I'm very excited about some of the conversations I've been reading from tweets from people at DBW and wasn't even at first aware of the almost universal lack of authors there until I started to read about all the things the speakers were telling publishers to do that authors have been doing for over a decade.
Bethanne Patrick noticed the same thing. And we looked. Out of 73 speakers, 2 are authors. (She's blogged about it here.)
In 1999 when I started doing the publishing column for Wired.com it was the authors who innovated... Doug Clegg wrote the first e-serial novel... and started him building a newsletter list when no one in the biz side understood the value of an author having the email addresses of his readers ... When his publisher wouldn't agree to give ebooks of Unleashing the Idea Virus out for free Seth Godin did it himself and then self pubbed a $40 hardcover that sold out in six weeks.. Clegg and I started website book tours which later author Kevin Smokler - another author - moved the idea to blogs... on and on... Authors are idea people.
We create. Not just books.
There were authors before there were publishers and I dare say there will be authors post publishers. We can tell stories and gather information and find ways to share it... but publishers can't publish without authors.
Listen, i don't want to be a publisher. I want to be my publisher's partner. I feel that I need them. But I also want to feel they need me.
If publishing is going to flourish don't we need to be partners? What do you think?