Next week, I promise, I will get back to the "fun" stuff about manuscripts, crime fiction, things I've read and liked, things that should never have been published in the first place, etc. For now though, I have one more question, as a follow-up to last week's question.
This time I would love to hear not only from writers but also from readers, whether casual or voracious, hobby-based or professional (librarians). I feel as though the future of our industry lies in having these conversations - We've been insular for too long. Looking back to my earlier employment at one of the Big Six, I realize I spent much of my life dodging people - would-be writers, agents I didn't like, people who managed to get to me despite gatekeepers and all the other apparatus we erected to keep the public out.
It was done so as not to be overwhelmed - and to be able to "focus." Now, though, I feel as though I can't just sit here and pronounce, because the market is making itself heard and we have to listen to it.
So, this is the question I would like to pose:
What can we publishers do better? What can we do to get attention for books and writers?
Now, I ask that responses (click the Comment button below) follow a few general guidelines:
-They aren't diatribes against traditional publishing today.
-They are serious about suggesting new ways of doing things.
-They make financial sense. I'm sure many will suggest advertising more, but we know that doesn't work. There will be suggestions about sending more authors out on tour - we know that doesn't cover its costs, either. Then again, I can't really expect the average reader to know these sorts of things, so suggest away and we'll see what we can come up with.
I started thinking about this as a result of an email conversation with a favorite writer of mine, someone who sadly has not published a new book in over a decade. I said in that correspondence, "If I knew what to do to sell more books and break more authors, I would do it." The conventional wisdom isn't holding any more (not that there was ever a guaranteed formula), so maybe now is the time to try something new, bold, daring....