Welcome to 2012, the year of living dangerously.
As I sat down to write my first column as President of MRW, it struck me that this year promises to be the most dangerous year of my life. Before you think I’m planning something illegal, let me explain. At no time in history, (well, maybe when Guttenberg was around, but no time since) has the publishing world faced such seismic change. In the slightly less than four years since I’ve been pursuing writing as a career, I’ve seen the gut-wrenching fall of Borders, the spectacular rise of e-books, the surprising march of the ‘Indies’, and the not-so-surprising ascension of Amazon as King of Publishing. I suspect the aftershocks will be stronger than the quake. Amidst all this chaos, what’s an author to do?
Now, I don’t want to limit my metaphors to natural disasters because that would imply this is a bad thing. In truth, it may be the best thing that’s ever happened for those of us who’ve been wishing there was someone else in charge of ‘Book Nation’. As authors, we’ve been liberated (like it or not) and can put our books out into the world without having to go through the maze of gatekeepers that determined our entry into the kingdom in days of yore. However, getting a pass doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. That takes more.
MRW’s theme 2012 is Finding Success in a Changing Industry. Along these lines, we’ll be developing programs, running workshops, writing newsletters and engaging in conversations (live and online) to help our membership understand what’s going on in our industry, find out how others are responding, explore the opportunities presented, share our own experiments (positive and otherwise), and, of course, learn more about honing our craft and improving the products we put out there. I say ‘we’ because it will take every one of us participating to make this year’s activities and information meaningful and useful. (Translated: you will be asked to/expected to do something this year if you are a member of this organization.)
Blessings for the New Year,