Thursday, 8 March 2012

The dream lives regardless

When you finish writing a novel (or before) you start thinking about the possibilities, the next stages to reaching your goal; publication.

Obviously, everyone would like to go down the traditional route.  You get an agent and then you get offered a publishing contract from a publisher and bam!  Your book is sitting proudly in Waterstones.

That’s the dream.

However there are so many barricades to stop you reaching that goal.  The recession has made agents and publishers wary of taking risks with new writers.  Not to mention that fashions change quickly.  While I was writing Silver, fantasy was, and still is, very much in the forefront of fashion (Twilight, Harry Potter, True Blood) which means that the market has become saturated.

It was even recently pointed out to me that love triangles in fantasy have been overdone and is, quite possibly, even boring!  Now, Silver is my baby.  I’ve put a lot of hard work into it so of course I instantly told myself that my love triangle was different, but it might be something I will have to look at for the sequel, or if I ever do get an agent who wants a rewrite.  (I dread rewriting that part out of the story though!)

So it’s more difficult to get an agent, the market is saturated and, to top it all off, things are changing in the world of publishing.

There has been a sharp decline in the sales of paper books.  This makes me weep.  I love my paper books, I love the feel of them, I love taking them places to read at work or on the train or the doctors surgery, I love being able to pass them on if need be.  

One comfort is that there has been no decline in the sale of children’s books.  Our children are still reading, and long may they do so!  But adult fiction and non-fiction are being hit hard.  Part of this is to do with the recession but also new technologies.

I’m speaking about these new fangled e-readers.  Suddenly Kindles and iPads are all the rage.  This is something that every writer, whether aspiring or established, must think about.  I’m assuming that if I were to get published the traditional way that my publisher would organise this for me.  If, however, I go down the self publishing route, this is something I will have to organise.  I’ve already started my research, looking into my options, what is required and the costs.

Don’t fret!  The internet and writing magazines are filled with advice when it comes to e-publishing. 
So despite paper book sales declining, e-book sales are rising.  People haven’t stopped reading!  They’ve just changed how they do it.  Evidenced by the fact that e-book prices are rising, something that is currently being investigated and a pricing model is being drawn up.  So hopefully that shouldn’t negatively affect a writers royalties or the public’s desire to read.  Although one consequence might be that e-books become overpriced and trends may return to the paper book and e-readers will be confined to the fad-bin.

There is a lot more to this than meets the eye but it seems to all be in the beginning stages.  E-books are a new phenomenon that have only recently exploded into everyone’s lives and I know many people, including myself, who are yet to convert.

While the rise of e-books will do wonders for the planet, no doubt, saving all of those trees, it doesn’t change the dream of being published in paper and seeing your name on a physical book sat in the bookshop.  E-books even feel a little bit like cheating.

Publishers warned on e-book prices -

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