We are so excited that our guest today is consulting editor Alan Rinzler. Alan has edited and published Toni Morrison, Tom Robbins, Hunter S. Thompson, Jerzy Kosinski, Shirley MacLaine, Robert Ludlum, Clive Cussler, Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan and others while working as Assistant Managing Editor at Simon & Schuster, Director of Trade Publishing at Bantam, west coast editor for the Grove Press, VP and Associate Publisher of Rolling Stone, where he was also President of Straight Arrow, and Executive Editor at Jossey-Bass/Wiley. Alan’s years of experience spans the gamut from commercial to literary, and he’s also edited a wide range of memoirs, histories, biographies, among others. We feel fortunate that Alan agreed to share his wisdom and expertise with WU today.
Check out his website and blog at www.alanrinzler.com to learn more.
Being an author these days requires much more than working alone in solitude. But you knew that, right? Many authors are taking charge of their work and stepping out at conferences, trainings, pitch sessions, writer’s groups, readings, and especially online with web
sites, blogs, and social networking, no longer stuck in the stereotype of the shy or invisible recluse.
Authors are also required to navigate radical, unprecedented changes in getting published. Prior structures, procedures and assumptions have fallen apart. The balance of power has shifted and it’s unclear exactly who’s in charge as the traditional gatekeepers have lost their supremacy.
What does all this mean for you? My view is that it’s the best time ever to be a writer. Best but not easiest. Here are some of the questions a writer faces.
State of the Business
Will the book business survive hemorrhaging revenues, downsizing, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, merging haphazardly to reduce overhead, experimenting with one insane ebook program after another, reinventing itself desperately to convert from all print to all digital? Is this at long last the Death of the Traditional Book Publishing?
Have people stopped reading, stopped buying books? Are they getting their news and information for free online, so why spend the money. Is our culture suffering from a universal attention deficit disorder, too busy texting, YouTubing, friending on FaceBook, social networking. Is this the End of Intelligent Reading?
The only thing you can count on for sure is that people who think they know how it’s all going to fall out or what it’ll be like in two years don’t know what they’re talking about.
Have as yet unknown writers been left high and dry as agents won’t take on an author without a track record or platform. Are all publishers so risk aversive that they’re looking for only best-selling stars or celebrities getting contracts?
There’s a lot of confusion and contradictory advice going around today among writers and book publishing professionals. The only thing you can count on for sure is that people who think they know how it’s all going to fall out or what it’ll be like in two years don’t know what they’re talking about.
Nevertheless, I’m happy to play pundit and offer my unabashed opinion about the major issues a writer needs to confront these days, along with my short prognosis of choices to consider. Continue Reading »
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