The fact that today's blog chain entry is a day late is just one more sign that I'm taking on too much these days and need a break. I'll have more on that in another post momentarily, but right now it's time to get back on the blog chain. That's right, we're back and we have a number of new members. If you're a longtime reader of our chain, you'll find something new in the contributions of Matt, Tere, Jon, Katrina, PK, and Amparo. I love it when we get new members (though of course I miss the people who have left) because I get to learn more about writing from their different perspectives. And it's amazing how many different perspectives we can have on a given subject.
Anyway, I'm rambling so let's get to it. Today's question is brought to you by the letter S, or more specifically that awesome writer Sandra who asks:
Have the recent changes in the publishing industry affected your writing plans/career? If so, how?
Part of me always cringes when fellow writers talk about the publishing industry, but maybe not because of the reason you might think. Since I'm still in what I consider the infancy of my writing career (i.e. I'm still learning how to write decently enough), the publishing industry is like Mount Everest. It's an awesome spectacle, a challenge that beckons at the same time it daunts, and the summit is the goal of publication. But it's over in China. In other words, for me publication is this far off idea that is really too massive for me to grasp yet. I know some day I'd like to say I have seen Everest up close and conquered it, but right now I'm really just looking at pictures of it while I try to walk up to the top of my block.
Having said that, it doesn't mean I don't watch and think about the industry and the changes I see. I do recognize the potential for books to become less available in print than in electronic form. It makes sense from a financial perspective since it's generally cheaper to mass produce at that point (Hey music industry I'm looking at you. It don't cost you $20 to burn a CD anymore, ya crooks). And of late, I have seen the usefulness of an e-reader, particularly as I read my school assignments via one. Not having to purchase and wait for a physical textbook isn't such a bad thing. For one, I don't have it sitting on a shelf collecting dust after I pass the class.
Taking a step away from the reader's perspective (and putting on my writer's hat), I consider any changes the publishing industry make that helps get my book into the hands of readers a (potentially) good thing. Yes, it is an incredibly sad thing whenever a book store has to close (not to mention a whole chain). It is a huge loss in a lot of ways. But the world does continue to change and unfortunately we all have to either change with it or step off the ride.
I do not believe printed books will ever go away completely. I compare it to vinyl records (those black round things with the hole in the middle that magically plays music. Now get off my lawn, ya punks!) There are and always will be people that enjoy the experience of holding and reading a physical book. One can become even more immersed in the experience than when playing those old vinyl discs because of the multiple senses a book engages (touch, sight, smell, etc). For this reason, I don't think book stores will ever completely disappear either, any more than record stores have.
With regards to what this means to my writing career, I don't think there is any real effect right now. I still plan on becoming a fully-fledged author someday. The method or mode for how I get there is irrelevant, and if it means I have to adjust my thinking at some point to encompass all paths, I'm okay with that. I guess the bottom line is that I'm not entrenched into thinking there is only one way to reach Everest's summit. And that's okay. Because right now, it's still just some huge awesome mountain in China.
Michelle H. was before me on the chain, so she may have more to add. And following me, the ever-talented Michelle M. should have something interesting to say on the subject.
How about the rest of you? What do you think about the changes on the publishing horizon? And how do you plan to deal with it?