Thursday, December 9, 2010

Publishing: things to freak out about!

I started thinking the other day about "The End Of Publishing" talk that swirls around the web-osphere like phosphorescence on a moonlit sea. 

I will read a blog or article that recounts how it's all just the-sky-is-falling talk, and then the NYTimes will publish an article saying nobody will ever publish a picture book again. Ever. I feel like I can get away from it, only to turn around and find it's just behind me, waiting to pounce.

So, not that this is methodical research or anything, but I wanted to remind us all of a few things people have gotten really worked up over, but have come to nothing!  Here are my top FOUR.

1. Salem Witch Trials.  Okay, maybe the victims wouldn't call it nothing, but ultimately, it wasn't really a case of witches corrupting Salem's women.

2. The Cold War. Again, I know it was a big deal at the time. I remember watching the movie Red Dawn and freaking out that Soviet paratroopers might want to land at my high school. It's included on this list because it's a little mind boggling (for me) to think about all the energy, and time, and nuclear proliferation devoted to something that just doesn't exist anymore.

3. Evil messages backmasked into heavy metal music. This always makes me snicker when I think about it now. Ummm, I guess we were a naive and technologically kinda dumb world at the time. I remember lots of urban legends about all the secret messages slipped into heavy metal music.

Now I realize most of those bands were probably too drugged up to be mixing anything secret into anything. Having watched the Osbournes I wonder if Ozzy had any agenda, ever.
Not to mention this was a golden marketing move for these bands.

4. Y2K. Again, it makes me cringe a little to remember how worked up everyone was about this. In retrospect it really was a "the sky is falling" moment. The good news is: once you have a panic room/ safe room/ bomb shelter, you always have a panic room/ safe room/ bomb shelter.

They never go out of style, and it won't be long before you'll "need" one for a new crisis!

So, what crises are you planning a safe room for?

What else have people freaked over in the past,  that can make us feel better about all this publishing talk?


  1. Awesome post, and OMG, Cold War UNICORNS? That's AMAZING.

    Yeah, Y2K makes me cringe, as does the Avian and Swine flu (though I realize it super sucked for China/Mexico).

    I think you're right that people are waving their hands a lot for publishing, reality, it's not the END. Just some changes. :D

  2. Lol! People saying books are on their way out reminds me of people saying that TV would never catch on. Not that I was around at that time, but you know what I mean - sometimes people do NOT have their finger on the real pulse. All publishers need to do is convince parents that picture books are essential for children's neurological development and then they'll be back in style. Publishing houses should really put their marketing teams to work on this.....

  3. LOVE this post...the metal music thing I always found ridiculous. I was a A-B student in high school rocking out to alternative and hard rock music and never once did I want to murder/mutilate anyway *sigh* our society is so strange sometimes...

  4. Great post! I do remember all the fuss about Y2K and how at midnight we all just blinked at each other like: "oookay." I think the same will happen once 2012 comes and goes.

  5. I don't stress about the publishing talk. The authors and readers will win, and that's what I care about the most.

    It's not like picture books, etc. are going away, it's our way of consuming/producing them that is changing. The publishing industry isn't going anywhere, it's simply adapting via the Darwin method: Evolve or die.

    Have you read picture books on an iPad or the new Nook Color? It's a great experience!

    Writers will continue to write, and readers will continue to read. That's all that should really matter unless you work for Random House or Borders. If you do, it might be time to dust off the resume, because the industry is in flux.

    I just got my Mayan almanac for 2012, and it looks like a bad year for planting corn. :)

  6. Such a great post. I remember all of these. Of course, the heavy metal one makes me laugh every time.

  7. Susan- don't you just love the web. You type in cold war + images, and then something like cold war unicorns appear. Magic.

    Mummazappa, those forecasts about the tv were WAY off, huh?

    Marquita- totally. Music rarely gets people to commit crimes.

    Pam- you are so right. I remember that oookay moment, too. Funny!

    thanks Holly.

    EJ- True. Reading, whatever the format, will always exist.

    You joke about the Mayan thing-- their apocalypse is scheduled for my husband's birthday. 12/21/2012. Awkward! No, wait... excuse for a great party!

  8. Great post! yes, I remember Y2K and then everyone woke up the next day and low and behold, all the computers were fine!!

    Here's my little confession. I had THE worst case of the world is going to end psychosis when I was pregnant with my youngest son. I was convinced we'd get stuck in the basement for days on end with no drinking water and no way to get the many cans of food open that were down there. So... I went out and bought a case of bottled water and a can opener. Needless to say, both are now gone. :)

  9. Man, cold war unicorns, want! Bird flu and swine flu definitely come to mind--not that they weren't serious in some areas, but we didn't end up losing whole chunks of the world's population.

  10. True Amie- avian flu almost made the list... but I knew it had been worse in other places, so I didn't want to downplay it. Definitely didn't fulfill the dire predictions.


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