Web Lit: Can Literature Flourish Outside the Publishing Establishment?
Agents, editors, publishers, reviewers, distributors, best-seller lists, and bookstore buyers --- time was the creative writer had no choice but to negotiate this formidable gauntlet to deliver her work to readers. But no more...
It's no secret. Like very other information-based industry, the traditional relationships and business models of book publishing have been severely disrupted by internet technology. Old models are failing. New models are evolving. Everything is up for grabs.
And it's no secret that many creative writers are beginning to wonder if they need the the traditional publishing houses at all.
Witness: A writer today can publish her novel through Createspace for a few hundred dollars and distribute it through Amazon and other major book outlets at no additional cost.
Witness: e-book sales are going through the roof. A writer can publish his e-book on the net and pocket pure profit.
Witness: A poet, short-story writer, or novelist can publish his work on the web directly and ever more are doing just that.
All this is an old story.
But two critical elements seem to be missing from the self-publishing/e-book/web lit publishing models:
1) How do readers filter through the crude, untutored works of less-talented writers to find the literary gems?
2) How does the writer generate income from his/her work?
Given the vitality of both writer-direct-to-reader publishing models, I have no doubt that creative solutions will arise to both problems.
Much of my noodle time now focuses on just these two questions.