You're probably a little shocked that I'm posting, but I closed the Agency between Christmas and New Year's (as all good publishing businesses do - it's one of the very few remaining perks of the business), and I have some time to myself, which I give to you.
It's been a crazy year. Ebooks now outsell mass market titles, practically putting paperbacks out of commission. Borders went out of business completely. But more and more people are reading, and that includes a whole new generation of readers who now consider reading entertainment again.
When the dust settles, we will find that the author has come out ahead, although many who have toiled patiently in the low advance/reserve-against-returns fields for years, just don't see the corn for the seeds.
I've been an agent for almost a quarter of a century. I've had a lot of authors say they would do anything to make a good living as a writer, and then ask me what they should do. In the past, that answer had way too much to do with luck and timing, but today, a genre writer who puts in 40 hours a week can make a good living as a writer within two years of starting out through epub. The times they are a changing.
I believe we are entering a whole new world of publishing that resembles the pulp fiction heyday of the past. Readers want dependable books that they can devour, and authors who can deliver them consistently. This will be a renaissance of story telling. It's quite exciting.
Its also exciting that books have once again entered the water cooler conversation, as witnessed by the Steve Jobs bio. We all downloaded and read it almost immediately. How many of us are reading 11/22/63 right now?
I am really looking forward to 2012, and being part of this brave new world for writers and readers.