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AALBC .com Platinum Poster
Username: Urban_scribe

Post Number: 710
Registered: 05-2006

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Posted on Saturday, December 20, 2008 - 09:08 pm:   

Why do you say 2008 was the worst year in publishing history? On what basis are you making the comparision?

Gimme a minute to go digging and I'll get back to you with stats and sources.

I'm not sure there was ever a time when ANYONE could launch an independent press or bookstore and make money without effort. It was always hardwork.

Note the qualifier "unnecessary" in my original post (...without unnecessary effort simply because the book market was strong.) True, everything we seek to accomplish takes effort, but when times are hard, as they currently are, everything requires that extra oomph to get desirable results. Under "normal" circumstances, you've a bit more breathing room; don't need to work as hard to obtain desirable results. It's the whole survival of the fittest theory. Y'know there used to be short-necked giraffes and long-necked giraffes, then food became scarce and the short-necked giraffes eventually died out because they couldn't reach the leaves that were on branches high up in the trees. The long-necked giraffes had to work harder, put in "unnecessary effort" to obtain the same result - eating, but hey, they're still around today.

Statistically, the 60s-80s were the "hot" years for launching indie presses and indie bookstores. Very low startup costs, running your company out of the comfort our your home or leasing a storefront for an average of $3/square foot - even in major cities like NYC; self-distribution was the norm, so getting an appointment with chain bookstore buyers was a breeze, there was no stigma attached to self-pubbing as it is today, you didn't need the validation of the "industry" because you were the industry.

San Francisco was the place to be, though. San Fran KILLED NYC (and every place else) with the launch of small presses and indie bookstores during the 60s-80s. Most of those indie presses are now defunct and the indie bookstores have closed, but when they were booming, they were booming. Industry analysts reference the 60s-80s publishing boom to argue that the publishing industry has been in a downward spiral since the mid-90s, and what happened this year was inevitable - even without our present recession. In my view, their argument hinges on when publishing became a conglomerate rather than citizens expressing their constitutional freedom of speech through the written word, the industry as a whole went to the dogs, and that the self-pubber and indie presses are truly the backbone of publishing.

Gosh, I've collected some great articles on publishing this year. And I attended a wildly insightful 3-day conference in Moline, IL during the summer that covered everything from overseas printing to viral marketing. I felt like I was back in college, taking notes as fast as I could because so much info was coming at me all at once.

Lastly, I don't take issue with the article per se, good tidbits of info there; I just think that if you don't know how to effectively sell your book, it doesn't really matter if you know/understand the steps involved in self-pubbing. I believe knowing how to sell and knowing who you're selling to is the caveat to successfully marketing and promoting ANY product. For me, "the 25 things you need to know" didn't stress that point enough.

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