Sunday, May 29, 2011

Publishing Debate II

Recently I served as a mercenary in the war between traditional big-house publishers and "the other options". I noticed a usually good posting board was warning against a publishing route-- with my publisher, but relying on misinformation and misdirection. So I signed up and jumped in, to try and clear things up.

Ouch. What I found was a group that really didn't want to hear anything which contradicted the group opinion. It was like a Tea Party rally, where someone spouts something totally insane and untrue, while the others nod agreement. When you disagree, they challenge your discussion points, but using completely untrue statements as contrary evidence. You spend so much time countering the untruths, the real point gets lost. They keep compounding the untruths, until you realize that nothing will change, because they have a vested interest in "being right."

A few of the big laughers:
"Publishers would never let one of their books go unpromoted."
I asked the poster to go to a writer's conference and make that statement in public, to see the response. Truth is, it happens fairly frequently, and books die an inglorious death.

"Publishers aren't concerned with 'self-publishers'."
Wow. This shows that they don't know what they're talking about. Read any of the hundreds of articles of the past few years detailing how the big publishers are absolutely panicked (with good reason), and don't know how to react. After the news broke of author Barry Eisler turning down a half-million-dollar, two-book traditonal contract to 'self-publish', you don't think the big dogs spit their Scotch onto their deep-pile carpets? What happens when more of their cash cows take that route? The big houses rely on a handful of big names for their profits, and if those go, it's 'going-out-of- business' time.

So with statements like that being tossed out, another poster tried to school me with 'nobody gets a free pass here'.
Unless they agree with you, and make really dumb claims...

It turns out that a number of those pushing traditional, big-house publishing as the only path were those who had, or knew someone who had, benefitted from the lottery-win situation of those houses. I'd been saying that for those who wanted to go that route, great, but I was taking another option. Some refuted my option, and blew off the examples of independent success I'd countered with. Then they wondered why I wouldn't go into an in-depth debate, point-for point. But I noticed the person really pushing this was making the most outrageous statements, and had thousands of posts on the site. Frankly, I've got better writing to do than post a couple of thousand responses to someone who won't listen. They just want a debate- but it won't change their mind, no matter what.

You have fun with that- while you diddle around the posting boards, spreading misinformation and scoring points, I'm going to be publishing and selling stories and books.

For a view of what's going on, here's an article on how book publishers are in denial on Amazon's e-book sales:

One quote from a publisher:
"But everyone involved makes less money from the sale of an e-book."

Uh, not everyone. The creator of the actual work gets as much, if not more. They're the ones I root for in this equation. This is part of the problem- big publishing houses made tons of money, while screwing the producers of "the product". Now that writers have a better chance to make money, the big publishers have lost the publishing monopoly, and they hate it.

And two more stories from today's Boston Globe. One about a writer who tried to publish a book concerning a critical detail about the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. He tried for years, and they turned him down. The second story was about another writer whose book was turned down 165 times, over the course of 25 years, before he was finally published.

Unacceptable. So viva la revolution! I've got my first book out, and will get others out, while the traditional world keeps insisting we go through them as gatekeepers, even though their gates are broken and streams of invaders have poured through.

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