Terrific article today by writer Pete Morin and his decision to publish the way he did. Go ahead and read it, commentary to follow:
I was there when Pete made his pitch, and Christine said "send it!" He was gobsmacked, while I was envious-- damn, a power agent-- he was on his way, and would have a book with a traditional big New York house.
Fast forward to two years later.
Nope, he had a good book with a dedicated agent, and still the Powers That Be in NY wouldn't publish it.
Because they wouldn't know how to market it. They freely admit they know nothing about the business of bookselling, how to sell a good book.
They want the equivalent of fast food- greasy, cheap, crappy burgers and mashed chicken bits, all tasteless, with tacked-on flavorings, all the same, to be sold at thousands of outlets for the masses.
Nothing good, nothing original, just the same endless crap shovelled over and over. Because there are people who buy this junk food-- it's easy, and the pub houses make money from it, without having to do much of anything. The A-B-C formulaic "Best-Sellers" are the bread-and-butter of the pub houses and bookstores, and they fill their shelves with this stuff.
Problem is, if you're doing the same old formula book after book, with nothing new, you're not much of a writer, you're more a typist (thank you, Truman Capote for that line). A real writer is an artist in the medium, and that requires us to take chances, to push the envelope-- we need to irritate, to outrage, to scandalize, to disturb. To write something memorable, not something exactly the same as the last six books.
But that kind of writing won't get past the gatekeepers. A few years ago, this was cause for depression-- there was no other viable path to reach a number of readers. Consigned to the margins, the best one could hope for was a posthumous fame.
But now there are options, and kudos to Pete for taking control of his situation. He's dead on the money-- we no longer have to wait for someone to give us "legitimacy,"-- that's what the readers do, when they buy, and like it. We make our own path, get our readers without the support of chain stores and paid-for reviews and marketing campaigns-- we do it all ourselves.
To those who cling to the old NY aristocracy, even as it collapses around them, we say that we'll be writing and selling and growing our fan base, while thousands of wannabes sit nervously by their mailboxes, waiting years for the NY Pub gods to pluck them from obscurity and propel them instantly to fame and fortune. Yeah, and I want to win the lottery. But guys like Pete and I aren't going to sit and wait for someone to find us, we're going to find readers by cranking out books and stories and selling them.
I read Pete's stories on Smashwords-- they're really good-- and I bought his book-- if it's as good as the stories, I'm in for a treat. This is the kind of writer I support-- a real one. I never go into a chain store and buy the lastest ghostwritten piece of crap by the machine that's always got a book on the special list.
He's even got a story for free: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/64593
And pennies for this collection: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/71893
And his book (a bargain), the concept which snagged a top agent in seconds: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/91217