When poorly written trash like "Twilight" and "Fifty Shades of Gray" get published while authors with talent and skill languish in poverty, we have a problem. Rarely do we see any work today that has a real and thoughtful message and masterful prose. We're lucky if we get a novel with proper grammar.
I think if anything, we're at a new golden age for the American Author. With the internet and the ability to self publish, the ease to self publish, I think it's a great time to be an author. All that's happening is the landscape for authors is changing, it's easier than ever to get your work out there. I think the definition of who can be an author is changing. It's no longer such an elitist ideal.
We're not just experiencing the death of the American author; we're experiencing the death of great authors the world over. This is one of the few things I absolutely despise about the Internet. Everyone is an author now, and the good ones get swallowed up by all the garbage. That, plus there's way less money in it now. Which is awful.
The American author is not dead. A true reader of American authors will always love to read their work. The issue at hand, is not about the author, but how the reader is being exposed to the American author. If an author isn't allowing their work to be available on e-books or any electronic formats it creates a chance where they may not get exposure. American authors just need to find a "new normal" to attract its readers. The words of the author hasn't changed. The way the words are being displayed has because of technology.