Authors Should Protect Themselves Against Goliath

The bestselling author Scott Turow posted a widely discussed letter, in his capacity as president of the Author’s Guild, about how Amazon is undermining the integrity of the bookselling business.

As if publishers weren’t doing that themselves.

In his letter he argues that Amazon undermines the bookstore experience, that the traditional publishers are important to cultural literacy, among many other things. In an excellent dissection on the blog A Newbie’s g=Guide to Publishing blog novelists J.A. Konrath and Barry Eisler rebut Turow’s arguments point-by-point, as does David Gaughran in a blog on his site dedicated to self-publishing.

What it comes down to for anyone who’s in the process of writing a book, has written a book or wants to write a book: you need to think deeply about how you want to be published, now that publishing options include digital self-publishing. It’s you, the David, against the publishing Goliaths.

If you’re building a platform to establish and grow your brand and expand your audience, you are already aware of the power of interacting with readers. You are already aware of the power of digital communication and social networking.

You may also have an inkling of how tumultuous it is out there for traditional publishers for brick-and-mortar bookstores.

This shouldn’t be your worry. Your should work as hard as you can to build your brand, to finish your book and to ensure that you’ve got an audience for what you write. Your message is important.

But it’s also more important than ever to weigh all options, and to make sure that you protect yourself. Don’t sign away your rights. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied into accepting something that isn’t in your best interest.

But, and this is a big but: get back to writing. The new publishing options allow you to concentrate on the part that most actual writers prefer: writing. The whole publishing brouhaha is a distraction.

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One Response to “Authors Should Protect Themselves Against Goliath”

  1. Anonymous March 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    Love the David and Goliath perspective. That’s how I felt when looking for publishers. The best thing I did was to learn more about publishing. When I knew more about the rules of the game, I was able to choose a publisher that best fit my needs.

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