With e-books and print-on-demand (POD) technology so readily available, I mentioned there were two million self published books in 2010. That's a staggering number, and the industry projects it will go even higher this year. This may be great for struggling writers who wants to see their work "in print," but how will readers sort through all the clutter? How will you find good books?
To sort the wheat from the chaff, currently publishers look to literary agents. Agents receive thousands of book submission from authors each month. Agents select books they feel they can sell and presents them to acquisition editors at the publishing houses. A team called an Editorial Board then decides if they want to publish the book. This system of finding new talent works only when publishers drive the industry. With bookstores closing and technology in control, publishers are now focusing mostly, if not exclusively, on sure thing, big name best-sellers. If agents stop looking for new books because publishers aren't buying, is the reader left in the lurch? Not if fellow readers and industry pioneers have anything to say about it.
We're all familiar with Amazon reviews and other sites that offer similar models for customer feedback. There are also a vast number of book bloggers and book referral sites already out there. If you haven't yet, check out http://www.goodreads.com/, http://www.librarything.com/, http://www.litkicks.com/, and http://www.litlovers.com/. To find bloggers, do a quick Google search for your genre. In addition, http://www.kirkusreviews.com/ and http://www.blueinkreview.com/ are services used by authors to have their work professionally reviewed. There you will find editor's picks and blogger posts. And making an appearance at the BEA was Book Country, a site sponsored by Penguin. At Book Country writers who want to post their work must review three manuscripts. Readers can check out the reviews and look for emerging talent at http://www.bookcountry.com/AboutUs.aspx.
As the industry keeps changing, so will the way we find and rate books. Still, content is king and word of mouth remains the number one way readers hear about a new book. So keep reading and keep talking. The publishing industry is listening