I was talking with a friend who works in the financial industry, and a question came up about what we would each be doing 30 years from now. My friend was anticipating a prosperous retirement at that point, having built up a significant and valuable business. While the financial life of our nation has its ups and downs, the stock market is presumably not going anywhere, and can be counted on to provide an entire lifetime of employment.
Not so the publishing industry! Because the entire arena of publishing-agenting-authoring is undergoing such change, I’m not sure what to expect in five or ten years’ time, let alone more than that. I felt flummoxed. Where, indeed, will I be in 30 years?
Like most people who work around books, I’m pretty sure of a few things:
1. Readers will continue reading.
2. Writers will continue writing.
3. In some way, shape or form, publishers will still publish books.
4. Even with the rise of self-publishing, most writers will not want to be publishers, so there will be a need to help them get their work published and distributed, traditional or not.
5. There will continue to be a need to help readers find the kinds of books they want to read.
6. The definition of “platform” will become more refined and specific for individuals across all businesses, and there will be a need for experts to help people build healthy platforms.
7. The way people make money from books is going to be evolving for quite some time.
8. People who currently make their living based on their broad and deep knowledge of publishing should still be able to do this, but it may look quite different in a decade.
Even with these basics about which I’m pretty confident, I still can’t really envision what a “career in publishing” will look like in a couple of decades. What about you?
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