I've just received my new edition of 'The Author' magazine (the journal of the Society of Authors), and noted with some amusement that they're planning a discussion, after their AGM in September, on the subject of 'the best of times/the worst of times?'
Now, as it happens I'm giving a talk at my local village library (Galleywood in Essex, if anyone is down my way!) on Saturday 30th, and I'd planned to talk about the state of publishing these days (as I see it!), how much difference the e-book revolution has made to everyone, and where we might be going from here. And I might just pinch that title for my talk!
I think it really sums up where we are today - in a state of flux. Some might say things have never been worse for authors; it's certainly never been harder to get a new publishing contract, with editors seemingly terrified of taking on anything, or anyone new, and agents just as wary. Unless you're already a best-seller (or a celebrity) it's also never been harder to make much money from writing. The days of big advances are long gone. And as for short stories, the markets have shrunk to almost non-existent and the odds of having a story accepted are diminishing all the time.
But is it all gloom and doom? As one of the many authors who have experimented with self-publishing on Amazon for Kindle, I do feel that this option has at least given us back some kind of control, in a world where we never had much before. Regardless of whether we earn very much from our sales, at least we can set our own price, choose our own cover image, publish when we're ready without waiting months or years for replies from agents/editors and stoically bearing the inevitable rejections.
Of course, I loved the kudos of being traditionally published, and despite everything this would still be my preference again. But meanwhile, I and many others are enjoying the freedom of having things our own way for a change! And publishers are waking up to the need for e-book-first lines, and the need to price competitively.
I don't know whether these times will turn out to be the best or the worst, but I do think they're exciting. And although I can't promise my talk at Galleywood library will be as exciting as the discussions at the Society of Authors' event, please do come along if you're anywhere in the Chelmsford area on Saturday 30th at 11am!
Meanwhile I've just been interviewed for the 'This Writer's Life' blog - pop over and learn a few of my secrets!
Oh - and I did write the 'Something Old, Something New' story eventually - and it's been submitted to W.Weekly. Fingers crossed. I haven't submitted anything there for a while, but I DO have a story coming out in their next 'Woman's Weekly Fiction Special' on 3 July.
Happy writing - and let me know what you think ... are these the best of times or the worst for writers?