Will it be a happy new year for writers?

By Midge Raymond,

  Filed under: News, On Publishing, On Writing

Here we are in 2010, and with that comes more predictions about the publishing industry.

The IdeaLogical Blog‘s Mike Shatzkin has posted twelve predictions for publishing this year, much related to digital content as well as a couple interesting predictions about authors and retail.

The Huffington Post offers 10 more predictions, and these too focus on e-books as well as on the publishing houses and what’s likely in store for editors as well as authors in the new year and beyond. A few takeaways: six-figure advances will likely be a thing of the past; publishers will take on fewer titles; demographics will favor books for young adults.

Richard Curtis offers a few predictions on GalleyCat, among them that e-book enthusiasts will return to print books and that at least one major publishing house will be acquired by a retailer.

Robert Gray offers Publishing Trends of Futures Past, a look at predictions and insights from 1850 (when Harper’s quoted the North British Review likening publishers to “a kind of moral vampire, sucking the best blood of genius, and destroying others to support themselves”) to 1985 (bringing another Harper’s piece, titled “Will the Book Survive?”).

And this CNN article notes that Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, simultaneously released in hardcover as well as in e-format, “offered a peek at the future of bookselling”; in other words, it’s a cautionary tale about digital piracy. The challenges mostly surround the mega-bestselling authors, the ones who need to worry about their books being pirated on a large scale. Some writers, such as J. K. Rowling, simply avoid digital format — but few emerging writers will be able to have this luxury.

In fact, for emerging writers, times are going to be tougher than ever (even in good times, the writer’s life has never been for the faint of heart). But persistence is everything: The writers who end up with book contracts are going to be the ones who don’t give up. They’re also going to be the ones who, if need be, take matters into their own hands and self-publish — in a smart way: good editing, good design, good marketing.

So if your New Year’s resolutions include writing, keep this in mind: 1) make sure your resolutions are things you can actually control (i.e., not “publish my novel with major publisher” but “submit my novel to agents”), and 2) to be open-minded about the myriad possibilities for emerging writers in a time when just about everything about publishing is up in the air.


  Comments: 2

  1. You’re so right, Truman. And you’re the type of writer who will make the best of all the innovation that’s going on!

  2. Oh, sure, scare me NOW, just when I’ve decided to take writing more seriously! 🙂 Well, I look at it this way: I don’t know what it’s like to be a writer in today’s industry (since I am, after all, not published), so I have only the current climate to look forward to.