Change is Coming … Are We Ready For It?

I’m going way off base today. I’m writing this on the 44th anniversary of human’s first footsteps on the moon. As I write, I look up and see the Space Shuttle Atlantis displayed as if in orbit, complete with space dust still coating its surfaces. Sitting on a bench in the dimmed lighting, I’m surrounded by artifacts and history at the Kennedy Space Center.

Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, and Atlantis, the last manned mission in the shuttle program, represent the two bookends in the American space program.

Currently, the country does not have the means to put humans into space. The US has to rent space on a Soviet rocket to get to the International Space Station.

What does all this have to do with writing? Everything.

What most people don’t realize is that 45 years ago, before we reached the moon for the first time, a group of people at NASA had a dream of sending a reusable rocket to and from space. The entire country was focused on the Apollo program and putting a man on the moon. Before that task was completed, engineers and other scientists jumped into the shuttle project. After the winding down of the Apollo program, the first space shuttle, Columbia, launched on April 12, 1981.

Although the program suffered many setbacks and delays, the shuttle program brought a new era of space flight that sprouted from impossible scenarios and never-before-accomplished engineering and technology.

What would have happened if NASA had waited until the end of the Apollo program to start designing the shuttle? There would have been an 18-year delay in progress and exploration.

This leads me to writing. The traditional publishing industry has done the same thing for decades. Along comes the advent of self-publishing with new platforms, technologies, and distribution channels. Early adopters have embraced the opportunity. Many of you may feel like the indie publishing industry is already maturing. That’s the furthest from the truth.

As the traditional publishing world continues to plod along in the same fashion (old space flight) things are changing (the shuttle program) at light speed. We are the ones who will be in position to take full value of our changing future. We’re trying new things with technology and platforms that have never been done in the history of publishing.

We must innovate and BE the change for the future. People will look back and recognize what we’re doing as pioneers in the industry. All of our family here at IU is a part of that—sharing the who, what, and how to be successful as an indie author.

However, we can’t stop there. We must continue to innovate and push the limits. We must band together as one to help all our colleagues. We need to show the world that indie authors have something of quality and value to share with the world.

If we don’t, we may end up like the space program. You see, there’s more to this story. Now that the shuttle program is over, we can’t send anyone into space. People got comfortable with the shuttle program and thought it would go on forever. Sure, I understand that budgets and government play a role, but in the end, we are years away from being able to use our own rockets to get back to space.

As indie authors, we must be looking years, even decades, down the road. We’re not in this to get rich quick. We’re in this because we are passionate about what we do. We need to learn our business—formatting, editing, publishing, platforms, technology, distribution, and more. We need to know what changes are coming down the road.

No, I take that back. We need TO BE THE SOURCE of those changes. Let’s not get comfortable with our new-found toy. It may keep on going like this for years, but one day … it will change. Let’s be ready for that change before it happens.

Author: Jim Devitt

Jim Devitt’s debut YA novel, The Card, hit #1 in three separate categories on the Kindle Bestseller list in early January and was a finalist in the Guys Can Read Indie Author Contest this past summer. Devitt currently lives in Miami, FL with his wife Melissa and their children. Learn more about Jim at his blog and his Amazon author page.

24 thoughts on “Change is Coming … Are We Ready For It?”

  1. Great article, Jim! I just happen to be watching the mini series When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions right now as well, research for my WIP. It’s an inspiring documentary and gives me the drive to be like those early space explorers. I’m humbled to be a part of the exciting changes in the publishing industry. You are so right about needing to be looking to the future and striving to be the innovators of the changes ahead.

    1. Definitely not too late. I believe that we are seeing the first of changes, and as we continue to share resources and ideas, we’ll be the first to benefit from what’s coming down the pike.

  2. Well said Jim! I’m not sure I have decades in me, but continuing to push the envelope will make those decades a whole lot more fun. 🙂

  3. Super post, Jim, I’m with you wholeheartedly; great analogy, and I think pioneers is an excellent description. A couple of decades might being pushing the envelope for me too, but as long as there’s not too many bats in the belfry I’m gonna be having a ball.

  4. Yes, we’re the pioneers, the vanguards, the bleeding edge. It’s like having open-source for writers–we can write and become whatever we can imagine. Now that we’ve stormed the gates, there’s no holding us back. Great post!

  5. Well said Jim! You know my thoughts on where the space program is and I echo your concerns! Excellent analogy, yall are now on the cutting edge, but you need to make sure to stay there! Counting on yall to keep this reader entertained with excellent material for years to come!

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