Desperate housewives – er, writers!

So here is quite a funny article by Yael Goldstein, who I haven’t heard of before. The burden of the article, if I understand him correctly, is that writers and editors are desperate, foreseeing the decline of the novel and their own unemployment. And some, if not all of this, is due to the rapidly evolving revolution in publishing, which, to writers like me, appears to be having exactly the opposite effect. (Goldstein may of course be indulging in a sort of Jewish humour, a delight in seeing the worst side of everything) A few years ago, if I had had that sort of temperament, I would have been depressed too. Twice I had signed what I thought were brilliant book deals with publishers, which would transform my life in an upward, JK Rowling-ish direction; and twice it all turned to dust and ashes, with the publishers doing nothing whatsoever to publicise my books, and therefore selling almost none. But now, with the advent of The Big Friendly Giant (Amazon) all my books are online, selling quite well, and I am full of energy, confidence and excitement. This seems to me a great time for authors. If you’ve got talent, energy, and a bit of confidence, you have a chance to make your own future, in way that never existed before. You don’t need editors and publishers – you can do it yourself. To be fair to Goldstein, he seems to sort of recognise this, but very reluctantly. Take a look, and see what you think.

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3 Responses to Desperate housewives – er, writers!

  1. Interesting article, Tim. I don’t think he’s quite as gloomy as you seem to suggest, though. He describes all these new online publishing initiatives – Byliner, Plymton, and the rest – some of which will surely survive and go on to become the new publishing model. One other thing … writers will still need editors, you know! No amount of technowizardry will diminish the truth of the saying that “Authors are blinded by the knowledge of their own intentions.” [Well, I would say that, wouldn’t I!]

    • Tim Vicary says:

      Hi Jenny, thanks for commenting. Well, maybe I’ll come to you with my fourth Sarah Newby novel, if and when it reaches that stage. In principle I agree about editors and I lose no opportunity to tell people how very sensitively and professionally all my Oxford Bookworms have been edited, over many years, mostly by your good self. But in my experience it’s not always like that in trade publishing; I well remember the editor who sent me her considered comments on a 150,000 word novel on the back of a picture postcard – honestly! As an independent author I find that what I need, and am prepared to pay for, are in fact the technical wizardry things; formatting for MOBI, ePub, Smashwords, and print, and professional cover design. For constructive editorial suggestions and proof-reading I would go first to my wife and then, maybe if we can agree a price …?

      • Jenny Bassett says:

        Hi Tim, thanks for the kind words re editing! Yes, trade publishing is a different beast altogether. So … when (not if) the next Sarah Newby is finished, let’s talk …

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