Wednesday, March 7, 2012

You Can Lay Down Your Pitchfork Now, The Revolution is Over

All right, I’m callin’ it. Time of death: First fiscal quarter 2012.

The digital publishing revolution is now over. Thank you and please turn in your scythes to the man at the back of the room before exiting in an orderly fashion.

I’ve been blogging for a little over two years, and I can’t help but notice the huge change that’s taken place in the last six months. The sense of urgency in discussing The Future of Publishing has all but evaporated. I’ve read a number of blog posts about blogging being dead. Maybe that’s true, and if it is, it’s probably yet another indicator that the brave new world of publishing is finally at hand.

Thank God.

Now everyone will stop talking about how self-publishing will transform the landscape; if people will prefer e-readers so much that paper books will disappear; how literary agents fit into this new world order; whether anyone will ever make any money in this business (did they ever?); and the exponentially-increasing burden on authors to market their own work because publicity help from publishers will evaporate in this mad, chaotic scrum to reach an ever-shrinking pool of disenchanted readers!



Sentient apes will overpower humanity! Or sentient robots! Depending on which of those you prefer. (Hmmm. I guess I’ll go with the robots.)

It’s done. It’s over. Everyone’s going to be all right. We can all stop noshing on our fingernails.

I like my “real” books. I like my Kindle. Some books will make a lot of money. The majority won’t. Some authors are better at marketing than others. Some books will be over-hyped flops and some will be sleeper hits. If you haven’t already made your fortune in e-publishing, you’re too late. 

And here’s the most incendiary notion of all: agents and publishers will continue to be the gate keepers of quality and a lot of people will continue to hate that idea like poison.

What do you think? Are we really there yet? Also, apes or robots, what's your preference?