Show me a writer who wants to self-publish and I'll show you a liar.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

You're in a deep sleep.

You're in the deepest stage of REM.  You conceive the foundation of the greatest plot arc and story outline to ever see the light of day.  Something about a janitor who solves complex mathematical theorems and geometrical mysteries.  You wake up.  It's 4:17 am.  You don't care.  You scramble for the notebook and pen you've stashed underneath your mattress in preparation for a night like this.  You write feverishly through the early morning dawn until the midnight moon is gleaming through your bedroom window.

Next thing you know, you have the next Great American Novel on your hands (well, at least that's what your mom tells you).  What do you do now?

Uncle Neil would never sell out.  But not everyone call play
a mean harmonica like him.

If you really believe in your work, then you pimp that puppy out to any and every established publishing house that will give you the time of day.  There's no question.  Why wouldn't you?  Beyond having your work published and distributed through an established legitimate enterprise, you're measuring your work against the highest of standards and predecessors.  The feeling of some grumpy old editor looking at your work and deeming it worthy to stand beside the likes of (insert your favorite published work here________) I think would be beyond pleasing and self-gratifying.

Self-publishing your work seems like a shortcut.

Would Joyce, Kerouac, or even Dan Brown be nearly as renowned and successful had their works been self-published?  Way to hard to say.  Their work (I can't really speak for Brown, as I've never even seen the cover of the DaVinci Code) is great in every sense of the word.  But publishing houses receive thousands upon thousands of manuscripts, novels, etc a year.  Really, only the best-of-best make the cut.  I know that's a huge generalization, and I'm sure there's way more politics involved in the book publishing business.  But, it's the standard to what the true works of literary art are held to.

The difference is professional grade work versus amateurism.  A little birdie told me that there are 30,000 blogs started everyday.  Clearly, anyone can upload their thoughts and inner workings online and call it art and literary marvel.

Traditional published works legitimize the purchase for the consumer.  I can read a blog for free.  Books cost money.  Am I going to shell out my hard earned income on some unestablished newbie with a high-speed Internet connection and an Indigo account, or on a tangible, seal-of-approval stamped, refined and perfected hardcover book?

I'm going with the devil I know.



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