Publishing is changing, the latest clue being Torstar’s vanity publishing line, DellArte (clever me, I said Torstar instead of Harlequin)*.
But we all agree on this one point, right? I mean, publishing can be DOOMED, or it can be METAMORPHOSING, or it can be LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!! but something’s going on.
And we all know MWA, RWA, and all those types delisted Harlequin, which won’t make a damn bit of difference to Harlequin (or Torstar, hee!).
Mrs. Giggles and Karen Scott both get it about the DellArte thing: Say somebody wants to pay to play.
But then on Karen’s blog the thread turned to what RWA should do about it and she said (I’m sure mostly tongue-in-cheek):
Since the RWA took the step of delisting HQN, they may as well go the whole hog and have a fulsome ‘Vanity Press Is Evil’ programme that informs authors about the pitfalls of going the vanity/self-pubbing route, rather than leaving it to the likes of Writer Beware. Merely delisting HQN is far too much of a passive-aggressive way of tackling this potentially world-altering, humanity-defying problem.
You know what I think RWA should do instead of having a Vanity Press Is Evil program? I think the RWA should have a program to inform, instruct, and help those members who are interested in self-publishing, provide a publishing punchlist, which publishing services cost what (and what’s reasonable), how to do it right, with the understanding that no matter which self-publishing route you go, you are going to pay to play. The opportunities for information mining (read: conference workshops read: ka-ching) are endless.
DellArte would be cast as the devil by default, just on their prices.
But then, that would be a proactive thing to do.
The RWA is reactive. This is an organization that grits its teeth when forced to acknowledge the fact of successful e-publishers like Ellora’s Cave/Cerridwen Press, Samhain Publishing, Loose Id, et al.
Oh well. It was an idea.
UPDATE: Well, this is what I get for not waiting a day on new Publishing Doom news to post this. Some more clues might be:
Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Harper Collins have decided to withhold ebook release for some months to give the hardcovers a chance to earn some money. That might not sound like such a bad thing until you realize that a lot of money (read: people) would not have bought the hardcover and so by the time the ebook comes out, the money (read: people) will have forgotten about the book.
Some money (read: person read: me) had this problem last night when Smart Bitches feature “Bookmatch,” which is a type of internet handselling from a pro at Powell’s recommended a book. I wanted it. RIGHT THEN!!! And, uh, well, it’s not in E. I’ll forget about the book in another couple of days.
And then Kirkus Reviews (the chichi book review rag) closes.
Oh yeah. I think we can all agree publishing is changing, can’t we?