Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Big Six

I Need Your Help ~ Let’s Decide Which Is Better: Traditional or Self-Publishing . . .

publishing I try to be a fair and balanced blogger…

I’ve been blogging about Reading, Writing, and Publishing for nearly eight years now.

My readership has grown in a satisfying way but I’m hoping this particular post can lead to an upsurge in readers—and Commenters.

I’m not looking for reader comments to make this blog show up better on search engines or to help me sell anything (even my short novel is available for free).

What I’m after is sufficient commentary on this post to help me make a personal decision

Naturally, if you and your friends can help enough, this post could end up helping lots of other people, too

I’ve spent considerable effort here finding news articles and blog posts that discuss traditional publishing and compare it with self-publishing.

And, you can use the Subject Index Links in the side-bar to find past articles

Here’s the thing though.

I initially self-published my novel through FastPencil (I’ve also used Lulu).

Still, there are aspects of the operation of traditional publishers that seem to have more potential to make books “acceptable” to readers

On the other hand, there are many authors who’ve experienced traditional publishing and shifted away from the legacy model—one particularly important example is Joe Konrath.

So, how can you help me?

First, watch the videos below and leave a Comment.

Second, tell your friends to watch the videos and make Comments.

I’m hoping there’ll be enough Comments to let me do, at least, two more posts on this important issue—What Is The Best Way To Publish A Book?

Just a few more considerations before the videos:

I realize there may be reasons for writers to pursue both types of publishing—they each have “advantages” and “disadvantages”

I put quotes around those words in the last sentence because one person’s profitableness can be another’s handicap.

Also, you may not have published or have friends who have.

I still encourage you to watch the videos and make a judgement on whether these professionals and authors seem like people you can trust [a fair and balanced evaluation of body language and voice inflection might be appropriate]

Last consideration—you may (or, all your friends may) have no knowledge of different kinds of publishing.

I’d still like your Comments on the following issue—How Do You Feel Reading, Writing, and Publishing “Fit Together” ?

OK, here are the videos—do hope you make a Comment :-)

Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

Publishing News Is Having A Crisis

publishing news [Author’s Edit: This post is from the past but certainly is not dated…]

Authors who want to be published have, possibly, more options than they need right now.

Traditional, Indie, POD, Small Imprint, Publishing Aid companies, and full Self-Publishing, to name the major options.

Plus, all those categories are mating and producing offspring

It’s no wonder news about publishing has become as confusing as the act of publishing itself.

I believe, one day, things will calm down to just a few of the best new ways to publish along with a transformed “traditional” option

I’ve had a couple polls on this blog to gauge what readers want—the most recently available survey HERE—and, considering the three main areas of concern on this blog (Reading, Writing, and Publishing), publishing is the least interesting to visitors who’ve voted.

Of course, not all visitors give their opinions and that latest survey is definitely still open for voting

Still, whether I “cover” the news about publishing or not, I still scan the headlines—I am a published author who will be publishing again.

Some of the most interesting coverage of happenings in publishing are over at Kristine Kathryn Rusch‘s blog, Business Rusch.

I’ve referenced her before in the posts Are Traditional Publishers Really All That Bad? and Further Considerations On Traditional Publishers.

So, as the United States Department of Justice leveled a law suit against Apple and a few of the Big Trads, Rusch’s take on the proceedings became of interest. Let me quote a bit from her Writers and The DOJ Lawsuit:

“A reporter is only as good as her sources. And on a story like this, reporters usually have no sources at all because publishing is a poorly covered industry. Most reporters hope to break into ‘real’ writing one day (‘real’ writing being getting a book published), so they’re both in awe of the publishing industry and afraid of rocking a boat while covering it.

“In other words, what you read in the mainstream press comes from sources of dubious provenance, press conferences (the DOJ), statements from the parties involved (usually drafted by lawyers to avoid any legal issues), and whatever is in the media already (usually misinformation or partial information). Add to that the need to cover a complicated case in either a story that lasts 30 seconds to two minutes (TV/radio) or in about 1,000 words (print/blogs), and you have the makings of severe misunderstandings.

“What does the DOJ case mean for writers, traditional or indie?

“Um…no one knows.”

Of course, this woman is a writer so she does go on, at length, to give her experienced opinion

I’ve only published four books and only have two more I’m working on for publishing.

