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Finding Opportunity in Change

Writing.ie | Resources | Digital Publishing | Getting Published

Vanessa O'Loughlin

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Things are changing in publishing. And Irish publishing particularly is finding itself in a state of flux. Reduced Arts Council grants are adding to a global recession hitting book buyers which, with the eBook phenomenon are rocking an industry that last felt the fear of the unknown when paperbacks were introduced by Penguin in the 1935. Then Allen Lane, the director of The Bodley Head was returning from a meeting with Agatha Christie when standing at Exeter Station with nothing to read  he saw the ‘potential of good quality contemporary fiction made available at an attractive price’, not just in traditional bookshops, but also in stations, tobacconists and chain stores. It was a revolution in a time when to read quality fiction you either had to have a good income or a library card. And it’s not unlike the revolution we are seeing today.

So what does all this mean for writers?

On the down side, mainstream publishing houses are cautious about taking on new talent, are instead sourcing work from established writers with established track records. But is it all doom and gloom? Not at all. Julian Gough in a recent blog post said “The only area where Irish writing is thriving in Ireland itself is on the internet, because it’s a direct connection, writer-to-reader.” He’s right that Irish writing is thriving on the Internet, right about that direct connection – but it’s not just through blog posts.

catch-me-a-catchWherever there is change there is opportunity – and today the opportunities are there for writers all over the Internet, both in Ireland and on a world platform. Today an Inkwell Writer won a competition run on Twitter run by Mills and Boon – her prize? A pile of books and an editor chuckling at her desk. The same writer was asked earlier this week for her full manuscript only hours after she had submitted a partial to Wild Rose Press, an American e- publisher. And she’s the second Inkwell Writer to have been asked for a full manuscript by Wild Rose Press this week! (Since this artcile was written Sally Clements’ book Catch me a Catch has come out with Wld Rose Press – see left)

the-ghosts-of-belfastWriters all over Ireland are reaching what Malcom Gladwell calls the tipping point – that point at which things begin to happen.  It takes huge dedication and many hours of work to get there, but when they do, things start falling into place like they did for Stuart Neville. Neville placed a short story on thuglit.com and it was spotted by legendary US agent Nat Sobel – his book The Twelve has been described by James Ellroy as “The best first novel I’ve read in years.” and by Ken Bruen as “The book when the world finally sits up and goes WOW, the Irish really have taken over the world of crime writing. “ Released as The Ghosts of Belfast in the US, Neville is just back from his US tour.

the-wolfs-mateRomantic fantasy writer Ruth Long has just released her third book with US e-publisher Samhain and has landed a contract with super agent New York based Colleen Lindsay. When Colleen announced on Twitter how impressed she was with Ruth’s manuscript there was immediate interest from three mainstream international publishing houses.

So while Irish Publishers find their niche in the new market place, writers are ideally placed to benefit from the changes in the industry. There are writers getting published on Kindle who found it difficult to land a terrestrial publishing deal – not because they weren’t good enough, but simply because there are only so many print titles that can come out each year. As Kindle bestselling author Elisa Lorell says in a recent blog post “Amazon Kindle has changed the reading landscape and rattled the publishing industry. Just like Napster and iTunes did for indie musicians and the music industry….e-publishing has made it possible for an unknown author like me to be recognized”

Irish publishing is changing, but so are Irish writers, and as William Pollard said, “Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.”

Copyright Vanessa O’Loughlin first published at www.irishpublishingnews.com

About the author

See Vanessa’s other articles on writing.ie: How to write a covering submission letter: http://bit.ly/epEtjW; her Twintterview with Colette Caddle: http://bit.ly/dT1ouk; How Long Should your book be: http://bit.ly/eKPQzx; How to cope with rejection as an author: http://bit.ly/dIpeF7; Copyright, what is it? http://bit.ly/g4PaOa

For more on Getting Published, see our extensive articles on Submission Tips our list ofIrish AgentsIrish Publishers and consider More Publishing Options and Digital Publishing

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