So the good folks at Tor, one of the largest publishers of science fiction and fantasy literature, have a Readers’ Choice Awards that is open to any author. However, despite it being an open contest, there has been a lot of grumbling about my good friend, Stephen Zimmer, receiving so many votes because he’s an “unknown” author, and the implication has been that he has been faking the votes himself to garner attention. The reality is that Stephen has built a pretty strong readership through hard work and networking and, through Seventh Star Press, has built a street team of supporters that help promote his works.
Somehow, this offends the defenders of the status quo. How dare this upstart from Kentucky write a better book than an “established” writer at a major house! Doesn’t he know that “real” writers can’t come from small presses or self-publishing? To me, this represents where we are as a nation as a whole right now. The ones who favor maintaining the status quo revile those of us who still believe in ingenuity and entrepreneurship and go to great lengths to keep us out of the party. I wonder why they are so afraid of true competition and free market enterprise?
The publishing industry is at a crossroads, like the rest of our nation. The outdated business models that reward the few and disenfranchise the majority are dying, but those in power are fighting with all their might to preserve their status. New business models are emerging that don’t need the old infrastructure for success. Via the internet, a publisher no longer needs a central distribution channel through New York to reach an international audience. With print-on-demand and e-book technology, a publisher no longer needs warehousing and distribution through New York to reach bookstores. But as in all revolutions of industry, the old powers will fight to prove their relevance for as long as they can.
For my readers, I ask you to follow the link below and nominate The Fall of Dorkhun if you believe it worthy. I know I have virtually no chance of winning because I don’t have a large enough audience, but I would like to make a little noise myself and let the old guard know that just because we follow the new business model and are changing the industry forever, we are just as valid as and probably offer a superior product to the status quo. Support small press and independent business!