Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Welcome to 2015

It has been a standby of this blog to post New Years Resolutions for writers, and also to make publishing predictions for the upcoming year.

As I enter into my tenth year of blogging, I reserve the right to forgo standbys. But to carry on a tradition, albeit belatedly, here are the condensed versions.

Quickie resolution: Self-publish.

Quickie publishing prediction: The world will always need storytellers. That won't change. What will continue to change is how storytellers are discovered by readers.

I'll do a post on the rise of ebook subscription services very soon. But right now I'm in New York, eagerly anticipating a live debate with Scott Turow.

Mr. Turow has been fairly maligned on this blog for many years. I've never read his fiction, though all signs point to him being a good writer. I commend him for his pro bono legal work, specifically for his efforts to abolish the death penalty in Illinois. And for many reasons, I believe his term as president of the Authors Guild was harmful, and that he continues to harm authors by using his platform to misinform.

On January 15th, at the Kaufman Center on 67th Street, I'll be debating Turow, and former New Republic editor Franklin Foer, on the topic of "Amazon is the Reader's Friend". On my team is the executive editor of Vox, Mathew Yglesias. You can guess the side we're taking.

This event is brought to you by Intelligence Squared. Tickets may still be available. If you're in the Big Apple, stop by and watch the sparks fly.

Over the last decade, the tone of A Newbie's Guide to Publishing has changed as I've changed. I entered this business naive, earnest, with a fierce work ethic and a belief that publishers and writers were business partners. As the industry repeatedly disabused me of that notion, I began to evangelize the preferable alternative of self-publishing.

Along the way I've made a few bucks, helped convert a few writers to my way of thinking, and pissed off some people. For many years now, I've felt that spreading awareness of the advantages of self-publishing isn't enough; I also feel it has been necessary to openly ridicule the status quo for its continued insistence that an archaic, wasteful, broken business model is preferable to the revolution currently taking place.

The media gives a great deal of attention to the old guards of legacy publishing, compared to the upstarts who are trying to show that what was once a closed system is now open to anyone. This blog has been my modest efforts to balance that one-sided coverage by attacking old school pundits who spout nonsense.

It is rare when one of those pundits responds to one of my fisks. Which is why I'm making a rare public appearance. Back in 2009, it was all but impossible to get the media to even acknowledge that there was a viable alternative to legacy publishing. Six years later, a loud-mouthed blogger gets invited to debate the former AG prez. We've come a long way.

I'm assuming the video feed will be live. I also assume there with be a Twitter hashtag with live updates. As I get those links, I'll post them here.

If anyone has anything they'd like to ask Scott, Franklin, or Matt, post them in the comments and I'll do my best to squeeze it in.

The debate is over. I blogged about it here: