Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The State of Traditional Publishing

Simon & Schuster president and CEO Carolyn Reidy addressed the Evangelical Christian Publisher's Association's CEO Symposium and Publishing University the first week in November. Some of her comments are enlightening and thought provoking. I'm pulling from an article at Publishers Weekly by Cindy Crosby: Reidy: Worse Publishing Environment May Be On the Way.

For several reasons (e.g., a terrible economy and new publishing options), traditional publishers are struggling.

Here's one significant snippet:

"brand name authors continuing to sell but 'everything else is far off normal levels.'"

That tells me that, at this point in history, traditional publishing is for top-selling authors. It may become more and more difficult to be a small fry author in traditional publishing. They're gonna stick with those authors (and bias their marketing dollars) to those who have already established themselves as brands. They'll likely take new authors who already have huge platforms.

Another thoughty statement:

"Reidy also wondered out loud that with self-publishing so easy, 'is it only a matter
of time before one of (the major authors) actually strikes out on his or her own?'"

Hmmm...sounds like they fear that when big-time authors realize how easy it is to bypass the big publishers, they will cut out the middle man and start getting 35% royalties on Amazon sales like those publishing through BookSurge.

Traditional publishers still have a lot to offer, but there are certainly lots of great alternatives out there to consider.

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