Is Publishing Dead?

Last night I had the chance to speak with an author who has published quite a bit more than I have, but who is more pessimistic than I am about the state of publishing today.  Lucky for me, I was with a few different authors, but most of them said the same thing, that publishing your work the traditional route has gotten more difficult, if not downright impossible.

Then why are there so many new books in the teen section at Barnes & Noble?  And why do I get great book deals day after day on Book Bub?  Can you explain why my local library has at least thirty to forty books in the New Book Section each month?

Is publishing dead?

Well, maybe the traditional route is dying.  But there are other ways, right?

Nicholas C. Rossis’ 9 Hot Trends in Publishing in 2017  suggests that most sales will come from eBooks.  He cites Amazon’s imprints as the way to go.  So it seems that Amazon continues to dominate the book selling market, even going as far to add brick and mortar stores.

Kallen Diggs also draws a bleak picture for traditional publishing in The Inevitable Death of Traditional Book Publishers .  He breaks down the numbers for how much an author would make if they sold 5000 copies, a very bleak picture indeed.  According to Diggs, authors can earn a 25% royalty for an epublished novel, versus a 10% for print.  Mmmm 25% vs. 10.  Mathematics does have that ability to clarify things.  Diggs also suggests that the argument that self-publishing is less credible is dying today.

For me, the bottom line is that there are ways to publish your stories, and I don’t believe that STORY is dying.  Not at all.  As a writer, we just need to go around the perceived road blocks, or better yet, think outside the box.  If our egos are chained to the idea of traditional publishing, then we might have a tough time.

The new global economy is not going away any time soon.  And it seems to thrive on populist ideology, like current politics in America.  So can you get published?  Sure.  Is publishing dead? No.  But it may be tied to your reader’s impression of you and how much they like the story.  Reviews may be proof of that.  The relationship between reader and writer may be more important now, even if you know it is superficial.  People are looking for that good feeling, the one that warms them and makes them feel special, appreciated, or validated.

Maybe we should act like  financial advisers and differentiate our assets,  some traditional publications, some e-publications, a few audio productions, and of course promo videos for Utube.

I don’t think publishing is dead.  If I did, I wouldn’t duct tape my ass to the chair and write with some regularity.  Let me know what you think!  Or share some tips in the comments.

Write on!



















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I write science fiction, fantasy, and horror while living in a small town in New Jersey with my DH, Munchkin, and two cats: Ripley and Hudson. My latest story can be found in SPACE AND TIME MAGAZINE Issue 129. A long, long time ago, I was a grunt at Tom Monteleone's Borderlands Bootcamp.

2 thoughts on “Is Publishing Dead?”

  1. It’s not a matter of pessimism or optimism as I see it. There are dozens of reasons why modern publishing is fighting an uphill battle to remain relevant. The trick is to find a way to break through an over-saturated, overstimulated, and overly cynical audience. It’s possible, certainly, but it’s also far more rare than it should be.


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