Whoa. Also: Sheesh.


Things have been mighty busy this week. I’m way behind on my blog reading, and we all know how important it is for a writer past his deadline to read blogs, yes?

I’m making good progress on my latest revision to Man Bites World, though. Of course it’s taking me longer than I would like, but it’s also more straightforward that I’d originally thought. It’s amazing how different things look when you think them out, yeah?

Which means, naturally, that my galleys for Game of Cages arrived yesterday. Tomorrow will be galley day. Fun!

Also, (to expand on a comment I wrote yesterday) I’ve been seeing a lot of people treating the Macmillan/Amazon.com conflict as the first step in the collapse of “Big Publishers.” I’ve also seen a number of people say that writers will soon be able to break away from their publishers and Do It All For Themselves! Hire an editor, pay for cover art, pay for a copy edit, buy a program that lets people design their own books.

Interestingly, there are very very few established writers who are eager for this to happen. A couple, but very few. Most established, professional writers don’t want any part of this business model.

Take me, for example. Do you think I could do this kind of revision to commissioned cover art?. Hell, no. I don’t have the skills or the talent. I’d have to hire an expert, which I can’t afford.

Consider also: After my agent (a former editor at Penguin) gives me notes, I send my book to Betsy Mitchell, editor-in-chief at Del Rey. I get two rounds of fantastic notes before the copy chief and copy editor even gets near it.

If Betsy were freelance, do you think I could afford to hire her? Do you think she’d have a window in her schedule for me, Newbie McFace-PunchingBook? Hell no. She’d charge a fortune for her services, and the people who could afford to work with her would be the doctors, lawyers and stock brokers of the world–people with high-paying day jobs who could afford to shell out the bucks for their hobby.

Besides it seems to me that ebooks are not the poison pill that will kill Big Publishing. Not when BP does so much that “indie” authors–even indie authors with a pro track record–would never be able duplicate all the things a big-time publisher does.

Doesn’t anyone remember when POD publishing was going to be the death of traditional publishers? Did Stephen King jump ship and start his own press, with editors and publicity staff he paid out of his own pocket (to keep the profits for himself!). He could certainly afford it. James Patterson has three people at his publisher who work exclusively on him and his books–has he hired them away to Patterson Publishing to run his own shop? Has J.K. Rowling, who could afford to pay her staff in six figures, including the receptionist?

No, they haven’t. NY Publishers add value. Maybe people want books to be cheaper, and maybe they hate rejection letters, but that doesn’t mean the companies themselves are going to fail.

Back to work.