same old stuff

The Peter Principle and Publishing Blogs


Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve noticed that some publishing blogs are becoming so boring I don’t even bother going there more than once a week. And these are blogs I used to love to read daily just to see what kind of information was up or what kind of advice was being offered.

Some don’t even bother to post anymore. And these were regular daily publishing bloggers that posted something every day no matter what happened. I’m wondering if it’s just that blogging is beginning to slack off because of other social media? Or is it that the publishing blogs I used to follow have run out of things to say?

For the life of me, I can’t understand how anyone writing a publishing blog these days could run out of things to say. We are living in the most exciting times of the biggest publishing revolution since Johannes Gutenberg. In the past year or two there have been times I’ve actually felt swamped because of so many changes.

And yet I go to my favorite old bloggers, who have been writing great publishing blogs for a long time, and I see the same old things being repeated over and over again. On literary agent blogs, it’s all about queries, endless, endless queries. I understand and respect the need for giving out information on how to query. I think querying is an art in itself and prepares authors in many ways. But there is a point when it become monotonous. I mean how many goddamn times can you talk about how an author misspelled your name, or even worse, referred to a manuscript as a fiction novel because the poor sonofabitch didn’t know better. I want to know about the book in question, not the spelling errors or misguided use of jargon. Most of the authors I know don’t even bother to query anymore because they’ve had it.

My point isn’t to bash any bloggers in particular. What I’d like to see is more information being handed out about all the changes happening in publishing. I read one review blog in particular and I see links about all kinds of exciting changes happening almost daily and I’m not even all that fond of this particular blog. But this review blog is getting it right. The blogger has a passion for books and publishing and it shows in her posts. More than that, she’s giving readers valuable information they normally wouldn’t get anywhere else. She’s been in top of digital publishing information and she gets points for this.

I would assume that most people who have been working in “traditional” publishing, like lit agents and editors, are thinking about how they will evolve with these changes. I started thinking this way eight years ago and slowly made the changes I thought were necessary for someone who writes in my genre. One of these days, in another post, I will go into detail about how what I write has evolved in the last five years. Right now, I’m still thinking about the future. I don’t think anyone can predict anything that’s going to happen in publishing in the next five years.

But at least talk about it and discuss it, instead of pretending it doesn’t exist. Three years ago e-books were less than 1% of the market. A publishing professional sat at my dinner table and laughed at this, and then disagreed with me when I said the numbers would rise. This same publishing professional is now trying to figure out ways to get backlisted books up on Amazon in digital format…in secret. I think I just read digital books are now 30% of the market. I could be wrong on the exact numbers, so don’t quote me. But the fact remains that e-books aren’t going to disappear.

The main point I’m trying to make is that we’re all seriously interested in learning about the changes happening in publishing, and reading about them from publishing professionals. There is nothing wrong with query posts and sticking to basics. But let’s move on to something a little more stimulating once in a while. It’s really getting tired. I know I’m still hungry for more information. I’m just not finding the resources anymore to get this information like I used to. And I miss that.

Then again, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’ve been reading a few of these blogs for too long and maybe I’m expecting too much from them. If you believe in the Peter Principle, and the fact that we all do eventually reach our own level of personal incompetence, it makes sense that nothing will last forever.