Any romance writer these days knows that the industry is forever changing, but some of these changes are not for the better. Another well-established and respected romance publisher has closed its doors: Samhain Publishing.
Here is the Publisher's Weekly link if you'd like the read the article yourself. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/content-and-e-books/article/69517-samhain-publishing-to-shut-down-operations.html Samhain's closing is a big blow to the industry as they've been a quality publisher with a steady reputation.
Last year if you'll remember, my own awesome publisher (Breathless Press) had to close its doors as well. Writers are losing too many great publishers, and I fear it's only going to continue.
Here is what we know:
1) Small press publishers appear to be dropping like flies as ebooks sales decline.
2) Amazon is opening bookstores which by all appearances will flourish if they open then slowly.
3) There are far too any authors flooding the market with "free" books in a desperate attempt to up their rankings and attract readers.
Let's take a look at each of these. Please remember this is my opinion and viewpoint. If yours differs, I invite you to comment as I'd like to hear your thoughts.
Small Presses disappearing: The smaller publishers have long been a writer's gateway to publication when the writer couldn't get an agent to get on with the big NY publishers. The small presses now are seeing such a decline in sales, thanks to a glut of books in the market, with the invention of self-publishing, that they don't appear able to compete.
There are some really great small presses out there with positive reputations and dependably paid royalties, but they are being drowned despite the excellent quality of ebooks they produce. Authors need these small presses to survive. Small presses provide competition to the bigger publishers, which is healthy for the industry as a whole. It is also beneficial to readers as far as the cost of books goes.
I'm aware of several small presses that are closed to submissions as of right now. I'm watching them carefully to see if it's temporary or not. Some appear to be winding down their operations. I'll let you know if we lose another one, but for now I won't name names.
Amazon bookstores: Amazon has done a smart thing. They are slowly opening bookstores because it appears that readers are returning to paperbacks and hardcover books. Why? My theory is that paperback and hardcovers receive such careful editing (due to cost of putting out a physical book) that they are therefore of better quality. We've all read those ebooks, mostly self-published though not all) that are put out so fast that spelling errors are so common that we stop reading after a few chapters. It's a waste of money.
Amazon publishes books, ranks books according to sales and generally is what authors go by to determine whether they are doing well, sales wise. I seriously doubt that when the bookstores open, they will carry anything but Amazon books. Will Barnes N' Noble bookstores be able to compete? Time will tell, but we all know that Borders Bookstores didn't fare so well in the end.
The effect of Free books: I believe authors are being crushed under a pile of free books. Why? Often times self-published authors offer their novel length book for free or $0.99 in an effort to up their ranking on and attract readers. Even though this is done for a limited time, it creates a Pavlov's dog effect that tells readers "a new book is coming out, it needs to be free before I will consider downloading it."
Free does not pay the bills; free does not help the industry grow; free does not advance society.
Authors! This is not what you want of your readers and it does not grow your readership because most people who download a free book never bother to read it. This is also a surefire way to receive bad reviews because a "free item" does not translate to something of good quality in our society.
Another effect of free books is the proliferation of pirate sites. I encourage readers to stay away from such sites that offer free books because those download often come with viruses, and malware that destroys devices. It's never worth it. Valuable writing time to lost to authors every day they spend time sending out notices to get their books off of these sites. These sites flourish when authors give readers an expectation that books should only be free.
Please understand that I believe that there are a lot of hard working self-published authors out there that produce quality ebooks. I just wish they valued their work enough to set a higher standard of price than free or $0.99 for a novel length book. $0.99 cent books are best with short stories, and maybe short novellas, not 250-400 page novels that if in print would be $18.
So, that's is my view and rant on what's going on in the publishing industry right now. I'm sure some will disagree and have other viewpoints. Leave a comment. I'm open to hearing others so long as there is no cursing. J
Authors, where do you think the industry is heading?
Readers, what do you want in the future?
Mary Corrales is a multi-published erotica/erotic romance author. She loves to combine genres and bring characters the love they deserve.