I cannot believe the changes I have seen in the publishing industry in the last fifteen years since I have started really paying attention. From where publishing was to where it is today, I definitely think that it has changed for the better. It is an exciting time to be a writer at this pivotal junction in publishing history.
Granted it is still difficult to get published in the traditional way–that unfortunately has not changed. What has changed is the writer’s accessibility to the industry itself.
- When I started writing as a teenager – many moons ago – I used an electric Smith-Corona typewriter. And a lot of white-out. And a lot of paper. Now the laptop does the heavy lifting. Made a mistake? No problem, just hit the “delete” key. Need to replace a word in the text? Fine. Use the “find and replace” under your “edit” menu on your Word document.
- Most agents and publishers are paperless these days too. Everything is done by email. So your manuscript arrives instantly at an agent’s office. No more spending tons of money on postage or special envelopes. SASE? What’s that?
- Social media. Nothing gets the word out faster than the internet. Now writers have more control over their own PR using Facebook, Twitter and blogging. Whoever heard of these things fifteen years ago?
- The Kindle. If all the other reasons are baby steps, this one thing was a giant leap for mankind. It revolutionized the publishing industry in the same way that the printing press changed the world all those years ago. Because of it, even the way we read- with a physical book in our hands has changed. E-publishing is accessible to all writers. Anyone can publish a book today.
- Again, the internet. The writer’s world is now global. You are not limited to the writing group at your local library. You can live in an igloo in the back of beyond and as long as you have an internet connection, you can belong to any writer’s group or forum anywhere in the world.
Whether you think all of this is good or bad, the internet has had a profound effect on just about everything. Aren’t we lucky to be front and center while history is being made?