I have few solid opinions about what’s going on but I do share what others I respect say.

And, so far, Joe Konrath makes the most sense to me.
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Will Traditional Publishers Survive?

traditional publishing So much change in so little time!

Folks are predicting the Big-Five Book Publishers and dozens of smaller houses are on their way out.


Liberty Books has an article by Ellen F. Brown (award-winning freelance writer) called, Why Book Publishing Can Survive Digital Age: Echoes.

As far as the challenge to traditional publishers from the new digital phenomenon, Ellen says, “…the publishing industry has a long history of weathering these sorts of challenges…”.

Then, she proceeds to cite some history:

“In the 1920s, drug, grocery and department stores gave booksellers fits by offering popular titles at cut-rate prices.”

“Also problematic was the Book of the Month Club, a distribution company founded in 1926 that sold inexpensive hardcover versions of popular books through mail order.”

“And, of course, there was the ultimate competitor to bookstores: public libraries. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, communities across the U.S. funded the construction of facilities where books could be had for free, albeit only on loan.”

“Then came the ‘paperback revolution’. According to Publishers Weekly, word spread at the 1939 American Booksellers Convention that ‘some reckless publisher’ was going to bring out a series of paperback reprints of popular novels to be sold for only a quarter a piece.”

“The real test of the industry’s mettle came in 1949 when Fawcett Publications announced a new series of 25-cent paperback originals. A vigorous debate arose over the propriety of original work being released in such an inexpensive format.”

And, Ellen’s thoughts on how all that affected the publishers?

“Although there was much grumbling along the way, the industry gradually accepted that the new products and distributors, including libraries, were not evil incarnate. To the contrary, they were something of a boon in that they generated interest in reading among people who didn’t frequent bookstores.”

Then, a most interesting thought:

“The new products also had a hard time maintaining their early successes. It’s a simple matter of economics: Delivering a high-quality product at a bargain-basement price is difficult. Once competition heated up in the cheap-book market, signs of strain began to show.”

There’s a lot more history and speculation in the full article but Ellen sums up with: “Electronics are here to stay, but someday the digital revolution in publishing may well be seen as just another phase in the natural evolution of a vital and resilient industry.”

Do read the original article. It’s quite well-written


Do you agree that the Digital Revolution is just one more “adjustment” the traditional publishers need to consider?

Is there something “different” about Print-On-Demand and E-Books that poses a greater challenge to the Big-Five and their smaller cousins?
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Are Traditional Publishers Still “Relevant”?

Since I’m a Reader, Writer, and Self-Publisher, I’m always looking for the “other side” in stories circulating in the tornadic flux of the Book World.

Even situations with clear black/white positions have a bit of gray Perhaps some silver or a touch of chartreuse, too :-)

Two weeks ago, I wrote the post, When You’re Too Afraid of The Future To Embrace It . . ., which featured a post from Joe Konrath with a conversation he’d had with Barry Eisler about a document from the publishing conglomerate Hachette – one of the so-called “Big Five” publishers.

Authors Konrath and Eisler, both well-experienced in traditional and self-publishing, seemed to “demolish” the opinions expressed by the Hachette executive.

Yet, Robert McCrum, author and former editor-in-chief of Faber & Faber, has written a post defending Hachette’s position.

In his article, A New Map for The Books World, Robert says, among other things:

“…the [Hachette] document will drive you either into paroxysms of rage, or helpless laughter. Me, I’m somewhere in the middle. The Hachette memorandum is neither sinister nor ludicrous.”

“The Hachette model used to be fully integrated with the literary marketplace. Not any more.”

“Some time between 1990 and 2005….The many book tribes (writers, agents, editors, booksellers) on the lonely route from the moment of putting black on white to the point of sale found that the map they’d relied on for generations no longer described the environment they inhabited.”

“The truth is, no one knows what the future holds.”

“One thing is certain, however: the global audience for the printed word is now exponentially greater than ever before. Whatever the rows breaking out among the book tribes, this is probably a golden age of reading.”

I’d certainly be interested in any comments on this issue of the “relevance” of traditional publishers.

Especially welcome would be comments from folks who’ve read both the Konrath/Eisler and McCrum articles
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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