I Don’t Care! I Really, Really Don’t…

From Dean Wesley Smith:

I constantly get letters from people talking about traditional publishing in one fashion or another, assuming, I suppose, that I still care about the buggy-whip factories of publishing. And sometimes, like a few days ago, I post about something going on in traditional publishing that just makes me laugh.I do posts like that to entertain myself because I had to live in that traditional publishing world for decades. I can make snorting noises at it now if I want.

I do have interest when copyright issues are being hammered out in court by a traditional publisher, or a trademark issues. But past that legal interest, or a watching-the-car-wreck enjoyment, I flat don’t care one bit about traditional publishing.

I do care that so many beginning writers spend their dreams that way, but as the old saying goes, you can lead a writer to knowledge but you can’t get them to think.

So I honestly wish the big five would collapse even faster to save writers from themselves. But past that, I just don’t care.. This is almost 2023 and it is not my issue some writers and a lot of other pundits in publishing want to stay anchored in 1990.

The big industry of publishing has so gone past the old methods of traditional publishers, it is amazing. And so many writers in traditional come to me about not making any money anymore, or not being able to “sell” a book to a publisher, when there are thousands and thousands of writers making fantastic money indie publishing their own work and having total control of it.

Link to the rest at Dean Wesley Smith

8 thoughts on “I Don’t Care! I Really, Really Don’t…”

  1. The thing is, outside of commercial genre fiction and a few narrow slices of nonfiction such as memoirs (the most fiction-like of nonfiction), traditional (though not necessarily big five) publishing is still where it is at. One of my critiques of the self-publishing commentariat is that they talk as if “book” can only mean a commercial genre fiction book. This at best is sloppy use of language–not a great look in a writer. At worst it suggests they read only commercial genre fiction and can’t imagine anything beyond their personal experience–an even worse look in a writer.

    • Richard, it should surprise no one that I agree… or that I would go farther.

      There is no “publishing industry.” There are 13 distinct industries based upon the distribution of textual material for profit (I’m omitting my usual more-colorful phrase). Each of those 13 industries has fundamentally independent characteristics. Claiming that there’s one “publishing industry” is similar to claiming that there’s one “wheeled-vehicle industry” — a grouping in which most people can’t even name the three most-profitable players. (Hint: None of them is “Detroit.” None of them has been “Detroit” since the mid-1950s.)

      People, and writers, are blinded by the “ink on paper with a cover and binding” similarity of the packaging into believing that something this is ultimately based on the content being squeezed into that packaging is also similar. As the business model of PG’s former employer demonstrates: Not so much.

      Which is not to say that none of the other 12 industries can learn valuable lessons from the creative destruction/evolutionary changes being wrought by “indie category fiction.” Even those Japanese makers of little beep-beep cars now build the Toyota Tundra… although, conversely, Detroit never did learn to make a good little beep-beep small-family basic-transportation vehicle, and it continues to inhibit that part of the “wheel industry.” There’s a lesson there for commercial publishing and its mismanagement of small-audience works that cross traditional, self-imposed boundaries (albeit one that commercial publishing has tried desperately not to learn for the past half-century or so). Exhibit A: Thomas Pynchon.

      • Without checking I would think it’s Toyota and Mitsubishi, but as for the third place, I could only guess, or go search (and it’s Toyota, Volkswagon group, and Hyundai / Kia; and poor old Mitsubushi is number 20: that’ll learn me).

        • Not sure about number three but tops is by far CATERPILLAR. That’s easy.
          Second, I’d guess KOMATSU.
          Third might be VOLVO. HITACHI. Or Mitsubishi. Don’t think any of the Koreans are that big yet.

          Caterpillar has for years been selling enormous autonomous mining vehicles.

          As to the OP, the core problem is the pretense of the media that only the BPHs matter in publishing, because the rest doesn’t really advertise. No need to go much further than the S&S sale trial hinging on the interests of a dozen legacy authors and friends of the “editor” over the interests of the actual workers and midlisters. The pretense keeps dreamers pining for validation via contract to their own detriment.

          Yes, it is just a segment and in the business world a tiny one but the number of people it touches and its visibility outshines the rest. The rest are, like Caterpillar, happy to rake in the cash providing necessary goods and services with minimal advertising. Those that need them know who they are.

          • Ashley, I said “wheeled vehicle” precisely because “automobile” is only a subset, even of “thingies on teh road” (how ’bout all them Mack trucks? buses? motorcycles? all of which can be and often are significantly more profitable, either per-item or gross, than automobiles). And “thingies on teh road” is far from all “wheeled vehicles”; consider the forklift…

            Felix is closer on this, but one must untangle things to find out that #2 is the combined “wheeled vehicle” divisions of a Franco-Swiss arms manufacturer. And that’s before futilely considering the “semiprivatized-state-economy” behemoths in China and India, because their accounting is even less transparent than a commercial publisher’s.

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