My good friend, Author Larry Kollar often jokes that by this time next year I will be down on some obscure Wikipedia page as the founder of the world's first publishing co-operative. Many people don't know what a publishing co-op is, and that is mostly because I made it up. If you are curious you can read about it here.
I like to think most of my great ideas mingle with my tears and turn themselves into great books—of course a good number of bad ideas end up as novels too; but most of my non-book related intellectual property is fair to disastrous, and the co-op still surprises me.
Many indie authors I know think that nothing will change the way traditional publishing works. Ebook revolution? What ebook revolution? We will charge 19.99 for those—because HEY that is list price of a hardback book—and we all know everyone pays list price.
Obviously, we know now that revolution didn't completely work, but I believe I do know what could finally change publishing. Not the battle that is raging now between between the different paths, not revolution, not civil disobedience; the, “I won't pay that price! I won't.” Because inevitably, someone will.
The only thing that is going to change publishing is a fire.
Like the clearing of the forest by the scorching of everything black. By leaving nothing behind. It feels now like we're watching lightening over head waiting for a single spark to catch.
The only thing that is going to change publishing is to leave nothing of it standing. It seems, already that they have bowed out on ebooks. They seem unwilling to entertain the idea that they can push the limits too far. That the flames might be licking up the base of the oak where they are treed but they are clutching to their pricing models for dear life.
It makes absolutely no sense. Ebooks have a higher profit margin that physical books do, and many times publishers take larger cuts of them; WHY wouldn't they want to price them reasonably and sell more of them? Instead they force people into hardbacks, and paperbacks—because those are less; and they, will the straight face use the price of the hardback books—which are often less, to justify the price of the ebook.
Just nod your head and go along with it.
And the whole reason people will pay outrageous amounts for those books at all is often because they are loyal to the author. There lies the whole problem. Loyalty, and where it falls. But as publishers do often, screw writers over, there will be less and less that stay with them out of loyalty; and more that will jump ship and do it themselves. And how many people that you know are overly attached to any publisher?
The castle still serves a purpose, and its mote is clogged with those who want to both tare it down and hide behind it's impenetrable walls, and I used to stand there. Afraid of drowning. Afraid of moving one way or the other for fear I would choose wrong and be cast away by both or either of the sides.
Only then did I come to realize that the sides did not matter. That those two paths, that seem so different can both start: with the writing of a book, and end: with someone reading it—enjoying it—and is investing in the author.
That they are the same.
One day, I want to have a movie contract; and I want to sell my books for 85% off at the Walmart. To do that there still needs to be a channel to. The rebels have no plan apart from Anarchy, revolution is not the way—but what of evolution?
That is the gap that I longed to fill. That was the idea that lead to me a new path, and only 2013 will tell. I very much believe that both sides will adapt or die—it might be a slow and painful death, or it might be a fire.
But something will have to give.
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