Like it or not, we are in the midst of a publishing revolution which is challenging the traditional way books go to market. It didn't start yesterday, or last month, or even last year but, if you've been following POD Technology, you know it's been gaining strength for some time now. When you look out over the walls of the large publishing houses you will see small encampments huddled together. These are the Independent Publishers who have grasped the sword of Technology and hoisted the Flag of Change. They are armed with smaller print runs, lower inventories and author-shared marketing costs. Sheltered beneath their imprints are a new generation of writers, who now stand before those mighty walls, waving their right to be heard. Among them are the Emerson’s and the Thoreau’s of our age, whose writings have been ignored by those behind the granite walls, who instead venture forth, supported by an Independent Publisher, to harvest a following among the masses who welcome their contribution.
As in any revolution there will be triumphs and casualties. There will be writers whose abilities will not see them past the first engagement. Their words, though powerful in their own right, will amass only a small following and do little more than swell the ranks. Their efforts will be noted and admired, but it will only secure a footing for another’s more powerful words to storm past. And then there are writers whose work will tear at the very foundations of the walls before them. With a firm grip on the prose that drove them to the wall they will tweet, they will twitter, and they will blog their way up over the parapets and finally storm the keep.
Their fortitude is to be admired. They were turned away from more bookstores than they were welcomed into, but they never gave up. They didn’t have a multi-million dollar marketing budget, but they found affordable marketing tools through technology. Without a celebrity endorsement, or when major reviewers turned their heads, they leveraged the praise of lesser-known reviewers where they could. In the face of insurmountable odds, they fought tirelessly to market their book and have found acceptance from an enthusiastic public. This success was achieved by an unyielding belief in their work and because a small Independent Publisher gave them the opportunity to become an author and stand beside those who inspired them.
And let’s look at those who have inspired them. We forget that many of the first books by today’s bestselling authors were met with a lukewarm reception years ago- those days prior to the Internet and the viral effect of instant global communications and prior to POD technology. Publishers had much more at risk then, but not so much now. It’s so easy today to get caught up in the media frenzy created by a publisher around a new book that we don’t realize we are being told what is a bestseller and what isn’t. I believe this is where the POD Revolution will have its greatest impact. Publishers, large and small, utilizing POD Technologies have the opportunity to offer a greater sampling of new authors with a lesser risk. This affords the reader a greater assortment of authors in their genre to choose from and at a more competitive price. Mid-listers may squawk over the added competition, but a good writer has no competition.
One cautionary statement should be made here. The proper respect should always be shown the giants of the industry for their struggle through the years to establish and maintain a standard of excellence in editing. An Independent Publisher has a duty to stand vigil over this standard. No matter how inexpensive the book, the public will not tolerate poor grammar or books riddled with spelling errors. This can be sited as the only chink in the Independent Publishers armor, and one that can turn the tide of the Revolution if ignored.
POD Technology is here to stay and has finally established its credibility in the market. Machines capable of outputting any trade paperback in minutes stand at the ready, waiting to be called into action. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that somewhere, in a research facility deep underground, engineers are devising a method for POD Hardbacks. Viva, la Revolution! With that said, you can rest assured the battle wages on, and to the readers go the spoils.