The Crack of the Axe and the Cherry Tree Falls

This is a quick one, but you MUST read Garrison Keillor’s heartfelt, ironic and insightful Op-Ed in today’s New York Times: The End of an Era in Publishing.

Times are changing so rapidly that none of us can keep pace. What publishing once was, even a few years ago when I sold my first novel, is no more. I say this with great compassion, appreciation and even encouragement for so many of us who are working so hard to create works worthy of being read.The Cherry Orchard
Read Keillor’s piece, and you will get the picture. His analogies are perfect. We are at a historic moment and there’s no turning back. How can we “literary people” not see what’s coming with so many brilliantly illustrative precedents? Is it A Tale of Two Cities? Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard?

The digital age is creating an egalitarian revolution with publishing available to all. Equality and accessibility don’t guarantee that anything will be better. Only different. It is a changing of the guards. The great bastions of publishing are crumbling as the hoards batter at the walls. Is the old guard sipping wine in the sunset of last glory, or are they arming for a new strategic attack?

Either way, we cannot pretend it’s not happening. If we did, we’d all be fools. But we must adapt or be left unassimilated, wandering aimlessly and bemoaning our past and our fate, recalling the cherry orchard that had to be sold.

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