The Demise Of Print – Excerpts From David Gaughran’s Blog.

West Africa’s infrastructure and seasonal storms have once again banished me to a net cafe service, so it’s another quickie ride on someone else’s blog today.

And once again the short straw has fallen to David Gaughran, who together with Joe Konrath are stating a few home truths as the final end for Borders looms.

True, some last-minute deal might salvage a few key elements of the once grand book store, but the reason it failed is because it relied on paper books. Paper books that have no future.

Yes, we’ve all been shouting this for a while now, and apologies to those who’ve moved on and have embraced the new world, but many wannabe writers are still stuck with their head in the sand, dreaming the dream about seeing their name in print on a paper book, their best-selling novel sat next to Patterson, King and Rowling on the plinth.

It wasn’t likely before.

It’s getting less and less likely every day.

And very soon that dream will be over.

Best wake up now and make the most of the new opportunities out there.

David says,

A new writer, deciding whether to self-publish or to submit to agents, needs to consider not just what the market is like now. They need to look at where its going to be in two years.

That’s the absolute quickest any new writer could get through the query system, snag an agent, go on submission, receive an offer, go through the lengthy publication process, and finally hit the bookstore shelves.

For most, of course, it will take significantly longer than that (if they are one of the tiny percentage that is successful at all). So a new writer, being a little more realistic, needs to look at where the market is going to be in three years, or even five years.

David concludes,

All that time spent researching agents, learning how to write query letters, personalizing each submission, sending off each partial, and waiting for responses that will never come could be spent building an audience or, you know, writing.

Writing stuff you can publish yourself.

Writers have more choices than ever before. And I firmly believe that this is a great time to be a writer. But only if writers seize the opportunity that is staring them in the face.

The choice is yours.

Now head over to David’s site and read the full post, and then pop over to Konrath for his take. Sorry – no link. Unable to access blogspot sites again. But there’s a link in David’s post anyway.

Borders Inches Closer to Liquidation. What Happens Next?.

  1. Word!

    I am increasingly glad I decided to go indie when I did. Both Dave’s and Joe’s posts are excellent.

    It’s a brave new world out there.

    • A brave new world and one made for pioneers to lead the way.

      Of course new world’s need maps for the next generation to follow, and David’s new book is exactly that.

  2. But But *pout* I wanted to be able to take a picture of my book on the shelves next to…erm… Rowling *grin*

    Well as I’m not looking to step my foot fully out there until about five years from now this sounds like good advice to head. The question is, will it still be all lin turmoil or will the paths have become much more clear cut?

    Have they ever been clear cut?

    Guess I’ll just keep my toes in the water and see what happens till I”m ready to plunge in eh? *grin*

    :} Cathryn Leigh

    • In five year’s time things will be unbelievably different. But whatever changes and development, good stories will always be in demand.

  3. Sorry about the rain. And Blogger access.

    Today I sent off what will probably be my last agent query. I sent it because I got one of those magical “referrals” by a client of a low-profile, high impact agency that only takes clients by referral. But as I prepared this query–it had to be the paper kind–I felt as if I had traveled back in time. Stamps. Did I have any stamps? A big envelope? Address labels? What does one put in a paper query? Is it still synopsis and five pages? When I finally got back into the rhythm of it, I found myself getting furious at the old boyfriend I’d been dating 12 years ago when I started sending out paper queries. Total time warp.

    I suppose paper books may feel like that one day. Sooner than we think.

    But I don’t think the death of Borders means the demise of all bookstores. I think the little niche indie shop that also sells other stuff (like good coffee) will survive. The Big & Nasty chain stores that pushed indies out of business 20 years ago will go, certainly, but there will always be a niche market for paper books–like for CDs.

    But they will no longer drive the industry.

    • History in the making. The final query letter. Love it!

      We used to send them too. Now we receive them. It’s a crazy world.

      Not sure what books will still be being published to make these niche market stores viable. Celebrity photo books, coffee table hardbacks and signed editions maybe, but will these sustain a bookstore, even with a good sideline?

      It cannot be long now before the Big Six start taking on authors on an e-book only basis. Offering all the traditional editorial services, translations and access to the full range of e-markets, but without the cost of paper production. If they get realistic about royalties they could yet survive the Transition and emerge stronger.

      But paper can only survive in the luxury niche. CDs are still with us because their tiny unit production costs for a slither of aluminium and plastic wrap mean they are still profitable when produced in small quantities. Paper cannot compete financially except as the expensive luxury / collector’s item.

  4. Another enlightening post, Mark. Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks Tom.

      Keeping up work, good or bad, is pretty difficult just now. The tropics in summer are not the best place to be if you;re reliant on a laptop and the net…

      Normal service will resume in August when I escape back to the UK.

  5. Hope you’re surviving the weather, Mark!

    I didn’t spend much time looking at agents, but I do wish I’d learned about the e-publishing scene earlier. I’d had a finished novel sitting on my hard drive for a year because it didn’t seem like something that would attract agents. Now it’s my bestseller, and I’m working on a series. I’m also much more prolific now that I have readers asking for more and I’m making some money. 😉

    • It’s amazing what having a vocal fan base can do to your desire and ability to write. *grin*

    • Surviving, but with difficulty. Just been through a four-day black-out.

      You’re right – being out their attracting readers gives you the confidence and incentive to push ahead.

      I’ve had WIPs on my hard drive for years that I’ve never managed to muster enough excitement to complete, because I knew they were not commercially viable in the old world. Now it’s a mad rush to get them all going again.

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