Traditional Agents and Publishing have been choosing sides in the Amazon vs Hachette negotiations, and the old gateway is squeaking. The anachronistic rusty gateway sentinels find themselves competing against a growing independent author element, assaulting what they considered their own sacred marketplace. Those sentinels, forced to abide by the same rules governing everyone on the Amazon world marketplace, abhor a taste of their own medicine.
The trouble with the old gateway to being a novelist, the revered traditional agents and publishers, is that they stopped merely filtering untalented writers, and began discriminating against genres. Pulp Fiction became one of the first genres to be shielded away from the reading public. Conservatively themed fiction was quietly banished by ultra-liberal agents and publishers. If you don’t believe I’m correct, read the archives of the agents who are still blogging. I read a lot of the agent blogs from the late nineties on.
Many had writing, query letter, and publishing tips for writers that were invaluable. They also could not avoid revealing their discriminating tastes in what they would represent. I remember one in particular claiming she would never represent anything ‘Republicanish’. At the time I wondered how wide a scope her one word encompassed. It was also when I began paying closer attention to the remarks made across the board by other blogging agents. It seemed they were willing to go out on a limb for erotica, but anything else of a pulp fiction or conservative bent ended up in their slush pile.
I write ‘Pulp Fiction’. Thankfully, Amazon came along, and opened up the world of publishing, knocking the old gateway off its hinges. The marketplace filters poorly written material in a manner comparable to the way the traditional gateway did back in the day – a day when selling potential and content both mattered, regardless of genre. The digital age is here to stay… traditional publishing and agents… I’m not so sure. The reason for their decline along with their book outlets is partly because they caused an actual reader backlash, and Amazon took advantage of it. The reading public grew weary of having points of view, and genres like Pulp Fiction censored from the market.
The wide open Amazon marketplace is not for everyone, at least in a direct manner. If an author wants nothing to do with line edits, file formatting, cover creation or media marketing, then traditional publishing and agents are the only option. For a lot of us, the creation of a novel, and bringing it to market from start to finish bypasses the traditional release date delays, and 60% fees off the top for no marketing, no promotion, and no sales reports. Developing a loyal readership base challenges all of us. We either produce a product gripping enough to draw in readers, or the marketplace will shrink our presence and readership.
In Indie writing and publishing news, I went over 70,000 words in Rick Cantelli, P.I. Book III: Into the Darkness, and my partner RJ Parker was awarded his own publisher’s page on Amazon for RJ Parker Publishing, Inc. It means more exposure, and another way to reach out to many more readers.