I read something yesterday that suggested that there was a gap between what the traditional publishing world is doing and the kind of content that people get excited about. The statement not surprisingly came from an article on self-publishing.
Of course, we would all like to believe that we are that writer yet to be noticed by mainstream publishers and are certain as the night follows day that there we are just one of many worthy writers that have been overlooked, and perhaps hang to the belief that one day this fact will be history and that both of us (the right publisher who realizes this error and of course our self) will ultimately be rewarded.
Do publishers really not know what they are doing? To be certain, publishers in their vetting process do pick many books that go nowhere. However, the bottom line is these publishers do operate as a business enterprise and they do make money or they cease to exist. They are clearly also picking winners. The person exploring this topic suggested that the rise in Internet usage will actually force even traditional publishers to find ways to enter into non-traditional publishing. In doing so, will this bring greater respectability to both the Internet and self-publishing?
There are to be sure, problems with using an Internet model for traditional publishers and keeping profitability a part of the picture. I am not implying those problems are insurmountable, but how many people actually pay to read something on the Internet? Such a model would likely have to include advertising.
Some mainline publishers are however entering the print-on-demand markets, and those are likely more promising. I believe most avid readers of literature and poetry still want something in their hand as they read and don't want to scroll down a computer screen. Such print-on-demand would still carry a brand name that is equated with some degree of professionalism. Hence, there would continue to be a gap between what such a company offers and what you or I create ourselves privately in a POD format.
If there is a big gap between what traditional publishers are putting into the market place and what the public really wants, how do writers reach those people to fill that gap? This is the challenge for private publishing.