The publishing industry is changing, of that we all are sure. Every day someone tries to predict the end of Traditional Publishing or the rise of Self Publishing and endless commentaries are written for and against both outcomes. I feel the actual future may lie somewhere in the middle.
There are always going to be paper books around, the medium is just too durable to be supplanted entirely by anything new. But markets for e-books and audio books and perhaps something akin to multi-media books found mostly on iPad like devices will gain popularity and mind share.
The key for writers is to be flexible and roll with the times. The days of being firmly in one camp or another are starting to disappear. New writers will probably start by putting their best work out as e-books and let the market discover them. Meanwhile, writing the second book and so on, until they can either gain an audience or get good enough to be taken on by a publisher. Currently contracted writers may supplement their earnings by selling older material that they still own the digital rights too. Either way, the reading public will win. New talent will still surface and old pros will continue to find new ways to earn income from the things they have written.
As for me, I have a handful of novels that I want to write over the next few years. I’m in no particular hurry, but I do want to bring one to market each year. Many of these novels are set in the same universe as Starstrikers and Tales From Ocherva. There are three total star novels and two planet based novels and at least one more volume in the Ocherva series.
My goal is to write the best novels I can and put them out there for my readers. If in the next few years I slowly gain a following, all the better. But even if I don’t, my writing will undoubtedly mature and perhaps some future novel will break through the slush and get published. I look at the next few years as my growth and learning phase as a writer. I’ve already been published a few times for some short stories, so I don’t really need the validation that comes with acceptance by publications. I’m more interested in telling my stories the way I want to tell them and then, when I’m finished with those, I will probably set new goals for myself. Those goals will no-doubt include seeking more traditional outlets for my writing.
Who knows, I may branch out and find that I enjoy writing mysteries or thrillers or some other genre.