Questioning The Brave New World

A lot of people say it’s a brave new world with publishing. I’ve said similar things before myself, but I’m not so sure about it anymore. Unlike some, I don’t believe that most traditionally published authors with big publishers are somehow “set” and indie authors are screwed. I kind of think for the most part that we’re all screwed.

While I’m against the gatekeeping system on principle… do you have any idea how many books out there were being shut out by that system… books that were good? Why is this a bad thing? Because it makes it harder for everyone. This industry has always been insanely competitive and hard to make a living at. The problem is that there has always been way more supply than demand. Writing isn’t exactly the smartest career move for people who want to make money. But it’s the only thing I can do. My other options are some kind of internet business, which is just as competitive these days.

I gotta say, I’m starting to wonder why I’m so rah rah indie. On some level it’s totally selfish. I know people are going to talk about going indie and they’re going to help other people go indie. Whether I help or not… SOMEONE will. And if I help, then you know my name and MAYBE you will help me when I need it. i.e. tell people about my books.

So no, I’m not all that magnanimously altruistic and have never claimed to be. I’ve never laid out all my motivations, nor have I ever said I help people JUST because I like helping people. I do it because if I don’t someone else will anyway. So I might as well rack up some decent karma and hope to God it comes back to me when I need it.

I think it’s going to be harder for EVERYONE to sell books now. Not just indie authors, but trad authors. There are already too many books. Too many good books.

I always wonder why people worry about the crap. Forget the crap. The crap is no threat to you. It’s not your competition. Few people will ever even see it. Worry about the good stuff. Worry about not only the good traditionally published stuff, where at least with bookstores and such there was a funnel and most of the reading public only ever saw what came through that funnel, worry about the good indie stuff. Worry about every single good book out there… because all this whining about the crap seems to me to be a cover for the real thing we should fear…

Too many good books, not enough readers, and not enough time among those readers to devote to your book.

I believe most authors trad or indie in the next ten years will be negatively affected by not an overload of crap but an overload of books, period. More books will see the light of day and be read and that’s great, and more authors will get a piece of the pie. But those pie pieces will be increasingly smaller.

I feel like it’s already starting to happen. And I feel the pressure and the squeeze, and the fear that if I don’t get where I want to go, very soon, I’ll never get there because there will just be too much competition to gain the kind of visibility I need to really succeed.

That’s another reason I’m trying to withdraw some from all of this… because every second I spend arguing with a tard over something pointless on the internet, is a second I lose of what I feel could be my only shot to get what I want… which is to make a living writing fiction.


This is a reprint from the Weblog of Zoe Winters.

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