Monday, July 9, 2012

The Return of Amazing Adventures in Self Publishing

[Continued from Part Six.]

I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day about being creative and just getting out there and doing the things you've always wanted to do. Luckily for me, those things do not include base-jumping or hiking Mt. Everest or skydiving, so achieving the things I want to someday achieve is theoretically within reach.

As I mentioned on Saturday, I'm awaiting pricing information about the printing of a children's book that I've written and had illustrated. The book, from my end, is basically done. It needs another couple pairs of eyes to act as objective observers and proofreaders. (That's what we call in the biz a "cold read," kids.)

So far, though, I've shown the book to a pretty good number of folks who have given me lots and lots of positive feedback. The same buddy I mentioned up at the top of this post also said about the book--about the art, specifically--that "It's somewhere I'd want to live in."

That's a wonderful compliment for the artist, and one that I was very happy to hear as the aesthetic of the book is not exactly your standard children's book fare.

Which is, of course, exactly what I wanted when I set out to find the perfect artist for the project.

As I've said countless times on the blog, I have quite a bit of built-up resentment for the publishing industry as it currently stands. I'm not too in love with the fact that, when The Walking Dead hit big, all the big publishers jumped aboard the zombie bandwagon.

Or, when Twilight first took over the world, you couldn't throw a bookmark in a Borders without hitting a tween vampire thing.

I'm also quite tired of the notion that one must already be published in order to get published. That, as I like to say, is the stupidest thing ever. And, despite the fact that people in the books industry will tell you that's not the case at all...let me break some news for you: That's absolutely the case.

Sure, there are first-time authors who break in--of course there are. But they're so few and far between that the actual numbers might well drive a would-be writer to, well, maybe try something crazy.

Like self publishing.

I've read countless pieces online (by people who are published, by the way) about how self publishing has so diluted to market because, as they like the decry, "Now anyone can write a book."

Yes. Yes, they can. And that's the point.

Listen, I know from being looked down upon. Nobody in publishing considers what Nathaniel and I do here on the blog "being published." But guess what? We are published, and our work--for better or for worse--is out there for the entire Internet to see.

I have no delusions of grandeur, though. I get that our blog isn't Neil Gaiman's blog. I get that. I really do. But for "professionals" to dismiss blogs as being amateurish and somehow unworthy of recognition? Short-sighted, plain and simple.

But, that's the publishing industry in a nutshell. I mean, so far they've done such a good job with transitioning to digital, right?

Oh, there's a meteor coming? I'm sure it'll just blow right over us.

Yep, that was a low blow on my part. Sorry. And, yep, I get that digital sales are actually doing quite well. But, if the publishers figured out WHAT THE REST OF THE PLANET FIGURED OUT 5 YEARS AGO, maybe there would not have been so many layoffs of so many talented people.

Think about this for a second.

In publishing, the writer (the would-be money-maker) has to go out and, basically, woo an agent. How backwards is that? Can you imagine if that's the way professional sports teams operated?

Nah, we haven't seen Bryce Harper. Why not? Well, because he never sent us a query letter. Oh, wait. Perhaps it's on this slush pile behind me. I'll have my assistant look through them in the morning. But this Harper kid--is he any good?

Insanity. It's insanity that publishing works the way that it does, and it's amazing that there are still people out there screaming that self-publishing has "lowered the bar."

Ya know what, though?

While they push through yet another vampire love story with zombies invading a high school, I'll happily continue lowering the bar.

[Continued in Part Eight.]


Michael Gray said...

Ha, this was fantastically hilarious. And it's so true.

AJG said...

Thanks, Michael. Some things just can't be made up...