If there was ever any doubt about recent changes in attitudes towards self publishers, now we find collectives of literary brahmins who formerly wanted very little to do with them, courting these erstwhile untouchables. Beginning with (Holy Cow!) literary agents. If in previous times the whole publishing establishment considered unknown authors little more than obstructions in the pipeline, today we are seeing fairs and conferences, websites and blogs aimed at the online self-publishing market. They will advise you, guide you, hold your hand, edit you, proofread you, market you, provide you with art work and shine your shoes. All for a price, mind you.
A friend from California has just sent along a copy of a press release for an event called the All About Ebooks Symposium, to take place in November in San Francisco. Let’s take a look at the first few paragraphs:
SAN FRANCISCO (September 27)–With the explosion of opportunities available for publishing a book, now is the best time ever to be a writer. On Friday, November 12th, leaders in the digital publishing revolution will join together at the Hilton Hotel-Financial District at the intersection of North Beach and Chinatown in San Francisco, for a full day of insight and education–the All About eBooks Symposium…
‘Two years ago eBooks were considered a tiny afterthought by the publishing industry, but no one considers them insignificant any longer. Some large publishers estimate that more than half their revenue in 5 years or less will be coming from eBooks,’ said Laurie McLean, Dean of the new San Francisco Writers University (SFWritersU), a spinoff of the San Francisco Writers’ Conference, and sponsor of this symposium.
‘This event is great for authors, publishers, literary agents, publicists, librarians, booksellers…’ McLean said. (My emphasis)
So suddenly “publishers, literary agents, publicists… and booksellers” are taking a vivid interest in what little guys are writing and how they’re publishing it. Quite touching, actually. Isn’t it an ironic coincidence that this interest should come at a time when many (most?) self publishers no longer need this Helpful Army of Ps, LAs, Ps, Ls, & Bs. Could it be that members of the Helpful Army have noticed that they’re in danger of becoming redundant in the not-too-distant future?
In any case, it will be interesting to see what the Helpful Army says it has to offer online ebook publishers. Stay tuned. This is the beginning of an exciting publishing roller-coaster ride with a twist: The roller coaster’s going backwards.
P.S. The San Francisco Writers’ Conference co-founders/co-directors are Elizabeth Pomada and Michael Larsen of the Michael Larsen-Elizabeth Pomada Literary Agency.