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Monday, July 14, 2014

The Publishing Mystery World

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.

RJ Parker Publishing, Inc



RJ Parker said...

Brother that's a great post and educational for me as I'm only 3 years into this goofy business. I've seen drastic changes in that little amount of time so I can only imagine what changes you've witnessed. I know from our conversations and the recent backlist with AuthorHouse, reporting issues etc., it must have been a nightmare. Today, you and I have numbers and stats at our fingertips thanks to Amazon and our account manager. :) So for us, we are still riding the wave and watching these traditional publishers fight, take each other to court, and try to tap into the POD and indie platform. RJ

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

That's right, brother. They are attempting to cast Amazon into the role of a huge price fixing entity, and evil deity carving up the poor traditional publishing world. Oh barf!

We are allowed to bring our product to the market in direct competition with traditional publishing, who has censored the marketplace for decades. Amazon allows us to do it in any way we want with our own prices.

Get ready, you poor previously unchallenged censors... it's going to get a lot more wild. :)

patriot_LibertyorDeath said...

Benard and RJ, with both of you as authors and me struggling to write my own tale, I find these comments very encouraging. I believe that the public and readers should decide on whom it would be that writes "classics". We have been spoon fed those things that are considered "high art" when so much of the really good stuff falls by the way. I experience the same frustrations in music with the "good old boys" from BMI and ASCAP stepping in and instead of protecting artists, the protect big money interests and thus the independent people, like authors, painters, poets and writers are left out of their world, which is passed on to the public. I am glad for indie publishing, and all I can say is go get them and show them what the people want, not what they dictate.
Bravo to both of you and all other indie artists. Thanks for blazing the trail.....

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

We write to please ourselves, Patriot. If in the act of doing so we entertain others... then so much the better. :) You're right. This is a golden age to take a shot at grasping what used to lie far outside our reach.

Charles Gramlich said...

I saw a report that traditionally published authors have taken a big hit in earnings. The money is getting spread around. I could go with some more of it.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

There is a lot of grumbling about that, Charles. The worst part I found about traditional publishing, was I never received a sales report at all. For example, my novel COLD BLOODED for instance, first published by Wild Child Publishing. They took 60% off the top, never promoted the book, never marketed it in any manner, and never issued a sales report. When I took it back from them, and put it under my partner RJ's banner, the book and it's sequel have taken off. I know some of the big name authors have better deals, but most get nothing other than a list of things they need to do... and of course... the short end of the stick. :)