Who doesn't see much point of getting into topics just to stir debate. Not afraid of conflict. I just don't see the point of adding another voice to what is destined to become an overcrowded, noisy room.
Okay. So, Thomas Nelson is starting a new self-publishing line. That's interesting. A sign of the times, perhaps. Something to watch and a new topic to discuss at writing conferences, debate on blogs, squawk about with retailers. We'll see. I have my opinions about it, but frankly, it's not my business. Literally. It's not my decision to make. Last time I checked, I didn't own Thomas Nelson.
I respect Michael Hyatt and the other fine folks at Thomas Nelson. And I'm positive they (and their shareholders and/or corporate suits) all put much thought and consideration into this decision. My guess is
that they're expecting flack and have steeled themselves (and have pre-written press releases waiting) in preparation for it.
However. Ahem ... pitching this new venture as a "farm team" to authors? Excuse me?
That is a giant, sticky, wad of hooey, man.
Look. I know the lines between what once worked and what will work in the future are blurring and that we all need to do what we can to A) keep publishing viable and relevant and B) figure out a way to keep the pipeline of books strong so we can keep spreading the word and doing what we love.
Call me cynical, but I'm thinking the motivation behind this decision might have something to do with the fact that opportunities to profit from books are growing slimmer by the second. Or is that just coincidence?
Thing is, there really is nothing new under the sun.
Back in the late eighties when I worked in the marketing department of a major CBA publisher, it was standard fare to gasp when authors held out for larger advances or asked that the publisher spend a few dollars on advertising, tours, publicity. "Greedy authors. Don't they understand Christian publishing is a ministry?"
Then the wall fell. Big hair started giving way to grunge. And agents began coming onto the Christian publishing scene (another gasp). Soon after, the veil of ministry this and other Christian publishers were hiding behind was pulled away and Christian authors were suddenly encouraged to get over it and begin thinking of writing as a business. Hmmm...
At its core, publishing is a business whose end product happens to be the packaging of free expression and creative thought.
It is a capitalistic, money making venture. With some exceptions (Gideon comes to mind) it always has been. Still is. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Thomas Nelson's attempt to legitimize their venture into self-publishing by pitching it as place for them to cultivate and find professional authors is, at best, a stretch. Do they really need to start their own self-publishing venture to do this when there are others who this exact thing already, and do it well? Go ahead and do it -- just call it what it is.
I don't follow baseball, but (and someone correct me if I'm wrong) aren't farm teams peopled by amateurs looking to work their way up the ranks to the pros? And aren't they typically supported (at least minimally) by the parent clubs or ticket sales? I'll admit I'm not exactly sure how farm teams pay for the gas to get from game to game, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't come out of the pockets of players. And are they expected to invest their own money in order to dress just like the big boys so fans and spectators can't tell the difference? I don't think so.
Seems to me that calling this self-publishing venture a "farm team" is an attempt to hide behind a curtain again, and mask the reality that this is a business venture and a way to mitigate risk. Trouble with that is those of us who have been around awhile can see that there's money behind that curtain.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.Sandra