February 8, 2011 11:09 am EST
Publishing changed significantly about 550 years ago with Gutenberg's innovative movable type printing press. The entire paradigm shifted with the reduction of labor and associated costs. No longer would a book take a year to produce by hand, painstakingly, by scribes working by candlelight.
Publishing is changing again. The current paradigm shift from printed books to electronic books, along with the plethora of options for self-publishing, allows anyone with a story and perseverance to have that story published. It's an exciting time, but as with all major changes, it's a time also of resistance, obstacles, and turmoil.
The Internet's pervasiveness has created the ability for each of us to have a voice, for each of us to speak our hearts and tell our stories. But it's also created a tremendous amount of noise. The insignificant barrier to entry, the ease with which anyone can create a website or blog, makes it far too easy to publish material of low quality. A side effect of this is that many readers are becoming a bit jaded. They don't expect quality writing from most websites and blogs so they tune out, and become ever more resistant to pay their hard earned money.
The big publishing houses were never perfect, but they did several things well, for example, distribution, marketing, and perhaps most important, quality control. We, as writers, editors, publishers, and the like, must begin to take more responsibility for the work we distribute, whether a short update on a social networking site, an article or blog post, or a book-length work. As we embrace the power of electronic media, networking, and distribution, we have the responsibility to publish only our best work.
The continents of the old world are drifting apart. We are discovering that we are indeed each our own island, our own unique self. Our next step will be to build bridges, to collaborate, to partner in loving creative expression. In the world of publishing, whether traditional or new media, this means we mustn't cling to the delusion that we can do it all ourselves. Great writers are not great marketers. Great writers are not great editors nor proofreaders. Partnering with other professionals is absolutely necessary if we are to create great work. And the public demands great work. They won't pay for less.
I've self-published four books, several websites, and thousands of posts. I've proven to myself that I'm capable of going this route. Nonetheless, I've decided to publish my next book, Ecstatic Beat, a collection of my poetry, with Xynobooks. I'm grateful to have been accepted and excited about the process of collaborating in this endeavor.
I'm convinced that working with this group of professionals will create a higher quality work, and for me, that's of paramount importance. My writing is my art, my fulfillment, my calling; it's imperative that the final product be of the highest quality possible.
Love and giggles,