Thursday, August 26, 2010

Money Can't Buy Me Love

I've largely left the publishing industry behind because it is only marginally my industry. My industry is Scott Nicholson (and it's cool to refer to myself in third person, though I need an LLC or Inc. to be even cooler).

But when Publisher's Weekly, the publishing industry flagship, starts selling its last shred of respectability under the guise of serving books, it's a clearer sign than ever the publishing industry is dying, or at least evolving beyond all recognizable form and tradition. You likely could care less unless you are a writer or work in the publishing industry, but PW is charging $149 for a segregated listing in a supplement, with a slim chance that you might actually get reviewed. Even the press release is smug and demeaning--because this is about putting indies in their place and highlighting the fact that "You are not one of us but you can drink at the water fountain if you pay plenty for the privilege."

PW is an industry magazine, so even if an indie (or any author) paid to be in it, all you are doing is getting seen by a handful of agents and editors and assorted hangers-on. Those are people who should be sharpening their own resumes or building their own individual industries. They are not going to be flipping through to discover new writers. They should be looking at the want ads, not the writer lists. They don't need any more writers. They had way too many already.

IndieReader has started a similar pay-to-play review policy, and the formerly esteemed Kirkus also sold its soul a few years back. These people want your money. The publishing industry is the least efficient way to sell your book right now. Putting it in a bookstore is going to cost you most of your profit and you still have to do all the work of building the audience, so why share that with dozens or hundreds of people who add little to the actual product, which is your words?

Look. Give them money and you are hurting your business. Whatever emotional tug you feel at joining their exclusive club, if you pay them, you are added to a list that at best will be ignored and at worst will be ridiculed. You're basically paying to be on a blacklist.

Maybe someday enough writers will figure out this is a business of writing. The rest is just smoke and mirrors and corporations.


1 comment:

AlexOngNYC said...

Good food for thought. These darn computers and interwebs are changing everything!