A Change is Gonna Come

Friday, November 14, 2008 5 Comments A+ a-

My favorite singer (next to Sade) is Seal. Oooh do I love me some Seal.

I'm a bit behind on his newest releases and will probably be doing some splurging this weekend since I'm trying to refrain from book buying. Yeah, I know, from one vice to another lol. But I'm going to celebrate some little victories.

Anyway, I was checking out his myspace page (why didn't I add him to my friends already?! Kicking myself) and he redid Sam Cooke's classic 'A Change is Going to Come' which is live via a YT link on his page. I'm not going to go into who did what better because like the classic "A Woman's Work" first sang by Kate Bush and then Maxwell, each version brought a little something special and unique to that particular version.

I thought it was fitting because earlier today I was passing the time reading the excerpt for The Book is Dead by Sherman Young. He also has a wordpress blog you should check out as well. Young has made the first chapter available on his website here. I'll tell you right now, it is awesome. I found myself highlighting half the excerpt by the time it was over.

Young basically lays out the industry's old model for the layman. He explains what was expected of authors and how books have changed to now. He also gives hope for the book in new media and explains all the reasons why the book is dead.

The book is dead because the book trade is about selling objects, not ideas.


And how.

Some scary stats given are: "2004 - only 10 book titles sold more than a million copies. Fewer than 1500 sold more than 50000 copies. Sixty-seven thousand titles sold between 1000 to 5000 and most books published sold fewer than 99 copies."

Factoring that into today's climate as publisher push for a blockbuster model is downright depressing.

But fear not. Because there will always be readers out there clamoring for good stories. The many, many forums on Amazon's genre forums and across the web along with the thousands of reader and book reviewer blogs prove that readers are always looking for good stuff to read.

I know it looks all doom and gloom now, but hope shines within the darkness and I have faith in the new media that writing and book publishing will continue. New media will keep rising and all we have to do is prepare for some awesome creativity ahead. The best thing we can do as writers is arm ourselves with the knowledge needed to share our works. And Young's book is just the thing. Already I highly recommend the book. It's price is a little steep because it's an import and I'm hoping that the book will be available in e-format (because I'll grab it in a wink).

A change is gonna come and we're on the cusp to doing some great things in the face of publishing.

Hold on. :-)




5 comments

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Zoe Winters
AUTHOR
7:49 AM delete

Agreed. I don't think print books are ever going away. On the other hand, while some ebooks sell well, in fiction, ebooks aren't nearly the sellers that print books are. So this suggests to me that the primary way to monetize fiction isn't through ebooks.

At least not in a linear: 'sell the ebook, pick up the cash' type of way.

I'm seeing a lot of people having success giving their ebooks away free, and then selling the print title of the same book simultaneously.

It sounds freaking crazy. But fiction readers seem to still prefer print books. I think the sales numbers and the way they're skewed for print books shows a general growing mistrust from readers that they're going to enjoy their purchase.

Being able to read as much of the story as you want for free (without sitting in a bookstore for hours), gives the readers faith that what they are buying, they really will like.

I'd like to see us shift more to that model for awhile.

Though the fear I'm sure would be: If every good book was free on the internet, why would anyone buy the print version? Cory Doctorow calls books "fetish objects." Give it away, and more people buy print.

It sounds ridiculous, yet that's what's happening. And I think NOW is the time to experiment with that model, not 10 years from now when everybody is doing it and the competition just to get free work read is too high.

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Zoe Winters
AUTHOR
7:52 AM delete

Though I do think the whole process is pretty Darwinian, there are billions of blogs, but cream rises to the top.

This whole free ebook, free podcast trend, and the positive results for it are part of why I think the old model of "find an agent, get a publisher" will soon be replaced for fiction writers with: "build a platform, find an agent, get a publisher" OR "build a platform, publisher calls you, call an agent to negotiate for you."

The last option is the only option that puts the writer in the power chair.

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Rae Lori
AUTHOR
12:17 PM delete

I think a lot of romance readers love their ebooks in the fiction realm. We have a lot of ereader converts on the loops lol. Strangely enough SF&F readers are little more slower to adapt to ebooks. I wonder if it's because of Harlequin's successful ebook program? *shrugs*

I think print books will become more centralized in that they'll become more of a collector's thing in the future. Hardcovers especially. With visual media technology getting more and more sophisticated each year, books have to ante up to make reading fun again for all ages. The new models could definitely help with that.

I personally like that last model myself! :-D

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Danielle
AUTHOR
12:39 PM delete

It's funny how much we have in common. I love Seal and Sade. I hope that print books don't go away. I love the visceral feel of a book in my hands. I am warming up to ebooks more and more since my favorite genre doesn't always make it to print, and some of the most unique stories come out the small presses who mainly publish electronically.
Congrats on the possible book deal. I love shapeshifter romance.

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Rae Lori
AUTHOR
3:04 PM delete

Woot! Kindred spirits indeed! :-D

I hope print doesn't disappear completely. I'm really hoping an innovative soul out there will bring the Espresso Book Machine over here because that'll definitely take off with book lovers and save a lot of the useless in between that's dominated the market for so long. I agree about the ebooks. There's a lot of wonderful books in the small press that you can't get anywhere else other than online or POD.

And thanks so much Danielle! I'll have to let you know when it's available and send you some goodies as well. :-D

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