The Publishing Industry: Take II – The Work

Okay, I’m back to talking about how the industry is changing, and how it affects newish writers like me–guys who hold down day-jobs that take a bunch of time while working on their craft and struggling to “break in.”

Here’s my thing with the modern age of e-publishing–I love the ability to go work directly with my supposed audience. I love the concept of skipping the middle-man. I enjoy the sense of immediacy associated with this kind of conversation.

But, you know, I’ve just spent a bunch of this three-day weekend working with files and figuring out how to do clean epub books. And I’ve fiddled with graphic design to arrive at what I think is a semi-respectable cover–though my computer graphic skill could use some sharpening. And I’ve done some book design, and worked on the raw HTML of each story in my collection to ensure italics are properly done, and the special characters I’ve used are adequately represented. And I’ve done a little experimenting with how the final product actually appears in a couple readers. So I’m about ready, I think, to make my collection available on Of course, to put it up on Smashwords, I’ll now need to do the whole thing again, but now fiddle with the raw Word files (which technically may be a bit easier–I’ve done it before with a few short stories just so I could figure out how it’s done).

The bottom line I’m getting to is that this is one helluva lot of work.

Yes, it’s interesting. Yes, I could probably get away with doing a little less work. But the fact is still the fact. In order to get to the point where I’m only nearly ready to make my work available for the public has cost me nearly three days of writing time.

That’s a lot of time for a guy with a lot of things to do during a normal week.

I said in an earlier post that some of my thoughts with regard to the New World of publishing would sound like complaints. This is one of them. I don’t feel like I’m complaining here, though. I UNDERSTAND that this is something close to the wave of the future, and I UNDERSTAND I can’t stop it. I don’t even know if I would stop it if I could. I don’t think I want to stop it. But I am saying that this is a game changer for the part-time writer. It’s a serious business question that I’m facing today that I never faced ten or fifteen years ago. Back then the answer was: write, write, write. Now it’s a different equation.

So, what does this mean for the future of publishing? Or, maybe better asked, what does this mean for the future population of writers? Will we see a reduction of guys like me, who come from real jobs? Will we see more full-time writers who are now able to make a semi-real living off their work? I don’t know. But it feels like the future is currently slanting toward the kinds of writers who are willing to (and are better able to) put more work toward the non-writing side of their business.

Tangential Aside: Here’s an interesting fluff story on the reading decisions facing the world of readers.

Second Aside: The observant of you will note that my collection of short stories is now available in physical form from

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