Frankly My Agent, I Don’t Give a Damn!: Is Traditional Publishing Dying?

In an interesting Mashable article this morning, Seth Godin asserted that he didn’t think traditional publishing was worth the effort. In his Mediabistro interview, Mr. Godin (who I adore) gave a frank and bold opinion regarding the bleakness of the future of paper books. It’s a very good interview please check it out or check out Mashable’s article: http://tinyurl.com/2eycxtc 

I recently penned a post in which I discussed the future of paper books.  While ignoring the elephant on the page (ebooks), I did ask for opinions regarding paperbacks and classically structured books (http://wp.me/pzutE-25).  while there’s no question that ebooks are here to stay, I wonder how many authors have considered how publishing is changing and if we shouldn’t be making more of an attempt to capitalize on those changes.  For instance, in most other industries where the sharing of goods and services involves a third-party there comes a point at which the question must be asked, “can we cut out the middle man?”

Traditional publishing or the art of getting published has always involved finding an agent, attracting a publisher, working with an editor, etc .,. Add to this the necessity that these people actually respect what you’re writing and you have a very complicated process.  Its exhausting just thinking about it.  However, with the advancements made in the social media arena and the tools available to authors, are these middlemen still needed?  I’ve worked with agents who I felt, didn’t “get” me or were just looking for and angle, or just . , didn’t anything! My work was rarely seen or requested and eventually I retreated to writing for personal pleasure.  Then came social media and thank God, Twitter.  In the short time I’ve been blogging and tweeting, my fan base has grown tremendously, I’ve become more confident in my writing, and rejections are way down.

Another interesting development to consider, self-publishing can be an affordable alternative for authors who aren’t willing to sacrifice their “story” in order to satisfy “the man.”   I’ve often thought of the art of writing, regardless of scope, a deeply personal thing.  Writers are brilliant.  They tell the story that “is” and not the story that’s perceived. To be able to tell “your” story is true validation.  This is not to discourage all from pursuing traditional publishing dreams; risk it all, I say.  However, with the exception of the proofreader, my mind, my craft tells me to look beyond traditional publishing and the narrow-minded, narcissistic tendencies of the industry and pursue new ways to publish my work. 

 What’s your take?  Are you still pursuing traditional publishing goals or has the exposure to social media and blogging rights caused you to rethink “splitting the check?” I invite your response.


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