Saturday, 21 May 2011

New Developments in Digital Publishing

There's a very interesting post on the Writers Beware blog at the moment about the sudden cut-throat competition that's arisen between agents and publishers about putting backlists out again either as Print On Demand or as E-books.  Most publishers have given up keeping any but their most famous authors in traditional print, and they've been very slow to realise the potential of POD and E-books.     Catherine Cookson's agent has set up her own publishing imprint to publish CC's backlist, by-passing Random House (who are of course furious!).
And, of course, there's nothing to stop an author doing the same once their book is out of print and they've got their rights back.  A lot of writers that I know are doing just that.  POD is very cheap and putting out an E-book either as a PDF or on Kindle is free.  Neil has already re-published one of my Virago paperbacks 'A Passionate Sisterhood' and is planning to publish my Christina Rossetti biography next year.
There is also a new digital publisher - Shortfire Press - who are E-publishing short stories,  submission guidelines here, and Amazon have started  Kindle Singles - where you can sell your own short stories individually for a small sum of money (99p seems usual).   I'm certainly going to be doing that. 
Writers need Readers and the Internet makes it possible to find them without the traditional gate-keepers of publisher and agent.  It's unsettling for authors, but makes for an exciting future.   Where is it all heading?  Listen to this radio interview with Seth Godin - it's both frightening and optimistic.  Things are changing and writers need to be prepared.

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