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Are authors "at the heart of the publishing process"?

27 September 2014

Publishing is the process of getting an author's thoughts and ideas to the mind of a reader. Book publishing was carried out in the traditional manner for so long that everyone began to believe that publishers, agents, publicists and bookshops were essential to the process. The multiplicity of options brought about by the digital age remind us that there are only two constants in the process: the author and the reader.

"Authors are at the heart of the publishing process", authors are told when they are being wooed by enthusiastic publishers or agents. But the rhetoric has often sounded hollow to authors who found themselves underpaid for their efforts and ignored while crucial decisions as to the production, marketing and selling of their work was made by others. Authors now have real choices.

Self-publishing and a proliferation of smaller publishers offer the prospect of more control and much higher rewards per book sold, even if they may not sell as many copies. For many the traditional publishing deal is still the gold standard, and good publishers, booksellers and agents are still central to creating and selling beautiful books. But in a digital age, they all have to do more to ensure their survival.'

Nicola Solomon, CEO of the UK Society of Authors in the Bookseller (with apologies for the extended quote)