Next week I have a TON of travel coming up. First, I’ll be at RomCon in Denver, CO, and if you’re going to be there, I hope you’ll introduce yourself to me. I’m the one with glasses. And I’m usually pretty loud.
Then, immediately afterward, I’m going to be in Vancouver, BC, Canada, at Simon Fraser University’s Summer Publishing Workshops giving a keynote address and leading a one-day seminar on Romance Novels.
The keynote is focused on “The Reader’s Place in the Publishing Process,” and I’ve got an hour. Think I can squeeze it all in?! (PUN TOTALLY INTENDED.)
I am going to focus on where I think the reader’s place is right now in the eyes of the publishing industry, and where I think the reader’s place could be now and in the future. I’m going to touch on the other individuals in the publishing process (the publisher, the writer and her agent, the book seller) and the repeated absence of the reader in conversations and examinations of publishing.
Much like that motivational story about everybody, nobody, and somebody, everybody in publishing agrees the reader is important, but it’s somebody else’s job to figure out the reader’s “place.” From agency pricing and DRM on digital books to dependence on big box and chain stores and the vanishing indie bookseller, the strange and undefined status of the reader in the industry plays out in a million little ways. With the obvious exception of some stellar people working within publishing who are curious and eager to see what readers are saying, the larger policies from the publishing industry still point to a perspective that a publisher is like a wholesaler, and doesn’t really have customers.
I’m also going to sketch out a rather optimistic future for a more involved readership, and explain how reader blogs, reviewers, and online book clubs and discussion forums are opportunities that continue to grow as readers discover communities based on specific genres or authors. I’m also going to look at how technology and portable reading has changed the way readers interact with their books and with each other. To twist Maureen Johnson‘s comments at the Book Blogger Convention, “Reading is something that you do by yourself, but not because you want to be alone.”
I’d really like, though, to ask what you think and potentially include your comments about the reader’s place in publishing. What do you think the reader’s place is in the publishing process? If it’s not where you think it ought to be, what would you like to see happen? Feel free to email me if you don’t want to leave a comment, and let me know in either case to which name I should attribute your thoughts.
Also, I’m thinking LOLCats and internet memes are a required element to this presentation, yes? Yes. Of course. Feel free to suggest some for me!