Even on the consumer-review level of a site like Goodreads, the presumably smart aspect of a community inclusive both of the writers and their consumers, the readers, is new and evolving.
It’s springtime for Amazon, and there’s more than one evolving new slant on the massive retailer in play at the moment. Between the monkey chatter and the growls of slow-moving traditionalists, hear it? A skip in the usual drumbeats. A new syncopation in the publishing jungle.
In a week of sometimes rancorous debate about the actions of the U.S. Department of Justice and the responses from sued publishers, an initially zany-disaster mode has darkened into a more serious tone. It’s a time when no one seems able to just be quiet.
A fifth of surveyed Americans have read an ebook, in a new study just out from Pew Internet; one publisher joins the discussion of authors and agents; Pottermore is off to a bustling start; and still we look for ways to make craft, creativity, and business work together. On the Ether.
Of course the Pottermore setup isn’t replicable by other authors. But there are parallels with the case of Amanda Hocking. While she and her DIY “vampyre” shtick also stand as unique among writers, her example of self-publisher-invited-in-from-the-cold changes authorial thinking. It’s the same with Rowling: anything but your everyday success, and yet, she has changed things.
It’s a sadly traditional rift, the gulf between authors and the publishers who depend on them for the raw material of their business. But as with so many things in the industry, the digital dawn seems to be aggravating this strange estrangement. Insiders are starting to call into healthy question the scorn with which too many in the publishing core see their indispensable writers.
We like that word now, don’t we? Disruptive. Oh, yes, we do. Not for nothing did Gayle Feldman, covering the American Association of Publishers for TheBookseller quote one publishing executive saying, “things are going to get ugly” as the US Department of Justice circles with warnings of a collusion suit.