The Writer's Legal Companion

By Brad Bunnin; Peter Beren | Go to book overview
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Computer technology has changed almost the entire publishing industry. Bookstores now have computers to track their inventory, send electronic orders, and compile customer mailing lists. Publishers market and even sell their books over computer networks. Books can be produced in different formats on demand. Perhaps the most dramatic changes are the new media available to both publishers and authors, including multimedia and online services. To keep abreast of these changes, you would do well to subscribe to Publishers Weekly and to discuss the industry in transition with your editor. Taking note of the changing climate will increase your effectiveness in helping your book achieve the publishing outcome it deserves.


We've conveyed some of the realities of publishing as a business and how an author may participate in the publishing process. Difficult and complex, the book business has at its heart, in all of its aspects from bookseller to author to publisher, the simple love of books. When this reality is obscured by cold economic facts or by a mere lack of understanding of the other side's point of view, publishing relationships can become adversarial. You should enter a publishing relationship with the utmost faith and optimism, of course, but your experience may be negative if your expectations run much higher than the attainable realities.

In the words of one author:

In some respects, having a book published is like having a baby, but without the experience of delivery. That is, it is as much a part of you as a child, both physically and emotionally, but someone else delivers it, and you never seem to be able to pinpoint exactly when the delivery occurred. Then, all of a sudden, the process of presenting your child to the world is upon you. As the proud and still confused parent, you barge forward, convinced that your child will change or at least improve the world, only to find that the world (fortunately, with exceptions) doesn't really give a damn, and some of those who see fit to speak to you politely tell you that your child is a worthless nobody.

If I let myself get discouraged by every instance of rejection or criticism, or every sign of indifference, I might have given up on my book long before I hit a few successful responses. And if I relied exclusively upon my publisher for the success of the book, I would have been further discouraged.


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