If you read just one blog about the publishing industry and all the changes going on, read the blog of Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Every Thursday she writes a post in a series called The Business Rusch and it is, quite seriously, the best thing since sliced bread.
From her most recent post:
In this blog over the past few years, I’ve been detailing the changes as they’ve occurred. I’ve been trying to impart my knowledge as a former (and current) publisher, an award-winning book-and-magazine editor, and a bestselling writer to all you folks as the changes occurred so that you would have the information you need for the choices that you have to make.
Read through her articles and you will learn so much about the history and current state of the publishing industry that it will boggle your mind. This fantastic lady knows what she's talking about, she's been in the industry and seen in from many sides for decades. She's not just a writer who managed to get a few published books, she's a professional who has built a career in publishing. She's a smart and savvy businesswoman.
Ms. Rusch emphasized that the industry is radically different than it used to be. It used to be that there was only one path to getting published. One size fits all. Now there are many paths and every writer has to choose the one which is right for them. But you can't make that choice unless you understand your options, understand the business. She encouraged writers to learn about the publishing business so that they can take their careers in their own hands and make the right choices for themselves.
I know that, having read her blog obsessively for some months now, I certainly feel better armed to faces all the choices and challenges ahead. I can't possibly recommend it highly enough.
My second recommendation, which easily matches my first for usefulness, is the blog of Dean Wesley Smith. He's another industry professional: best selling author, former editor, former publisher. Dean is actually Kristine's husband and it's a wonder that their house doesn't burst into flames from too much collected sense. He writes a few insanely useful series on his blog: New World of Publishing, How to Think Like a Publisher, and Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing. Killing the Sacred Cows is probably my favorite because one could just as easily call it "Debunking the Logical Fallacies of Publishing" and I'm like Spock in my love of logic.
His point is that there's been a lot of faulty thinking perpetuated by the publishing industry over the years, most of which is beneficial to publishers but dangerous to authors. Dean, despite having worked as an editor and publisher, has his loyalty firmly with the writer and so he actively works to help us overcome these illogical ways of thinking that publishing has ground into the writer, hoping to help us step up and take control of our own writing careers, to be smart businesspeople with our writing. I guess he's developed a bit of a reputation as a reactionary in some circles, but as I read his posts I can detect nothing but solid knowledge and experience, good sense, and reasonable advice.
He's a defendant of and advocate for writers everywhere, wanting us to get the most out of our careers that we can, and I appreciate that.
Finally, I recommend the blog of Robin Sullivan, Write to Publish. Robin is another savvy businesswoman. In this case, she was successful in other fields first before becoming a publisher and publicist for her author husband, Micheal J. Sullivan. She worked hard to make him successful in the arena of self-publishing first, but now she runs a small press called Ridan Publishing. I like Robin because she recognizes the worth in multiple paths to publishing success. She's not a self-publishing only advocate, or a small press only advocate, or a traditional publishing only advocate. She works in all those arenas (having secured a nice 6 figure deal for her husband's self published books with a major publisher) and has success in all those arenas.
Her blog offers a lot of practical information and tips. She monitors the market and the industry and often posts her findings in hard numbers. She also offers great tips to authors from how to pick a title, whether to use a pen name, to branding, to how to use social media to increase your author presence and much more. It's definitely a valuable resource for writers.
I really hope that some of you will explore these blogs and get as much out of them as I have. It's because of them that I feel confident about my future as an author, that I know how I want to create my career. Good luck and happy reading!