As more conferences draw closer, I keep hearing the same question over and over. And I’ve done my best to address it as have many others, but still…here we go again.
Remember the small round 8 ball that answered your questions when you were about 10 years old? You could ask anything, and up came an answer. Fun toy, silly! But folks still have questions and no solid answers.
“What’s going on the industry? So and so shut down their fiction line. This and that editor have been let go. Have moved on. Have simply had enough. What on earth is happening?”
If I had a crystal ball and believed in that nonsense, I would tell you. But I don’t, and anyone who tells you they know what is going to happen is playing on emotions.
Fifteen or so years ago, I was at a conference with the head of one of the largest secular publishers in the world. She was smart, savvy, forward looking, but she said this, “No one will ever completely stop reading a paper book. This new trend with books on the computer (no Kindles…Nooks, yet) is just that, a trend. It won’t last, or if it does, it will NEVER take the place of print books. Not even close.”
Now, I paraphrased most of that, but I remember distinctly that she was pooh-poohing the idea of ebooks, and I think I got her words nearly spot on because it impressed me so much. Goodness. There wasn’t even the term ebook yet. Anyway, she was the head of this huge publisher, knew her business, knew the industry: its trends, its direction, and still, she had no idea what was about to explode on the scene. She was responsible for being on top of what was happening in the industry…and…she didn’t have a clue.
She is no longer with that publisher. In fact, it was just a couple years before she stepped down…or was removed. I never asked. I did talk with her shortly after that but never discussed what had happened. I have a niggling feeling. She didn’t see it coming and in her position, she should have. But like all of us, no one can say for sure where the industry is headed. No one has that crystal ball (thank goodness) and no one can predict.
So, don’t panic if you hear this or that from an industry “insider” who knows what will happen in the next year or two. It is all speculation, and if all speculation were fact, all financial investors would be billionaires.
Just sit back, relax, and ride the wave!
No one knows for sure!