Sunday, June 22, 2014

Book publishing blues

An article describing the corporate history of book publishing caught my eye. It's an eye popper and makes the cynic in me feel justified for wanting to go off and do this solo without anyone's help.
One side of me thinks that's a poor attitude. When I say 'anyone' I mean a publishing company with a marketing department.
Writing as a creative process is a healthy way for me to find release. Finding out about CreateSpace for self publishing was a mixture of research and luck. Having a novel ready to go was good, but getting it into a decent sized format was slightly less painful than a root canal.
A friend who  bought my book ended up with something she didn't intend, a coffee table tome that takes two hands to turn a page. Ashamed and frustrated, I attempted to make things better. I still don't know if I succeeded. The size of the book is better, whether words are cut off in the margins remain to be seen. I think I squeezed them in. Do the chapters all start at the top of the page? Not all of them. That's one wrinkle I couldn't get fixed. It's not the way I want things to work. Not the way I want it to be. In a perfect world I'd write and send my work off to someone who would sweat the details such as distribution and marketing and making all the margins behave themselves. About the only good thing about self publishing is I can buy my own book and take them to places to sell. The main thing stopping me is that I've run the numbers. I wouldn't make any money off such a venture. I'd have to write three or four books before I start to see any cash.
See? I'm marketing my own wares. That's not a bad thing, in and of itself, but it takes away from putting out more writing. It's the old catch .22, you have no time to write because you're promoting what you wrote, it's a vicious cycle.
Strangely, now I know how George RR Martin feels. He spent years writing about Westeros and Game of Thrones before HBO made it the juggernaut it is today. The show is almost up to Martin's latest book. In all deference to George, he has very little time to write. Between interviews and appearances and signings, a hit television show may have to go on a little hiatus to allow him to finish what he started.
This may be oversimplifying things, but here goes: Let's say the Martin writing machine is a car. Top speed 35 mph. HBO with it's greater speed and buying power can go 180 mph. Even though George got a few years head start, producers, directors, and film companies have caught up to him.
He had to have a meeting with the producers and put an outline of what he intends to happen for the hit show. In short, Martin had to tell them how to pass his little 35 mph vehicle and still end up at the same destination. What could possibly go wrong?

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