I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!
Out of Touch
February 12, 2014
Publishing industry sympathizers are New York centrists at heart, and like many of that city, they believe they reside and thrive at the center of the universe. How can someone from the mud puddle netherlands of America understand their industry better than they understand it themselves?
These people who excoriate Amazon should know better, but they owe their existence as important entities to their presence at the heart of the traditional publishing industry. They go to parties to be seen by others who work in publishing. They show up at conferences to demonstrate how they rule the realm. They have expensive apartments and favorite restaurants to support. Only in their minds does their business model require them to maintain wildly expensive Manhattan office space. Logically, publishing can occur anywhere. Only in the old, old days did it matter for them to be clustered in the same area, but emotionally they can't separate themselves from the mindset of being at the center of the universe.
Just one example: those who still maintain that the only way to get respect in publishing is to go through the gauntlet of queries and agents and editors are hopelessly out of touch. The huge corporate publishers are stuck in a past that no longer exists. What's more, that gauntlet was never much more than a way to reduce costs and keep out the uninvited.
I used to ask fellow writers at conferences to explain exactly how they came to be associated with their agent and publisher. Again and again, they ducked the inquiry until finally admitting their personal connection to New York was the key factor. So and so at a party, or an acquaintance of a friend, or a well connected family member knew so and so in publishing which made things happen. This industry has been New York centric so long it can't envision itself as being any different. This at least partially explains the ridiculous contracts and terms they impose on writers who lack clout. The winner in that arena is the one who scalps the other guy as cleanly as possible, no matter how exploitative or abusive the practice.
The point is, you can buy into that nonsense or you can make your own path. They no longer guard the gate to writing success. Now, it's between you and the reader.