Interesting piece over at FutureBook yesterday, written by a publisher who makes quite the statement:
As of this summer, unless an author will have a blog, twitter account and fully fledged eCommerce site, we won’t be considering their manuscript.
Sounds harsh, but the author does go on to say that they will help people out with setting up their blogs and social media accounts. What they really want is a guarantee from all new authors that they will happily provide content and engage with the interweb.
That's not everyone's cup of tea by a long shot, but it's certainly doable. I mean, there's a recession on, right? We all need to muck in and do our bit. Everything is learnable.
Check out the comments on that article too. It seems to have attracted some naysayers, who question the role of publishers (and agents) at all if authors are now expected to do all of their own marketing.
I can understand the sentiment, but it's not that simple. It does, however, highlight a major problem publishers are currently facing. It seems to me that they are increasingly disconnected from the average scribbler. They need to start reminding us why they're still the best option. Market themselves, for a while.
Because I still believe that they are the best option. My novel means the world to me and I want to work with a fantastic editor to make it as good as it can possibly be. I want to be interviewed by Peter Florence at Hay. I want to be reviewed by Mark Lawson on Front Row. I would have happily appeared on Parkinson.
You see, my writing is not some elaborate hobby or an attempt to make a few quid, it's what I hope will become a career. It's my contribution to the literary canon, if you like. All of which makes me sound like a massive ponce, but I'm fine with that.
To clarify, as I always feel I have to, that's not me pouring scorn on those writers who choose to self-publish. It's just how I feel about my own writing at this moment in time.