Sunday, October 16, 2005

For those of you coming over from my previous digs, welcome. Expect a rather different take on things here; I doubt I'll post short little links to things quite as often, but rather will embark on slightly longer takes. Which means that you probably don't need to check in here every day, if you know what I mean. Unlike some other writers and editors who blog, I apparently don't multitask as well, and between the writing, the job, the kids, the sports, and being sick (did I mention that this morning I was in ER being diagnosed with walking pneumonia? No boogie woogie blues, though).

I'm going to import some of my more important stuff over from Cold Ground over the next couple of weeks, so that may be the bulk of what shows up here for the first little while. Everything on PublishAmerica, especially on the Atlanta Nights sting (and I'll get Wikipedia updated when that comes over), everything else on scams and on the business of writing that I may have scribbled.

In the meantime, have a look at this glorious site called Best publishing options: Unbiased, Consumer Information. And when I say glorious, I of course mean pretty damn ugly.

First of all, I sit stunned that I managed to read through the entire thing without severe eyestrain. Who The Hell Writes Every Sentence Where They Capitalize Every Single Frickin' Word? Every sentence on every page.

There is a disclaimer on the site noting that they don't get paid to advertise their "Editors' Picks Recommended Companies For Publishing." No, I imagine not, but I think click throughs on the ads feed them revenue, and I see no ads for what they interestingly call a 'Publisher.' And no, I don't know why they do that.

Anyhow, onward. Here’s a great line: "Get An Excellent Attorney And Congratulations If A Traditional Publishing House Picks You Up!"

This is an almost passive aggressive approach to the whole thing, wouldn't you say? Previous paragraphs talk about the pros of getting a contract, but by gum, make damn sure you get an attorney! Ordinary attorneys won't do, incidentally. Because the secret code is that Traditional 'Publishers' are out to get you.

Cherry picking a few more items, jumping down the page you suddenly come to a lengthy list of Cons involved with traditional publishing. Life is too short to pick at everything, but it sure comes as a shock to hear that it’s a negative that the publisher wants to maximize the commercial impact of your work. I suppose (no, actually, I know, sadly) that there are writers who don’t care about sales, who insist it is only about the art or the craft and they would never bring themselves to prostituting themselves or their words. Is it because these are the people who write works nobody wants to read, or are they actually the Johns of the biz, buying services from those back alley-strolling vanity presses who feed on the unsuspecting customers, sticking tongue in ear and stroking a hopeful erection while digging for the wallet with the other hand?

There seems to be some concern about owning your own ISBN, too. Apparently, if you don’t own your own and you wish to be published by someone else, this could be a Bad Thing. Never mind that most people I know don’t Google the bloody ISBN, they Google the title. Hell, even bookstores these days usually go with the title. ISBNs are for catalogues from established publishing houses.

Talking about marketing, the site even suggests that lightening (sic) can sometimes strike, and maybe YOU! Will be lucky enough to be picked up by Oprah’s Book Club. Yeah, they temper that idea with a short notice that it isn’t bloody likely, but encouraging impossible dreams has long been the ideal of the vanity and self publishing, so what’s an obnoxious billionaire talk show huckster between friends?

On the plus side, there seems to be some good advice scattered throughout, things that make perfect sense to what one would hope would be everyone, but somehow even slip through the minds of new (and sometimes even established) pros. Like, say, examine your contract.

There’s a boatload of sites like this kicking around the web, many far more dangerous than this. Hell, this place is rather innocuous, and since it’s so badly written it can’t be all that dangerous, can it? Understand, though, that bad writing is like flypaper to some folks, and as long that bad writing tells them what they want to hear (well, read), they’re all over it.


Comments:
Welcome to your new digs. I'll update my "Distractions" list and look forward to being pleasantly distracted on a semi-regular basis.
 
Can you check the box in blogger's config to enable the RSS feed? I do all my blog reading via bloglines, so I need that.
 
Derryl,

Does that mean that Cold Ground is defunct?
 
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