With the inevitable changes taking place now and in the future, I believe that authors are going to benefit in the long run.
As more and more of us publishers learn how to do our jobs, and then find that there aren’t enough jobs to go around, we’ll actually start to manipulate the business structure in the pub world. With the different POD options out there and the limited turn around time for making an Ebook from an Indesign file, it’s going to be easier to help authors get there books in print and available. With limited time and money, sliding scale royalty rates should apply, giving both the author and the publisher the opportunity to tailor to each individual project.
This means that instead of having to pay several hundred dollars to self-publish, an author could have a publisher do the same amount of work, getting paid only if the work sells. I know, I know, doesn’t sound like too good of a deal, right? But it just means more opportunities for the author to get their work out in the world.
Additionally, with all of the content that will be used in the big publishing houses (I’m thinking of creative marketing plans, web content, hyperlinked backstories, webisodes, etc.), authors will be some of the best people to fill those roles. Creating content, blurring the lines between real and virtual reality, will fall to the most prepared of the authors. Blogging, creating narratives (which can then be easily converted to some new Ebook device), and telling stories on netbooks and cellphones will serve some of the multiple narrative streams that authors will get to do.
While there might not be as many ways to make a huge ton of money off of a book directly, if (and this is a big IF) the book in question gets to that “tipping point”, based on the future’s interconnectedness, it will be easier to analyze the chances of getting viral (when fully analyzing the mavens and network brokers that visit your site), thereby helping well-connected authors get assistance in getting published.
Again, while there not be as many opportunities to make money, there will be many outlets for creativity.
And if they can eat and stay clothed, will be a good thing.