10 Changes In Book Publishing

10 Nov


Guest Blog by Rayne Hall

How times changed… Self-publishing today is a completely different world. The publishing business suddenly transformed itself from bookstores / distribution model to an environment in which books were bought by consumers online – either as physical books or increasingly: e-books. And this has altered the entire modus operandi of the industry:
1. In the past, most authors worked for editors. Today, most editors work for authors.
2. Most books went from author to agent to publisher to distributor to bookseller to reader. Now, more and more go from author to distributor to reader, cutting out most middlemen.
3. To be commercially viable, books had to sell enough copies to finance a big publishing apparatus. Now, many need to pay only one person: the author.
4. Agents and editors acted as gatekeepers, ensuring that poorly written books did not get published. Now, it’s the authors’ responsibility to ensure their books are as good as they can make them.

5. When books were printed, word counts were critical. Nowadays with e-books, lengths are flexible; only quality counts.

6. Once a book was published, it was too late to correct errors, change the cover or tweak the blurb; any improvements had to wait until the print-run had sold out. With e-books, anything can be changed any time.

7. Many publishers prevented communication between readers and authors. Today, direct reader-author communication is encouraged because it sells books.
8. Mixing genres used to make a book impossible to sell. Today, genre cross-overs sell just fine.
9. Writers used to spend much time courting agents. Now they spend much time courting readers.

10. “Previously published” used to lessen the value of a story. Nowadays, it’s a quality mark.

About Rayne Hall
A trained publishing manager, Rayne Hall has worked in the publishing industry for over three decades, mostly in editorial roles in Germany, Switzerland, Mongolia, Nepal, PR China and Great Britain. She has had over 40 books published under several pen names, in several genres (mostly fantasy, horror and non-fiction), under several pen names, in several languages, by several publishers.
For a list of currently published fiction under the Rayne Hall pen name, go to
She teaches online workshops for intermediate, advanced and professional level writers who are serious about improving their writing craft skills. For an up-to-date schedule of upcoming workshops see

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1 Comment

Posted by on November 10, 2012 in Publishing, Self-Publishing


Tags: , , , , , ,

One response to “10 Changes In Book Publishing

  1. Tracy Falbe (@tracyfalbe)

    July 29, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Very good points and I think all of this is definitely progress for both readers and authors. It’s so true how author access used to be impossible. I can remember while growing up longing to send a note to an author after enjoying a book but having no way to do it. A couple years ago a reader emailed me and when I replied he was utterly stunned that the actual author responded. He was so thrilled. I suppose readers expect contact now, but that’s definitely a new development.


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