Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Do Publishers Need to Offer More Value to Authors?

Jane Friedman, web editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review, and former publisher of Writer’s Digest, gave a presentation in Berlin this fall called "The Future of the Author-Publisher Relationship."

In it (and an accompanying article), she suggested that

"...given the changes happening in the industry—traditional publishers will need to be more author-focused in their operations by offering tools, community, and education to help authors be more successful, to everyone’s greater benefit. If publishers fail to do so, then authors, who have an increasing number of publishing options available to them, will depart for greener pastures. I pointed out that Amazon has a VP of author relations, and views the author like a second customer, but publishers have no such author-relations position or focus on authors as a community to be served. I recommended publishers create their own VPs of author relations and be more strategic in serving authors on a long-term, broad basis rather than on a title-by-title basis."

In this fascinating blog post, Jane explores why, from the perspective of the big six publishers (soon to be big five), that idea of offering more value to authors may not happen.  She explores the desirables that publishers offer authors (Money, Service, and Status) and reflects on how, 

"Given industry change, a start-up can reasonably challenge publishers on at least 2 if not all 3 of the desirables mentioned above."

She comments on how, as of now

"...most self-publishing authors who strike it rich are only too happy to sign with a big player and see their sales skyrocket into the millions from the hundreds of thousands. A lot more has to change in the industry to convince publishers to be more service-oriented toward their authors. But if and when it does change, will it be too late to convince authors who offers the best partnership?"

It's well worth reading!

Illustrate and Write On,

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