Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Curious About King

There has been much and more written lately about the supposed "war" between Traditional and Indie writers.  I'm not going to expound on that right now, except to say that I think either is a fine choice.  I love self publishing and I'm sure that I will continue to do so as long as it is a viable way to reach readers and make money.  But if a Trad deal fell into my lap, I can't say that I'd turn my nose up at it.

Like many others, I'm of the opinion that it wouldn't hurt to dabble in both arenas.  There is no "war", no competition--except in the minds of those that resent the other side.

Crap!  I said I wasn't going to expound.  *shrugs*  Oh, well.

It's a great time to be a writer.  We have more choices than ever to get our stories out there.  The power is shifting back to where it belongs:  into the hands of those that read stories and those that create stories.

There are some on the indie side of the coin that shake their heads and wag their fingers at Trad writers that are supporting their publishers.  They think they are obtuse, archaic, brainwashed and shortsighted.

Am I one of those people?  Sometimes, but not always.  Just like most of you, I'm complex and my views shift depending on the information I've assimilated.  Most days, though, I understand why Trad writers stay.  It's comfortable.  It's safe.  Publishers are the ones that brought them into the light, made them their money.  And right now print books are still outselling ebooks.  I stress the "right now" part.  I understand.  It seems treacherous to turn your back on people you were seeking approval from.

What I don't understand is why more Trad writers aren't at least testing the self publishing waters.  That's what seems shortsighted to me.  Don't burn your bridges.  Don't bite the hand that feeds you.  But why not stretch your legs and wander outside your own yard?  There is a whole big world out there.

Take for instance Stephen King's decision to publish his latest book, Joyland, as a print version only.

Mr. King has been a revolutionary force in writing.  He has talked candidly about the biases and snobbery of the writing world (mostly literary vs genre writers).  He has expanded into movies, mini-series, and experimented with almost every way to tell a story.  In 2000, way before the ebook explosion, he stepped out and released Riding the Bullet in an electronic format.

So, now he as decided to cut off a whole section of readers.  I know he says it's due to his love of paper books, but I don't quite buy that.

I'm not saying Mr. King should shuck off his Traditional Publishing cloak and put on the mantle of the self publisher, but I'm a bit surprised he hasn't at least dipped his toes in the water.  If any writer has the power to go it alone--even if it's just one book--he does.  His name alone sells millions of books.  He has the connections in the industry.  He can definitely afford the upfront cost of producing a quality book.

So why not try?

It may be that if King tries and succeeds at publishing his own work that it would encourage other Trad writers to follow and would speed the collapse and restructuring (not death) of the Traditional world.  I don't know, but I think that stepping over all of the readers that prefer digital books is an unwise decision on King's part.

Joe Konrath addressed this very topic on his blog.  Konrath predicts that Joyland will be one of the most pirated books.  He also showcased what he believes will be the next big thing . . . animated ebook covers.  I think he may just be right.

So, what do you think?  Is Stephen King crazy?  Out of date?  On the right path?  An indestructible futuristic writing cyborg sent back in time to depress me about my own writing?

Let me know what you think.


James Garcia Jr. said...

Yes, I think it's definately that last one, but it won't work! The future is coming!! Too funny!
I heard that he was doing that. You're absolutely right, it does seem strangely curious that such a cutting edge guy would go that route. Hmm? Very curious indeed.


Gabriel Beyers said...

It's just a shame. He could still make his money and I wouldn't have to shell out $25 to read the book.

Oh, well. King has always gone his own way.

Thanks for commenting.