A Poor Metaphor

So, this article has been making the rounds:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jan/30/self-e-publishing-bubble-ewan-morrison

In it, Ewan Morrison tries to draw a parallel between E-publishing and economic bubbles (housing bubble, dot.com bubble, tulip bubble, etc). It doesn’t quite work. The obvious reason being that no-one is underwriting the thing, and all that stands to be lost is an author’s time. Morrison tries to clarify later that an investment in time can be almost equal to a monetary investment, which we’ve all heard. Still though, I don’t think the idea really has legs.

If you squint, you can kind of see where he’s coming from. It’s the thought that all the excitement now, from J.A. Konrath down to someone with a book mouldering in a drawer for five years, is creating an overwhelming response, a kind of ‘Yukon Rush’ for places like Amazon, Smashwords, etc. Eventually, as people start to see that not EVERYONE will hit it big, and not all the stories are any good to read, the excitement will die down, or Amazon will become more draconian, or alien invaders will render the whole thing moot.

Or somesuch.

The article is of interest. But weirdly, the real action is going on below, in the comments. Usually that’s rule #1 of The Internet; don’t read the comments. However, this time it turned out to be rather interesting, just for the perspectives on all those that are suddenly afforded a voice and a means of publication without the rigamarole of the traditional method. Some of them are doing quite well, and some of them aren’t. The naysayers have plenty to comment on in return, of course. The usual lines on why trad publishing is king, gatekeepers are utterly necessary, etc. But I cannot help but be struck by how some of these prospective authors, who are in the very same boat I am in, all have the same questions and comments that until now, we could not really share.

The answers to these questions are rather surprising to my cynical old heart.

Everyone has a dream. Some of us write because we can’t let that dream wither. For years now we’ve been told by others that writing for your dreams is silly. This is about business, start acting like it.

I’m personally not sure, but that may not be entirely true anymore.

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