I was trying to figure out how I could introduce myself as the new managing editor at the Alliance of Independent Authors, but in a way that I haven’t already written elsewhere. Those who have followed my work as the former executive editor at Foreword Reviews know that I see indie authors as the true innovators in publishing, and I see it as a mission to make sure the voices of the marginalized are heard. I have even illustrated what’s wrong with the old gatekeepers by writing about how my grandfather’s life story, including how he escaped the Holocaust, did not contain enough sex for a mainstream publisher.
So, instead, I’m going to just boil it down to six words: indie publishing is a great story.
Not only that, but it’s a story that’s playing right now, and it’s changing not only the way people publish and read books, but it’s also bringing authors and readers closer together.
The Analogy of Newspaper Publishing
And it’s a story that I’ve seen played out before. I’ve been a journalist for about thirty-five years and I experienced, firsthand, the decline of newspapers. People shook their heads at me and gave me condescending chuckles when I started blogging in the early ’00s. I’m seeing the same dismissive attitude about self-publishing now among big publishers and the media that cover them.
I’ve seen what happens when you ignore the trends, or bury your heads in the sand.
I used to think that I would work for newspapers forever. It was my calling. I had ink in my blood.
Then I watched as newspapers refused to adapt or change. I see the same thing happening right now in indie publishing. The Big Five publishers are ignoring them at their peril. Eventually, like journalism, the publishers will be forced to change and adapt, or perish.
Journalism did not die with the decline of newspapers. It simply changed into something else.
Many of the publications that cover “publishing” are actually only writing about the giant corporations that are fighting for chunks of a shrinking traditional publishing universe.
The real “vanity press” are the big companies choosing a few stars to pump their resources into.
Meanwhile, the real publishing revolution happens elsewhere.
The Democratisation of Publishing
There’s something larger that the old publishing system is not set up to understand: the unwashed masses are here, and they’re writing books. It means many, many voices will be heard. There will be a lot of noise, too – voices you might not want to hear.
The old-school way of thinking is that there is somehow value lost if anybody can scribble on paper, bring it to a self-publishing vending machine, and call it a book. And from their point of view, they’re right.
Careers have been made based on a gate-keeping role that is now being dismantled.
Me? I’m not scared of this disappearance of gatekeepers.
And, as I discovered when I talked to experts in blockchain for authors, we can also do without the middlemen. And somebody right now is working in obscurity, coming up with the tools for the next revolution.
I feel like, as a journalist, I’m in the perfect place. I’m looking forward to doing what I do best: ask questions and help amplify voices that need to be heard. We’re planning new publications, new broadcasts, new initiatives, to help authors do just that. I can’t wait to tell you about them. Now, I’ll shut up and let you tell me your stories.Why @Howard_Lovy is excited to be ALLi's new Managing Editor - and what he brings to the role from the newspaper industry Click To Tweet
OTHER POSTS ABOUT CHANGE IN THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY
From ALLi’s Author Advice Center Archive