Sunday, July 10, 2016

Brexit: Adapting in Uncertain Times

An interesting article by Liz Thompson in Publishers Weekly (read HERE) outlines the potential problems now facing the British publishing thanks to the Brexit situation.

As Thomson states, uncertainty is always bad for business. She reports that some publishers have already put new projects and contracts on hold. And she predicts that there will be reorganizing and downsizing. European sales will slump. So will British sales as the cost of living rises. Down the road, there will talk of readdressing copyright laws.

Not a pretty picture, is it? But it is a familiar one. Raise your hand if your remember the 2008 crash. How many people had spare cash to spend on books back then? How many bookstores closed and publishers downsized?

But this was also the period when ebooks and self-publishing really took hold. As the old tried and true ways of publishing, marketing and selling were being tested, new ways were being found.

This is the British writer's opportunity to think outside the box, to adapt, create new models, and embrace rather than run away and hide. I’ve been writing for well over thirty-years. I’ve seen a lot of change. I’ve also seen how publishers, writers, and booksellers can adapt and flourish.

Change and obstacles are part of a writer’s life. Economic pundits warn that another big crash is coming sooner rather than later. People will lose their jobs, their homes, and spare cash for books will dry up once again. It’s the nature of the world we live in.

Each of us will have to decide how we adapt and survive the storms. My advice? Have a backup plan, or two or three. My plan is to keep the part-time job I really enjoy until I’m ready to retire once and for all. I also intend to step up my promotion efforts for the titles I’ve already released while writing brand new books. I’ll also be researching reasonably priced book cover designers and holding back on print releases until the economy picks up again. That’s the general idea. I’ll fine tune things as things unfold.

I don’t live in Britain, but if I did, I wouldn’t be counting on traditional publishers to see me through. I’d seek out other indie writers to share ideas and create our own opportunities. I’d write, write, write while keeping a close watch on what’s happening with traditional publishers, booksellers, and conferences. I’d build my platform and reach out globally. The good news is that many British writers are already doing this. Let’s hope they thrive, despite the daunting obstacles.

Writers need to apply their creative natures to the business of publishing, distributing, and marketing. New ideas are out there, waiting to be tried. Looking at the big picture and planning your own strategy is the surest way to survive. After all, real writers never quit.

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