If you ask the wrong question, the right answer to that question isn’t going to help you
March 22, 2011 10:35 AM Subscribe
"Eisler’s decision is a key benchmark on the road to wherever it is we’re going"
posted by lodurr (59 comments total)
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Publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin: I wasnt planning to write a post this past weekend for Monday morning publication. But then Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler contacted me on Saturday to tell me what Barry is up to. Ive read their lengthy conversation about Barrys decision to turn down a $500,000 contract (apparently for two books) and join Joe (and many others, but none who have turned down half-a-million bucks) as a self-published author.
Barry Eisler, in the (long-ish) conversation: Think candles vs electric lights. There are still people making a living today selling candles, and that’s because there’s nothing like candlelight--but what matters is that the advent of the electric light changed the candle business into a niche. Originally, candlemakers were in the lighting business; today, they’re in the candlelight business. The latter is tiny by comparison to the former. Similarly, today publishers are in the book business; tomorrow, they’ll be in the paper book business. The difference is the difference between a mass market and a niche.
I'm leding Shatzkin rather than Konrath & Eisler because he cuts to the chase and raises valid questions. What I don't see any of them addressing directly is what happens once the first-mover advantages dissipate. And I leave the Doctorow references to you...
(Here's the same conversation on Barry Eisler's blog.