Pondering the finer aspects of the literary industry while driving through the Ozarks this holiday, I realized how glad I am that I don't have a best seller, or really any seller, right now. I'm all for making money off of my writing, but at this point the publishing industry is changing so fast that this strikes me as a particularly lousy time to have your first best seller. As someone currently in no danger whatsoever of having a best selling anything, this may all smack of rationalization, of course, but nothing locks a person into future failure like past success. We all fall prey to trying to replicate our past glories, even if the circumstances enabling that old glory no longer exist. In these uncertain times, having no past success to replicate may very well be the easier route to future success.
Maybe the future of writing looks a lot like the past, with agents and publishers serving as gatekeepers to the "real" literary market. Perhaps the future looks like the realized gospel of the indie publishing revolution, with few or no middlemen between authors and readers. Heck, maybe the future of writing is me selling every twentieth tweet to a sponsor. The point is, I don't know what the future of writing looks like, and I am pretty sure that no one else knows for certain either.
Probably, I never will figure out the current future of professional writing except in retrospect, looking back on someone else's career. Without personal past success to try to replicate, though, I feel like I have a chance of feeling my way along to something that works for me. Check back with me in twenty years or so, I guess.