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Whopped upside the head

The sad old man

I am like the sad old guy whose wife has left him for a younger, more sparkling, man, but refuses to believe it, to face facts, who continues about his day as if his wife is just out getting her hair done or stopping by the market, and she will be back pretty soon. But she won’t.  She’s making her bed elsewhere and she’s never coming back.

The publishing business has left me behind, taken abed younger authors, and I can engage in all the nostalgic ranting I want, and she just isn’t coming home to me.

Of course, nothing’s stopping me from trying to seduce me a younger publishing business, now is there?

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13 replies »

  1. Nope. Nothing at all. Here you are with a blog and all as well. Seduce away. That Wideman news is pretty stunning. I’m curious to see how he’ll do.

    It’ll be easier with an established name. I wonder who the next one to move over will be.

    • Oh, I see. Damn. Well, like Brad said, he’s an established name. The problem for those of us operating in obscurity remains breaking out of said obscurity. That’s the only way a model like Lulu makes sense, if you’ve already got an audience. And the only way to get an audience is …?

      Well, I continue to believe, possibly naively, that if you write very, very well, eventually you’ll find your way through. You just better keep your dayjob in the meantime!

      • Oh, and I’m with Brad, Don. As we’ve previously discussed around here, you’ve got a backlist of books, to say nothing of your current ones, that are just begging to be sent out into the wild digital world … you’re way ahead of Brad and myself there, obviously.

  2. Thanks for your comments, guys.

    Yes, I do have a five book backlist and two still hanging in there in print. I also have a finished novel that I have decided to write again, changing it from 1st to 3rd person, with all that entails. And the novel I am about halfway through at this point. If those two get published, I will have nine published books. I should probably write one more anyway, to get an even ten.

    Lulu makes sense to me as a last resort, as the only way left to get your work in print and available for interested readers to purchase. This is entirely a guess because I have no information about it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Wideman’s Lulu venture is with a work that made the rounds and got no offers.

    Would I go the Lulu like route? I can’t say right now, but the fact I don’t just say no is a major change in my thinking. Everything about print on demand makes sense, except for finding a way to create the demand.

    Finally, Court, your assumption is both naive and wrong. No, you can write very, very well, and tell very fine stories, and that is no guarantee of finding someone willing to spend money to publish it. In a better world … but this is not a better world. It is the same old one. Stories are legend of books and writers we think of as classics in every sense who were rejected dozens, sometimes hundreds of times, and struggled for years, or decades, and often the classic ended up published almost by happenstance, a fluke.

    There is just a lot more to it than simply being very good.

    Were that it weren’t.

  3. awww. what can i say, as someone who hasn’t got a book out…where i live, even those who have their books published, they’re terribly marginalized and their presence is pretty much invisible to anyone else. nobody cares.

  4. Oh dear, this all sounds terribly depressing and I am sorry for it. I have been doing a lot of reading lately and staying away from the Internet as much as possible and I felt better, stronger even but now…
    What is this morose lament I am reading? Why for is Don dumped for younger trendier model when he has but to click his fingers and damsels twirl at his behest?!

    • That is the case everywhere, Nicole, certainly not only in Hong Kong.

      I just want it to be the way it used to be … oh darling, please come home to me and it will be just the way it used to be. Remember our honeymoon? Remember our days of bliss in the early years? Can’t we have that again? Not when the new hottie is prancing naked before the mirror.

      Yeah. Sure.

  5. The Wideman book is a collection of “microstories” and that’s likely the reason it wasn’t picked up by a traditional publisher. I’m still surprised that he went the Lulu route as opposed to a small press publisher, but with a name perhaps there’s no difference between self-publishing/POD…etc and small press distribution?

    • I didn’t know what Lulu is until Rose put the link here. I looked at the site, and I can’t see that’s it is in any way different from the usual “vanity press” books that have been around for a century or more. Like Vantage Books. There are others — Author House and Xlibris come to mind. You pay their expenses and they are happy to print up some books for you. A lot is going to have to change in the book world before the stigma attached to this “vanity” publishing fades away, if it ever does. I have no idea what Wideman’s thoughts are, but essentially he is paying to have this book privately printed.

      Maybe one day I would be compelled to do this, too. If I had a book I loved and no legitimate publisher would take it. Maybe.

      But the fact remains, publishers pay authors for the right to print and distribute their work. Other than this is vanity printing.

  6. Take a look at this Youtube video:

    It’s a children’s book demonstration on the iPad. Amazing. I’m not sure what it means for literary fiction, but I do recall that Faulkner wanted different colored text in The Sound and the Fury to denote the perspective changes. He couldn’t get that done then. Now he could.

    While I do generally lament this long dying we’re in the midst of, that video makes me hopeful, or at least interested in what’s coming up.

  7. The iPad is an interesting piece of electronics, and my wife is determined to get one when she’s in the States for business this June.

    I think it makes a superior educational tool. And it is nice to carry around all that stuff in a package the size of one book. To offer a set of interactive encyclopedias in this one thing is handy.

    I like the way pages are turned. I hate the way pages are turned (on whim sometimes) on a Kindle, and I truly detest missing page numbers on the Kindle. I hope the iPad page will look exactly like a book page.

    It would look forlorn and lonely on a book shelf all by itself.

    But then, except for its little package, it only duplicates what computers already do.

    Books let me imagine my way and do not show me how to imagine.

    When my wife gets one, I will play with it for a while, until it gets old, but I suppose I will read books in books.