The Long Haul in Publishing
Everything we read informs us that the public’s attention span has dropped like an anchor in shallow waters and the window for judging success has been squeezed down to microdot size.
Movies are judged by their opening week returns.
In the New York Times, Jeff Huber Google’s senior vice president of engineering (adopting the Nurse Rached philosophy) sets out how he wields the executioner’s sword brining it quickly brought down on projects that don’t quickly show financial results.
Perhaps this will be a direction for authors in the Brave New publishing world.
It wasn’t that long ago that writers like Ian Rankin had time to build an audience. Not that the axe didn’t hover over his neck, but his novel Blue gave him a reprieve.
Ian Rankin has been interviewed on the subject in Scruffy Dog: http://www.thescruffydogreview.com/Rankin.html
"There were a lot of years back then when I just wasn't selling. The first six or seven books sold very poorly and then suddenly Black and Blue came along at a time when my publishers were getting ready to drop me. They felt they had done everything they could to try and break me into a bigger market, so they were getting ready to let another publisher take a shot. Everything just clicked. I've got diary entries from around Mortal Causes time saying how disastrous it all was; the books aren't selling, they're not getting well reviewed, and that was eight years of my writing career. I was panicking."
Has Jeff Huber switched on the warning light in the tunnel where authors are working the coalface?