When I was a rookie in the mid-1980's, many well established "mom and pop" firms still populated and culturally influenced the book publishing map. In fact, family owned boutique houses had always been the norm. Profits were essential, but the process was driven by individuals who had invested their hearts and souls, not just their dollars; publishing books was their passion and their livlihood. However, it was the end of an era.
Today, most publishing assets are owned by huge multi-national conglomerates for which the book divisions are relatively insiginificant revenue generators. In fact, most of America's book business is controlled by non-American companies. By design, these corporate empires only answer to their shareholders, and profits are the only language that matters. Within this hierarchy, the publishing divisions are serfs. Independent publishing is still a thriving and innovative force, but it operates from the margins, as does self-publishing.
What does the above rant have to do with Waenet? Individuality and self-empowerment is the way to fight back against homogenous absorption. Writers don't have to belong to anyone except themselves, and most agents continue to be self-employed entrepreneurs. Even editors who work for corporate houses have entered the field for one reason: they love books. They could have chosen to use their skills in much more lucrative ways, but money is clearly not their primary motivation. In spite of the pressures imposed upon them, editors remain organically dedicated to discovering and publishing excellent books.
Writers, agents and editors are on the same team. We need to know and support each other, and tear down the old walls that have lost their usefulness long ago. Virtual networking is a way to bypass whatever obstructs personal expression, creativity and growth. True publishing is liberation for writers, readers and those in the middle. Connecting and communicating about our common passions will enrich all of us on all levels.
Enter this network with the expectation that you will sometimes give, sometimes receive, and sometimes will be refreshingly surprised. Visit when you're discouraged and visit when your gratified; this is a place for all moods and experiences.
By: Jeff Herman
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