as The Passive Voice. Joe Konrath’s blog, Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s business blog, and some others, are almost required reading if you want to stay current, keep your footing in the changing sands of publishing.

I try (not always successfully) to avoid commenting on the fate of ebooks, print books or bookstores, or whether Amazon is good or evil. To my mind much of that discussion is irrelevant to what we do. We look at every format. Barnes & Noble having business problems doesn’t mean we shouldn’t publish in epub format. They still sell books. Print is dying? We still sell print books. When these sales stop, it will be time to move on.

Passion is a wonderful thing, but to my mind much of the discussions I read are akin to passion for a sand sculpture. It can be beautiful, but will dissolve with the next high tide. I can be passionate about it, yet that passion must take into account its impermanence. So much of what we do in book publishing is impermanent; it makes more sense to accept that and move on, trying to find the best ways to connect stories with readers. It’s also important to bear in mind that it is readers who will determine what the best way is. It doesn’t have to be one I prefer or even care for (for my part, the idea of reading a book or watching a movie on a telephone is beyond weird, but that’s me).

The blogs do alert us to what might happen next, or at least what a number of people think will happen next. Not only is that often useful, at least to the extent that it allows us to prepare, but it is great fun to see how things work out, see predictions that fail wonderfully. As my mentor used to say: “Screw them if they can’t take a joke.”

It’s a good era to be in publishing. Crazy, but good.



I love bookstores. I don’t just mean the ones that carry our books either. Even as the tidal wave of ebooks washes over us (well actually we are body surfing on it–not wanting to miss the ride) I love to go into stores and look at books. There is something special about opening one and reading that first page, even if you put it back. Physical books might not be the most efficient use of resources, but they sure as hell are inspiring. Just holding a book in my hands is wonderful.

It isn’t the best time for bookstores in general, but some are doing well. Without getting into any particular debate on their future, we are turning to them now to promote our books and, in the process, generate business for them too. Of course, all bookstores are not author friendly, so it is a matter of working with the willing. Fortunately, a lot of independent bookstores do love books.

Jim Beckett andThe_Invention_of__Cl_Cover_for_Kindle I are scheduling signings of our book THE INVENTION OF CLAY MCKENZIE. On October 26th we will be at COAS Books in Las Cruces, NM from 10 am to 12 pm (during the farmer’s market) signing away and talking with readers.

We are scheduling other signings as well and will announce them as we get closer to the dates.