Sunday, April 17, 2011

Konrath Challenges Writers to Chart Their Own Path

"Unless you're making over a million dollars a year with the Big 6, continuing down the legacy path is a crazy bad idea."

-JA Konrath

A post by e-publishing advocate JA Konrath gave authors defending traditional publishing a brutal drubbing. It's causing quite a stir in writers' circles, and his website has received comments numbering in the hundreds. (Some bestselling authors even wrote in anonymously.) Mr. Konrath's essay offers a great distillation of the arguments for and against an author striking out on their own. I highly recommend you read it:

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: Are You Dense?

Mr. Konrath's arguments have become so popular that many authors have taken to plastering "What Would JA Do?" banners on their webpages.

It's sorta like the "Drum Machines Have No Soul" sticker for writers.

The traditionalists have been rather quiet of late. Perhaps it is due to the Association of American Publishers' April 14, 2011 press release. Compared to February of last year:

  • ebook sales grew by 202.3%
  • hardcover sales declined by 43%
  • mass market paperbacks declineed by 41%

Those are the industry's own numbers. E-reading is now the #1 format, and print is taking a nosedive. In the past, the publishing industry served as the only viable conduit connecting authors to bookshelves. Now Amazon et al. offer authors direct access to their readers. This is forcing publishers to re-evaluate their business model. I had a post prepared to discuss the terrible squeeze traditional publishers have found themselves in, but the changes from January to February were so dramatic that I need to go back to the drawing board.

If any of you can find a good counter post to Mr. Konrath's arguments, I'll post a link to it here. In the meantime, I'm going to make sure my investment portfolio doesn't have too much exposure to paper mills.


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