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Litquake takes on the future of publishing

Jenna Scatena | July 1, 2013 | Story

Paperback or Kindle? iPad or Nook? The publishing world just seems to get increasingly complicated, doesn’t it? Especially for authors, who have a plethora of platforms on which to publish, each one potentially affecting their career in a different way.

The print and digital worlds came together Saturday to discuss the future of publishing at Litquake’s inaugural Digi.lit conference. That question: “What is the future of publishing?” feels like the literati’s current equivalent to “What is the meaning of life?” Co-founder Jack Boulware knew we wouldn’t find the answer in a day, but it was a good start.

The conference reigned in authors, agents, publishers, and local book stores, making for some entertaining—and enlightening—discussions. Here are the dispathces from the fronteir of publishing:

The Challenges:
“For print writers, a challenge of going digital is facing the ‘.com stigma’” –Chris Colin, author and journalist

“It used to be that the cover sold the book, now it’s meta data.”—Jon Fine, Director of Author and Publishing Relations, Amazon

“As we head into Digital Self Publishing 2.0, the main challenges are going to be the drive for quality and discoverability.” –Fine

“A big part of marketing a book is getting reviews, but most reviewers require a paper book. Getting reviews on a digital book can be difficult.”—April Eberhardt, agent

“What you won’t have as an author with digital publishing: Book events, publicity, or book stores. What you will have with digital publishing: Speed (more books, faster), and sales.” –Neal Pollack, author

The insight:
“The publishing business is 50 percent writing, 50 percent prostitution.” –Jay Hartman, editor

“If you’re entrepreneurial, this is the best time to get into publishing.” –Cameron Tuttle, author

“Media building is incredibly important right now, but it’s still not going to trump writing a goddamn good book.” –Isaac Fitzgerald, Director of Publicity, McSweeney’s

“In the future of publishing, agents and editors will become increasing important.” –Mary Mackey, author

“Think big. Think like a CEO. No matter what route you take, it’s got to be driven by you.” –Ted Weinstein, agent

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