One of the blogs I always visited each week is Kristine Kathryn Rusch's Business Rusch. Every Thursday, for five years straight, Kris blogged about the new world of publishing, and how it's changing. For a neotype like me, I learned a lot from these postings every week, even to the point of saving them off onto thumb drives for rereading later on. For most of the last two years, I learned from this blog.
But sadly, it has come to an end. Kris posted her last Business Rusch last week. The post is here: http://kriswrites.com/2014/04/23/the-business-rusch-all-good-things/. And while I'm sadden by the ending of such a valuable resource, I can understand her reasons for doing so. I struggle coming up with topics that I can write about without sounding like a complete idiot, but for five years, without missing a week, she wrote about the new world of publishing.
But, as she says in this last post, She's finding hard to find new topics to talk about. The publishing industry of five years ago is not the one of today. The explosion of self-publishing, the appearance of the Nook, Kindle and other E-readers, the collapse of Borders, and the traditional publishing houses (TPHs) reaction had changed the industry so much in those five years.
No longer is the writer force to go to one of the TPHs if they want their book to be seen in bookstores. No longer are they subjected to payment systems that make the IRS system look sane and reasonable. The write, if they chose to be, are the master of their own destiny. They get to chose who to hire as an editor, how the book cover looks, and how to promote it, and at what price. It is the writer who reaps the lion's share of the profits, as they should, without having to get their money from a third party who takes 15% of the revenue. A writer can write what they want, when they want. If they want to write six books a year, they are free to do so. If they want to write short stories or novellas, they are not restricted to a few publishers that handle those sort of stories.
In short, the writer is free, no longer caged by TPH contracts that are stacked against them, or by agents who think they are entitled to their 15%, even though they did nothing to earn it. The writer is free to screw up, learn from their mistakes and move on. It's a learning curve, to understand this new world and avoid the pitfalls that are everywhere these days.
And one of those people who knew the shifting landscape was Kris (Her husband Dean too, and he still blogs about the business side of things --- for now). I learned about the new TPH contracts that are legal obscenity, agents taking their clients' backlists and becoming publishers themselves. I learn what to look for in book services, to realize that writing the story isn't the end of the writer's job, it's the beginning.
Am I an expert? No. I'm still struggling to write a full-length novel, and I may change that thinking down the road. I can write short stories just fine, and I'm thinking about working on a story for one of the Kindle Worlds properties. but I have at least an understand of what this new world is, for which I'm thanking Kris for right now.
Kris wants to go back to her story writing, for which I can only say, may your pen never run dry of inspiration. As for me, I'll kludge along and see if I can follow her path.