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.