Monday, July 26, 2010
Not Wanting to Understand
You've done it again with this week's newsletter editorial - summed up a topic, and offered a very intelligent solution to a problem that is giving many writers, and publishers, sleepless nights. I attended a panel discussion the other day that brought together a print book publisher, an agent, an author and a lit mag editor, and they left everyone in the room - except me - with a heavy feeling of doom and gloom. I've been naturally optimistic when it comes to talking about e-books and change in the biz of writing and publishing, so was very pleased to read your editorial confirming what I've been trying to get across to all of these conference attendees. Will you be posting this editorial to your blog? I would like to point everyone in your direction so they may read it for themselves.=====
Not Wanting to Understand
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
When someone's career depends upon publishing, and that publishing has been in the form of printed books, then electronic publishing becomes scary. Rather than endure a shift in the paradigm, he fights change. After all, when one's income has come from one particular direction for a while, and that direction has been comfortable and financially rewarding, trying something new is unsettling.
Technology via computers has taken progress and shot it full of crack. In other words, change is not only fast, but it is accelerating before we firmly grasp the previous change. We understand 3G phones only to see 4G ones advertised. Some of us, however, still use a flip phone that does little more than make calls and take a picture or two. Why try the new technology when the old technology works just fine?
We can stall change for a while. Ebooks tried multiple times to make their mark in the world only to fail miserably. Then it took iPhones and Kindles to springboard ebooks to their rightful place. Now everyone wants to create ebooks, heck, even aps for their phones for those ebooks.
And one day most people will have to accept electronic publishing. They'll have to download a program to computer, buy an e-reader or learn to read on their phone. And those authors (and publishers) who have stalled for years to embrace electronic reading, will face the music and deal with the change. Those who initially embraced that change, made a mint leading the tidal wave that is electronic technology.
Dare to step off the rutted path. I'm not telling you to be a sheep and do what everyone else does. I'm saying don't wait until everyone else is doing it, has removed the risk, has made it common, to endeavor to improve your career. I can't tell you how many people have said to me:
1. Do I have to have a website? I'm not electronically gifted.
2. I find social networking a complete waste of time.
3. I prefer a hard book in my hands, so I won't do ebooks.
4. I just want to write and let someone else handle the technical aspects of marketing and publishing.
In reality, they are waiting until they reach the crossroad - the place where they have to decide to accept technology in order to keep writing . . . or quit writing.
We are a population that resists the status quo. But it's those who understand change never stops who make the most of their writing careers.