Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Is Trade Publishing a Dying Dream? (A Guest Post by Chris Andrews)

While I'm out of town, toiling away at Odyssey Writing Workshop, I've decided to open up the blog to guest posts. Today's entry comes from author Chris Andrews. A big thanks to Chris for stopping by. If you like what you read, consider checking out his website for more.

~  J.W.

Is trade publishing a dying dream?

by Chris Andrews

Have you ever had a dream? Not the kind you wake up from, but the kind that motivates you to achieve something?

Since I was a teenager, my dream has been to get a novel published – my epic fantasy, the one I've loved for so long.

Back when this dream formed, success meant you got a book to hold and display on your shelf.

The publishing landscape has changed drastically since then, with self-publishing now an easy, affordable reality thanks to the electronic format.

Which is a problem, at least for the dream.

My nightmare scenario is a trade publisher offering to publish my book in electronic format only – not that it would be a bad thing, but not entirely the success I've wanted for so long.

Yet it's so close!

It would be an acknowledgement that my book was good enough to warrant a business investment – but holding an e-book reader in my hands and saying one of these files is mine?

That's not the vision I've nurtured.

My dream involves book tours, signings, and browsing through random bookshops to discover the shelves where my novels entice readers with their covers and blurbs.

It includes handing copies to friends and family and all the people who've helped me along the way, each copy personalised with a message inside the cover.

Despite the fact there's never been more opportunities for writers, the reality is that my dream is getting less and less likely – and not just for me. Others share it.

Is it worth hoping an electronic edition will sell well enough to warrant a traditional print run? Maybe.
The dream is being corroded by reality. Perhaps the dream needs to change, because it demands thousands of copies, the smell of newly printed paper, and a publisher's logo.

A download button would be a welcome addition – don't get me wrong, but it's not the dream.

The reality is that part of the dream was always going to be out of my hands, so maybe it was never the right dream to start with, but then what dream is?

Maybe it's time to expand the dream to include electronic publishing? I guess that's what dreams are about.

They grow.

Chris Andrews began his writing career when he boldly and ignorantly announced he could write a better novel than the one he’d just read. While he’s no longer ignorant about the challenges of writing novels, the dream remains. Find him on twitter: @ChrisAndrewsAU or at his website:


  1. Great post. I share the same dream. I don't think we'll lose printed books. The market for them is still huge. The variety may dwindle somewhat but they'll still be there. The thing to do is evolve and embrace both but if a publisher offered me an eformat only offer, i'd be disappointed too.

    1. I agree - I doubt we'll lose printed books either, although I suspect the days of huge print runs by all but the biggest selling authors are numbered.

  2. The dream doesn't have to end, just alter.
    There is something cool about holding a print book. Not that I've done many physical appearances, but it's cool to have it sitting on a shelf in our living room where visitors can see it. But watching the eBook climb the rankings on Amazon is just as cool!

    1. Totally - I'd love to see my books climbing the rankings in any format!

  3. I think we all feel that way. In our minds if a publisher offers a print contract it somehow makes our book more worthy. But I guess times are changing. Even five years ago I would have said that e-books weren't going to take off to the extent that people were predicting, but now look where we are.

  4. I don't think physical books will ever go away, but ebooks have their place.

  5. To get published only in digital form is not such a bad thing. The kindle version of my book(s) outsell paperbacks by a lot.


Thanks for reading!