Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Job Loyalty and the Publishing Industry - I Wasn't Fast Enough

With the recession still lingering, Americans are not changing jobs as frequently these days. At least those of us who are fortunate enough to have jobs. I was checking my e-mail and found one of those news stories e-mail services often post when you sign-in to check your e-mail. It did not occur to me to bookmark the story and when I went back to do so, the story had been rotated off the page.

The story in question was about the ten jobs in the United States with the least turnover. Number six or seven on the list of ten was jobs in the legacy publishing industry. The average term of employment at the time of the study was 5.7 years with their current employer. The national average is 3.4 years.

I don't want to see anyone lose their job, unless they have done something to deserve it. You have to wonder though what is going on through the minds of many of the people currently employed by the legacy publishers. 

J.A. Konrath wrote a post yesterday about the bulk of the negative talk about self-publishing trends being a danger to the quality of books published. Konrath states most of the negative talk comes from legacy authors who feel threatened by current trends as well as the legacy publishers themselves.

With the number of authors simply opening up shop on their own, declining sales for the traditional publishers, and the stories that have to be floating around the offices of editors, designers and proofreaders who have gone freelance to serve the rising numbers of self-publishing authors, it has to be a source of concern for those who remain behind in the traditional publishing industry.

For many it must be a fearful time. They possess skills that have value in the self-publishing world but value the security of steady employment with benefits, not to mention the "respect" of working for a "real" publishing company. At what point in time does an individual decide to abandon security and go out on their own?

Another question that must be going through the minds of many of these skilled employees is what if I stay too long? When do I go out on my own? If I leave too soon and the self-publishing "craze" passes, how will I get my foot back in the door of a traditional publisher? What if I wait too long and when the number of self-publishing authors levels out and the editors, etc, who are established have locked up the industry?

We live in interesting times.