Mark Coker on the Downfall of Big Publishing

This week, Mark Coker posted a new entry to the Smashwords blog detailing the rise of self-publishing and discussing the broken model upon which big publishing is built. From the article:

If authors – the beating heart powering Big Publishing – lose faith in Big Publishing, then big publishing as we know it will die. By “Big Publishing,” I’m referring to the old, pre-self-publishing system embodied by the Big 6 New York publishers, in which the publisher serves as the author’s judge, jury, gatekeeper and executioner.

If Big Publishing approves of your book, they acquire it. Post-acquisition, an author can die happy knowing they’re a published author with all the esteem, respect and future possibilities embodied in this blessing. At least, that’s what most authors are trained to believe.

Unfortunately, it’s tough to find a traditionally published author who waxes eloquent about their post-publication experience. It’s like the author goes to heaven and reports back via John Edward (the guy who talks to dead people) that they discovered famine on the other side of the pearly gates.

Big Publishing, although it employs thousands of talented and well-intentioned professionals, is built upon a broken business model.

Read the full article here. I think Coker hits on some solid points here. Personally, I lost my faith in Big Publishing years ago. What about you? Do you agree with Mark?

  • Thank you for putting this up. It is quite an interesting piece. Small houses and Indie are the way to go. No doubt about it.

  • It’s easy to envision a time when all writers go “Indie”, selling directly to the world through intermediaries like Amazon and Smashwords. In those days the major authors will become like designer labels, maybe even establishing their own ‘houses’, producing works of promising up-and-coming copycats. Rather than a book being billed as ‘Random House’ it would be promoted as a ‘Michael Crichton’. Genres will become brands, like perfumes and designer suits.