I've heard it said by men wiser than I'll ever be that if you can keep your head while all around you are losing theirs ... then you simply don't understand the problem.
Well, I guess Tony Szmuk and I don't understand the problem, or the current panic in the publishing industry; especially at the small independent houses.
Let's see: What don't we understand? Why are we keeping our heads? Why are we making all the wrong moves as a result?
*Wise men say: The end of traditional publishing is nigh because of the threat posed by the mushrooming ebook culture. Publishers simply aren't geared up for such drastic change. It's taken them by complete surprise. No fair ... no fair!
BeWrite Books says: We've been covering all titles with ebooks from the very start. We invested early this year in new hardware and software and are well into converting every title in our cataloge into various formats that can be read on ALL digital reading platforms from PCs to dedicated-ebook-reading devices to smart phones.
*Wise men say: Smaller publishers without an official US presence must use a third-party US 'publisher' to place their ebooks in the massive new US online ebook stores for Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, Sony's PRS series, Apple's iPad, etc, etc, and pay IRS tax at source, or wrap up the digital side of their houses.
BeWrite Books says: We've been onto this for six months, and with the expert advice and assistance of specialised US lawyers, our additional official registration as a US publishing house came through last week. We can now deal direct with ALL online ebook stores.
*Wise men say: Latin America and China are out of reach to smaller independent publishing houses.
BeWrite Books says: So far this year, our agent in China has placed six BeWrite Books titles with major publishers for translation and mass-run paperback on the Chinese mainland and BB had over seventy titles exclusively represented at last week's massive Beijing International Book Fair. Our own BeWrite Books English/Spanish agency for Latin America opens later this year.
*Wise men say: Publishing Down Under is dying. Publishers are pulling out or simply expiring in droves. It's On the Beach. It's the end of days. Run away ... run away!
BeWrite Books says: Our fully-staffed Australian bureau opens in Adelaide in October/November to cover Oz, New Zealand and Pacific Rim countries. We closed a deal for print and distribution there in August.
*Wise men say: Especially for 'unknown authors' self-publishing is the only option now. Publishing houses can no longer afford to take the risk.
BeWrite Books says: The number of submissions by 'unknown authors' to our house has more than doubled. this year. Our editorial and release schedules for the rest of 2010 and most of 2011 are full of books by debut novelists.
*Wise men say: Things will never be the same in publishing.
BeWrite Books says: You only just noticed?
*Wise men say: Only fools rush in.
BeWrite Books says: Right on. But the late Sir Robert Baden-Powel told his scouts ... be prepared!
So that's it in a nut shell. See why we're keeping our heads? It's not because we don't understand the problem. It's because there is no problem. We foresaw the change ten years ago and got ready to embrace it, not to be taken by surprise and be reduced to panic.