I don’t normally do this, but I think you should read my PJM column this week. (With Charlie, I do the friday book plug, and if you’re not submitting to it, you should be.) But I’m the one who does the “blather” that goes before the promo. Ie the text before the links (with exceptions, such as when I’m too sick.)
(Incidentally, in looking for a picture to illustrate this, I found it’s very difficult to get images of statues of Lenin pulled down or dragged, and there are none available for licensing through the usual services. I don’t believe in conspiracies, but I do believe in a lot of people burying what makes them uncomfortable. Just saying.)
Anyway, here’s a quote:
This worked about as well as you expect of top-down systems. By the time Amazon came along, we were more than ready for them. Don’t let the Amazon-whiners deceive you. If everything had been fine in publishing – say if Amazon had come around in the seventies – it would have had an impact, but not nearly as large.
But Amazon moved in on a vacuum. Even now, the main publishers don’t get it (as Joe Konrath proves, taking Hachette to task.) Suddenly readers could find the authors that never got stocked, and found out that hey, books were still being published they wanted to read. (From the other side, the authors’ statements didn’t change much, even though they suddenly found themselves hailed as celebrities by neighbors and repairmen who came to the house. Strange. It’s almost like those numbers are the ones the publishing house decided on, and not what really sold. Some day, when my husband has time, he’s going to do a dissection of my mystery royalty reports, where – I swear – the print run changes in a quantum manner, to avoid paying me royalties. It’s obvious even to me that they’re lying, but my husband is a mathematician and will have lots of fun with it.)
Then Amazon opened the market to self-publishing, and people could find things that they wanted to read that insulted neither their intelligence nor their political beliefs.
Thereby precipitating whining, denial and outright illegal price-fixing from the publishers.
But you know, I didn’t quite believe in the revolution. Oh, I believed I could make a living from it, at least at the level I was making. Witchfinder proved that, if nothing else. (Though I need to bring out the two sequels soon or sales will crash. Indie has low attention span, because it’s spoiled for choice.)
However for real push, for real penetration of market, traditional publishing still held control. They could still make something a bestseller if they wanted to and pushed enough. Or at least so I thought.
I saw some signs it might not be so, because if I’m right, they tried to push Night Circus to the same level of publicity as Twilight. It didn’t get there. Nowhere near.
But then maybe I was wrong, because this was like a middle school chick watching the boys to see who liked her, or the free world watching the May day parade to see who was in and who was out at the Kremlin. One thing was sure, we’d get things wrong.
And then this week, I saw the walls tumble down. I saw the statue of Lenin dragged through the streets.