As many of you will have seen before Christmas and since there has been an absolute hysteria from both the publishing and retailing industries regarding the proliferation of ebooks and their electronic readers plus the growing impact of online purchases. Here in the Antipodes it has even prompted large retailing chains to howl indignantly over the apparent unfair GST (Goods and Sales Tax) status of on line purchase. Apparently their extremely expensive marketing consultants completely missed the steady growth of companies like Amazon or Ebay and the increasing strength of the Aussie dollar over this last decade.
After all the siren song of voodoo economics is so hard to give up.
There done that, vented my spleen now on to e-publishing.
Now in a very light hearted and satirical fashion the good doctor covered the perils and processes of publishing in a prior blog (see Publishing Gregory House), so just regard this as part 2.
Publishing, The Sequel!
The Query Tread Mill
Alright lets do the maths lets say you’ve narrowed down twenty A grade ‘potentials’ and give each a two month turnaround (this is an average period, some claim one month turnaround other three or longer). That’s three and one third years!
Excuse me? Let me get this right, you want ‘me’ to put my business proposal on hold for how long? Until you’ve deigned to notify me if my proposal has even been ‘reviewed’ before I can send it to someone else? I mean, is this for real? Isn’t that a touch monopolistic as well as incredibly un-business like and impractical? Not to mention woefully Dickensian?
The other point in queries that always concerns me is that while query letters make time management sense, I’m not sure the ability to churn out a two hundred word bite is necessarily the same as that required for a one or two hundred thousand word novel.
To give a comparable real world example, it would be like judging a student’s year long efforts solely on a two paragraph submission. As if any teacher could get away with that! Opps, bad example but you get the drift.
Having taught high school and university level courses there is a shadow of truth there, but perhaps no more than in any generation of complaints about education quality. Now I strongly agree that editing is the key to any successful writing, god knows I’d be in a pickle without my uber-editor Jocelyn to rearrange the commas or sort out the phrases and adjectival clauses. However I find the strident proclamations of the publishing industry as bastions of writing and language to be somewhat hollow.
Several books of my recent acquaintance proved to be the denizens of strange and unusual realms of grammar, one book of a popular adventure genre had a three page sentence before the first full stop. While a recently highly praised and awarded literati winner swapped around tenses more frequently than serves in a ping pong match. This may be postmodern démodé but it made the story impossible to figure out who was saying what to whom and why. That of course is the extreme or maybe not. Perhaps I’m being too picky, but after spending twenty plus dollars I like a story to be:
b) Well written
d) Entertaining or scary, or gut wrenching, or full of pathos, or even thoughtful
e) Edited, in that the main characters retains their own names throughout the story
f) Or we do not display the Tudor attitude to spelling (a very ‘individual’ approach)
After twenty dollars plus I have found there is rarely a guarantee of quality, so as for being guardians of the public weal of language and quality products I would have to rate them as a dismal failure.
Publicity, Marketing and… Distance
The solution of course is simple, use the internet. The action however is another matter requiring intelligence, forethought and dedication.
Smashwords, who guarantee that around 80% of the sale price goes to the authors. Thanks Mark Crocker for returning power to the authors keep up the good work!
As the good doctor says keep taking the pills!