Thursday, December 17, 2009

Embrace It!


This month's blog topic is a toughie – the future of publishing. Times are a'changing and everyone has an opinion on how and why. One thing is certain: The cozy days of reading newspapers, magazines, and books while stretched on the sofa, lazily turning paper pages could soon be something more attuned to a Norman Rockwell painting than a slice of current reality.

Newspapers nationwide have cut staff, the physical size of their publications, and the column inches dedicated to arts & leisure. Several national magazines – including GOLF FOR WOMEN, a magazine that I wrote for – has shut their doors for good. The top dogs at all print pubs are doing everything they can to generate an online audience, as well as sell their subscriptions in digital format, which can be downloaded to your computer, Kindle, or Sony Reader. The book publishing houses, too, have responded to current economic conditions with layoffs, reduced print runs, and dropped series.

From an author's perspective, it's all a bit scary. I personally love books – the way they feel and smell and the fact that you can collect and trade them. And of course, I hope that readers will continue to buy MY books. So to observe the industry turbulence is really daunting, if I let myself think about it too much. On the other hand, what the hell. MOST industries are going through tough times. The suits at the top are paid the big bucks to make their companies money, so obviously they're going to take drastic measures as needed. They don't make decisions based on the warm & fuzzies.

As a writer, the only self-preserving and sensible thing to do is EMBRACE the future of publishing. Digital format really rocks, when you think of all the new exciting applications. Audio format, too, is growing in popularity for downloading to iPods and other devices. Newspapers, magazines and books are still being read aplenty – but technology has allowed advanced delivery systems for all three. For me, personally, I've got to tackle the learning curve so that I better understand the marketing side of things.

Meanwhile, I, like so many others, love to write. It's what we do. We get grumpy if we're not working on a project. Instead of getting bent out of shape that my Jersey Barnes series was dropped by St. Martin's Press, I'm staying upbeat. One of my Jersey books, SOUTHERN POISON, has been adapted into a spec screenplay – and you never know—it just might be picked up for option. And moving forward, my next book, a stand alone, should be out this spring. Five years ago, when my very first book FOOL ME ONCE was released, I couldn't wait to get a hot-off-the-presses hard copy in my hands. This next go around, I'll be just as excited to see the very first digital download of my new book. If I can figure out how to use my new e-book reader, that is.


Karin Gillespie said...

Sorry to hear about the Jersey Barnes series. I really loved those books. Looking forward to your stand-alone. Great post. Very upbeat.

River Jordan said...

I love Jersey Barnes and Southern Poison. I'll look for the new novel but shop Jersey somewhere else. She deserves to live large!