Longtime client, Sirena Gibson-Ross, wrote me recently regarding her experiences and opinions related to the current state of the publishing industry. She titled her piece “Publishing Darwinism,” and it’s my contention that her thoughts could not be more accurate or prophetic:
She says, “I have a suggestion to up your sales by making short videos about writing, top-five mistakes, editing hacks, etc. Throw in some humor and put it up on YouTube. This is the snake oil, P.T. Barnum’s future, as it seems that publishers only want to put wind behind your sales if you are already moving pretty swiftly. I think we have to be on top of a multitude of mediums to get results.
“Ms. Gibson continues, “I am also thinking contests are a way of getting attention. With the Big 5 engaging in some sketchy practices, partnering with vanity publishers and making digital rights grabs, along with the ‘you’re on your own’ attitude regarding marketing, it seems the only reason to go with the Big 5 is if you do not have a marketing strategy (big mistake) or you are still of the common opinion that self publishing is a sign of failure. If the only reason to keep submitting to the giants is to feel ‘legitimatized,’ it takes on a whole nuther level of vanity publishing.”
Yes, Sirena, this is Darwinism at a subtle yet poignant level. How very sad, and something I had never considered until you pointed out this fallacy.