Friday, January 2, 2009

Molding with change

There has been a huge hubbabaloo on a email loop I'm a part of. The group is ACFW which is a group of writers who are, or hope to be, CBA fiction authors.

The basis of this conversation rests on a NYT Article.

I'd encourage you to go read it [I linked to it above], but if you can't, here's a summary. The author talks about buying used books online. Then claims that this is leading to the decline of bookstores and back lists.

I may not be very old [early 30s]-so maybe there's something I'm missing- but what is the point of fussing about something we can't control?


We cannot go out and force people to purchase new books for $15 when they can get an old one for $3. It's called common sense.

So, our role as writers is to recognize this reality and find out how to build our writing income in the current environment.

Negative: Sales of back list books are down from publishers.
Positive: Sales of back list books continue through online retailers.
How we can use this: People are still buying books. The decreased cost of resale allows people who might not otherwise want to purchase our book the opportunity to buy our book.

Negative: Amazon is taking over the world.
Positive: Innovations like Kindle and Sony's version offer the opportunity to eliminate the lost revenue of the previous negative.

Negative: Brick and Mortar stores are closing.
Positive: The establishment of online purchases allows authors the opportunity to link to websites that sell their books. Instant gratification as well as increased personal interaction between author and reader.

Negative:Online resellers are driving second hand bookstores out of business.
Positive: The power of the internet allows people who previously could not earn money selling books the opportunity to resell their books. These people use their proceeds to pay gas bills, eat food and, yes, buy other books. As long as we keep money flowing in the economy we are able to keep the gears of industry moving. This is necessary to avoid depressions, recessions and other yucky things.

So, instead of trying to find ways to STOP the inevitable-we need to adapt.

For far too often people have tried to block things they don't like. UAW factories say no "foreign" cars on their property while their domestics are full of foreign parts. Oops. In France they tried to legislate the percentage of foreign language entertainment allowed on their airwaves. Now you can buy a Big Mac in the streets of Paris.

It is the innovators who rise above. Do you want to be an innovator or a Chicken Little pointing at the sky?

Find out about my coaching, editing and products from my website and make 2009 your year of innovation.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at
Learn more about Tiffany's Marketing techniques on her main blog.
Read Tiffany's award winning manuscript "A Face in the Shadow" on her fiction blog.
She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer's Rest.


Jennifer Roland said...

Change is scary, and few people can truly anticipate the outcome. You are on the right track looking at change as an opportunity rather than an evil to prevent at all costs.

Yokel (TKS) said...

Tiffany, thanks for the post.

I spent the better part of the last couple of years being a bit of a chicken little, I realize now.

It was less about withdrawing from the writing world, however, and had more to do with pressures that came from within a particular writing community I'd been part of for such a long time.

When I finally cut ties and headed back into the writing world with new goals and ideas, it took me a while to realize that any guilt I felt about wanting to go back to my former genre loves was mostly because I had become so used to making the group happy. They weren't particularly supportive of my stepping away from genre and moving toward another, as they'd come to know me in one way, but not in the way I was leaning.

It turns out that the whole "sky is falling" mentality was just my way of trying to excuse myself from their world. And boy am I glad I did.

Listen, they were well meaning, but I'm starting 2009 fresh, with no remorse about making the decisions I've made.

It helps so much to hear encouragement about change and to be reminded that for every doomsday cloud comes a silver lining, which is a rule I've come to live by in my writing life.

Happy New Year to you and thanks for an ongoing blog filled with smart posts.