This thought provoking article by Terence Blacker was written for the summer edition of the Society of Authors magazine. I've copied below the beginning of the article. You can visit Terence Blacker's web site to read the full article, or click on the link below.
"Is it just me, or has everything suddenly gone rather quiet? Authors are used to hearing that the trade is dead, that bookshops are spookily deserted (it usually happens the week one has a new book being published) but the situation right now seems to be different.
It is not so much the readers who have slipped into a mood of torpid indifference but the book industry itself – the chains, the independent shops, the publishers and, most alarmingly of all, the authors. There is, without wishing to be unduly miserabilist, a sense that nothing is really moving forward or changing. The mood of the moment is a sullen, slightly bemused defeatism.
If anyone talks about future, it is never in the context of new young writers who are pushing their way through or of bright new publishing ideas. In fact, things are now so ineffably dreary that the only symbol of progress is a reading device, the e-book.
In the past, these moments of stasis tended to be localised. Different parts of the books business would droop, but rarely at the same time. Among authors, a slump in one generation or genre would be balanced out – often rather cruelly – by a sense of energy and movement elsewhere.
It is difficult to find much evidence of that now. Booksellers, having flirted over-excitedly with the world of marketing and price-cutting, now merely want to survive. The large, established publishers have adopted a safety-first editorial approach for so long that it has become a habit. If our great conglomerates were to inscribe a corporate motto over the entrance to their offices, it would surely “More of the same”."
Read the complete article: It’s time for an authors’ revolution