SFF author Mark Charan Newton recently posted his thoughts regarding the current state of the industry on his website.
Here's an extract:
So anyway: here are some observations on the industry after another year.
1. The blogosphere ain’t what it used to be. Blogs have come and gone, and actually a lot have appeared in the last couple of years. The net result, combined with Twitter (which absorbs debate and attention) means that conversation is now phenomenally diluted; niches have sprung up within our genre niche. I’d consider print review venues (other than, say, SFX or the Guardian) to be absolutely ineffective in generating debate or playing much of a role in the genre, but the debate online is increasingly watered-down in terms of impact. It ain’t what it used to be. The older blogs still have the bit audience: Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist, A Dribble of Ink, Wertzone, or the Book Smugglers (these are the first four I typed – there are many more, but newer blogs will struggle to come close to getting their page views).
2. For this reason, I really pity new authors. It’s tough out there – it was a year ago – but now, with so much diluted debate, how the hell can you get yourself noticed? Having publishers tell authors to get out there is even more frustrating because…
3. Publishers dominate once again. Remember that time where people controlled debate according to the mildly anarchistic nature of the internet? Not now. The big publishers have created the mega-sites, and have invited bloggers to write guests posts. It’s miraculous – regular, interesting content, around which they can flog their books (and they’re a business – that’s what we expect). Bloggers mention they write guest posts, and send traffic to the mega-sites. Traffic flows one way. What’s more, the ethics of reviewer/blogger neutrality has been raised in discussion a few times. The saddest thing about all of this is that money (resources to set up these sites) now buys attention once again; for a short while, that wasn’t the case.
Follow this link to read the full article.
I was meaning to respond to Newton's post, but I've been up to my neck in boxes and shit since I moved into a new apartment on Monday.
Yet since many of you are bloggers and/or blog followers, I figured that you might have something to say about his thoughts.
Personally, I don't feel that the publishers' mega-sites are that great. To be honest, I was kind of excited at the beginning, but not rarely ever visit them. They lack the life and personality of blogs run by passionate and dedicated fans of the genre. . .