Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Article Response: Do Authors Make Good Publishers?

I just finished reading "Do Authors Make Good Publishers?" on e-reads.  Although it is two months old, I was a little flabbergasted.  Richard Curtis seems to think the answer to that is "no."


Has anyone heard of Amanda Hocking? I started reading  her in December right before, literally about two weeks, before her books exploded in popularity and she sold over 100,000 books in one month!  I have managed to be able to touch base with her now and again on Twitter and on her blog.  She was rejected many times by literary agents and publishers and so frustrated was she, she published on her own with Amazon, Smashwords and B&N. She is now a self-made millionare in less than a year at the age of 26!
Most of Mr. Curtis's argument stems from the fact that he believes an editor, PR, cover art and formatting of the ebook material to just be too overwhelming and would prohibit the author from doing what they do best, which is writing.  It's far too complicated for just one person to handle and hey, you are the writer, you should be writing, right?  Don't let these other things take you away from that!

Whatever, dude. 

I have read a TON on publishing and its process.  I can tell you this:  it's time consuming whether you have help or not!  If you are the author, it doesn't matter whether you are scheduling and planning your own local bookstore tour or if the publisher gives you a book tour budget (highly unlikely as a first time writer and less likely as time goes on even for even established writers...) you as the author still have to do all the schmoozing, the standing, the signing, the picture posing and the traveling.  You, as the author, still have to participate in the interviews, fill out the email questionnaires, answer the phone calls and skype with the big contacts all while reading other authors so you can blurb for them as a courtesy for them blurbing for you.
When you are publishing a book, there is work involved.  Don't act like once we finish a book, our work is done, Mr. Curtis.

And don't act like you are invaluable.  It sounds like the publishing industry is desperately grabbing at straws as they see their meal tickets sliding away when once these same authors clamored for the publishing industry's attention.  We would agonize over who we were sending our precious manuscripts to and the literary agents had so much reading material, there are rumors of stacks two and three feet high of slush.
It sounds more like the publishing industry is miffed that there is a new kid and they are no longer the popular ones.

I understand Mr. Curtis does not speak for the whole of the publishing world; he is not their voted on spokesperson.  However, he is obviously a publishing insider and one wonders how many others share his view.  This is rapidly turning into an us vs. them issue, rather then a "there is no 'I' in 'team'" type mentality.  How dare we try to go off and do it on our own? The publishing process is sacrosanct and all the professionals involved are necessary players that absolutely must be involved in the process.

I've always been an independent spirit.  I'm not one for burning my bridges but I am in the process of completing my first manuscript and I will be thinking long and hard about the route I'd like to take!  

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