I've been following blogs and forum posts concerning how eBooks are changing the publishing industry. If you haven't been following this trend and you are a new author, you should probably start reading up on this more.
Recently, I read a topic in author Christopher Moore's forums about eBooks and how this could impact the writer. Now, for those of you who do not know Christopher Moore (shame on you!), he is a successful author of satirical novels and a very cool guy to boot. I highly recommend you read some of his work and possibly visit his website.
I wont go into all of the details of that thread, but instead leave it up to you to read what he was saying in it. However, I will say that I became very concerned with what I read. Now, Moore is a veteran author. Like I said, he is also very successful, and if he is concerned with how the digital world will impact the publishing world, and more specifically, writers, then that worries me.
As an aspiring novelist, it scares me to think that trying to break out in publishing is going to become even harder when the market is inundated with more and more content by people who self-publish. It's already hard enough to get your foot in the door. When more avenues are introduced that allow untalented writers to get their work out there, it will be even harder to find quality material. It means that there will be more garbage to dig through to find that proverbial diamond in the rough.
I think there are pros and cons to this whole situation, however, I think the cons are beginning to outweigh the pros. Some of the pros include: making it easier for new authors to publish and distribute their work; reaching a wider audience; and for authors who are actually good but always faced rejection to finally break out.
Now to address the important cons. While making it easier to publish and distribute content, authors (good and bad) will find the market more competitive to make themselves known among the plethora of material. Marketing a work now is already very competitive. Readers will have to weed out a lot of horrible writing before they find a writer who is actually good. eBooks will more than likely become cheaper as the market is flooded, thus making it nearly impossible for newer authors to make a living by their writing. Not to mention the digital piracy that has harmed the music industry. Just imagine what it will do to the publishing world. In the aforementioned topic, Moore says that he has musician friends that were living on royalties. Now that piracy has changed the music industry, those friends, that thought they were finished touring, now have to go back out and perform to maintain their lifestyles. He goes on to say that while that's fine for musicians, what would authors do in the face of piracy? It's not like an author can pack a stadium to read his work to an audience. Something that makes you think, right?
With all of the ramifications the digital medium is doing to other markets, especially publishing, I think the effects are out of the scope of this blog. I urge you to begin keeping yourself informed of how it will affect the market. If you're like me, you will probably find yourself worried about the future of the printed medium.