Every End Has a Beginning

If you never read the Garrison Keillor piece in the New York Times on the death of publishing, you’re missing out. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/27/opinion/27iht-edkeillor.html

Garrison hosts Minnesota Public Radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” and is very familiar with writing. He’s a humorist, satirist, musician, and most familiar to me, a writer, so he has some knowledge on how difficult the world of publishing is to navigate. Surely this can’t be true, can it, and if it is, what does that mean for you and me?

14 million authors?
$1.75 annually?
Eight of your true fans will be family members?

This “future” sounds particularly bleak, but brutally honest.

Does it scare you?

I can’t say I completely agree with Keillor, but I see his point.

My take on the subject?

Publishing isn’t dead, it’s evolving. Those who don’t know what it’s evolving into are having a difficult time, and they are second-guessing the decision-making. I, for one, have always believed if you want to achieve success, you do what successful people are doing.

With that said, I doubt the Meyers, Palahniuks, Gaimans, McCormacks and Turows of the world are losing sleep over Garrison’s piece, so neither will I. Those guys will never be up at night sweating about the state of media.

There is no “good news” in his Op-Ed, and that’s the great disconnect for me. I cannot allow myself to believe the future of publishing is some apocalyptic nightmare. I see the future as a positive environment for new artists and the Internet as our vehicle. If publishing is dead, there will be a new world, and I for one, want to be driving the car going there.

There are a lot of bloggers/writers out there, and they are not all significant. Those that are, always will be and those that are not will find their audience and propel themselves forward. In the same way that the music industry has become consumer-driven and artists can now directly sustain themselves with an income, perhaps the next natural step is publishing. While the market may become over-saturated, the filtration will remain just as prevalent and powerful as we continue to receive only the data we want. People can recommend things in fifteen seconds using their phones and laptops and iPads and even in the big scary world without publishing companies, it can still be you. Or me.

If we are alive to watch the publishing model dinosaur perish, I hope it takes with it the predatory and dog-eat-dog ideologies.

If this is the end, I can’t wait to plant my flag on the new world.


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