I have watched the tumultuous upheaval of the publishing industry with a bit of distance and a lot of interest. Interest because I hope to be among the published masses someday, and distance because I don't think it's going to be any time soon. (At least if my struggles with my WIP continue unabated.) It'll be a year or two or ten before I will be able to call myself published. But by then, what will the industry look like? More knowledgeable people than me talk about this endlessly, and I'm not here really to add what little I know to the conversation.
What I do want to bring, however, is a little perspective. I tend to think in analogies, so here's one for you.
Once phones looked like this:
After a few years the phone grew to this:
Then along came mobile phones, phones you could actually walk around with, instead of being tied with a cord to a base and telephone line.
Once cell phones looked like this:
Fast forward to today:
My point is when the technology began, we looked at it in wonder. How could it possibly get better than this, we said. And yet it did. Again and again and again. And it will continue to evolve as consumers demand different things from the phone industry.
This is happening in the publishing industry. We had a standard, a framework that everyone recognized as the only possibility. And yet times change. People's demands change. All sorts of factors go into this force for evolution.
In my mind we are at the equivalent of the 1980s cell phone revolution in terms of publishing. There are things going on now that we never thought would happen. But they are. Do we know where they'll end up? We can guess and conjecture, but like watching an old episode of the Jetsons, we won't know if our ideas are too tied to our present experience, or if they're truly revolutionary. (Watch an episode, and see if you don't see things that we already to better or differently than they thought when they made the show. Cash money vs. a card? Or just scanning something in your phone?)
That doesn't mean don't write or publish or submit or self-publish e-books. Life still has to be lived. And without that demand for the industry, it would die out. I just think it'll be fascinating to see in 10, 20, 50 years where the publishing/writing industry has gone. I hope you'll all be along on the ride with me.
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