Friday, July 13, 2012

Is the publishing model broken?

Writer Abroad has been pondering something ever since the Zurich Writers Workshop in May, when an author discussed how, until he made back his advance, his royalties were 5%.

Because as an Associate, just by posting a link to a book on a blog, you can also make 5% if someone buys it.

But if an author, who works for at least a year (or sometimes many years) on a book, makes the same amount as someone does from posting a link to the same book in about five minutes, obviously, the publishing model is broken.
Is traditional publishing a dying business?

But if the traditional publishing model sucks, why are authors still going there?

Is it for the prestige? Is a writer who is published by a big publishing house still somehow more of a writer than one who self-publishes?

Writer Abroad thinks it comes down to another classic art versus science debate. Those who see writing as an art go traditional (or at least try to). Those who see it as a science–as a business–are more likely to go directly to self-publishing.

One of her main points is that publishers aren’t adding much value beyond the prestige. And if your blog is the way you are going to market your book, what value is the publisher adding? After all, it’s not like publishers offer marketing budgets anymore, except maybe for books by celebrities, who don’t need marketing budgets anyway since they are rich.

Others, like Digital Book World, question Penelope Trunk's story. But ultimately, the lesson is that publishers must be able to satisfy their authors. Otherwise, they will be in danger. Or more likely, endangered.

What do you think? Is the publishing model broken? Is self-publishing something you would consider? If you’ve been published, how did you decide which route to go?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New Book on Writing Fiction + Writing Workshops

It’s that time of year again. Time for everyone in Switzerland to shut their windows, put down their shades, and sit in their apartment buildings that masquerade as ovens. In the land of cheese and chocolate, summer breezes are as shunned as flushing the toilet after 10 p.m. But if you live here, this is not news. Below, however, are hopefully a few things that are:

New Books

Looking for an inspiring book on writing fiction? Sam North, an eight-time UK-based novelist (and excellent fiction instructor, based on his rave reviews at the last Zurich Writers Workshop), has just published a new book entitled, Five Analogies for Fiction Writing. While still only available in the UK, one can order it with free shipping to anywhere in the world from the Book Depository

Speaking of Zurich Writers Workshop instructors with new books, Diccon Bewes, author of Swiss Watching, has a new book on Switzerland out this month. It’s called Swisscellany. This book will teach you how to play Hornussen, how to sing along with the Swiss National Anthem, and what the heck the Geneva Conventions stand for. In other words, this book will teach you to become the ultimate Swiss nerd. 

New Writing Workshops

Noyers sur Serein
Tokyo-based American author Ann Tashi Slater will be giving a flash fiction writing workshop from August 6th-10th at La Porte Peinte Centre Pour les Arts in the lovely medieval village of Noyers sur Serein, only an hour and a half from Paris. Fee: 750 EUR. 

Nuance Words is organizing another writing workshop in Zurich, Switzerland this fall. The event will be held October 27-28 and feature fiction author Emma Darwin and literary agent Andrew Lownie. More details to come.

New Radio Network

The Overseas Radio Network covers a diverse set of topics relating to expat life. Writer Abroad is honored to debut on the network this week as a guest on The Stateless Man discussing if there really is a place in the world that women can have it all. The show is hosted by New Zealander Fergus Hodgson, who works as an economist and liberty advocate in the United States.

Any new books, workshops, or radio shows you can recommend?


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