Now I know we have a lot of writers here. Some published and some still aspiring and some both!. Although we probably all want to be the next Rowling/Tolkien/Jordan... (whatever's your poison), there is a rather unfortunate Catch 22 we are all a victim of and also responsible for creating.
In a nutshell; as writers we want an agent/publisher to take a chance on an unknown quantity (us), but as readers will we cough up a few notes to do the same for someone else?
Do we have to be told what to read by the mainstream market, or can you find a diamond in the sand once in a while by taking a chance on a relative unknown?
Will POD forever live in the shadow of mainstream?
Or will the market (i.e. reader's) attiutudes ever threaten to change the monopolistic control the mainstream publishers seem to have?
It has to start somewhere after all.
March 2nd, 2004, 07:44 AM
It's a definite catch 22. Of course I think everybody should read my book. But then who doesn't think that of their own work?
You really should read it you know!!
I do read books by authors I haven't heard of before, but only after flicking through a few chapters to see if it's something I might like, but let's be honest, there are so many big names out there, so many books by great authors I enjoy every time I read them that I'll almost always go back to them first unless I feel like something different or need a rest from them.
Will POD remain in the shadows? Probably, at least in the short term, however as technology for ebooks and hand held readers improves (as it will, companies are spending lots of money developing this for a reason) POD will have a chance to rise up and play with the big boys, what happens from there is up to the readers. Problem is people tend to be a bit like sheep and follow the herd - just look at the harry potter books, I know people who've never read anything (not even a sports page) until these books came out and then because everybody else was reading them, they figured they should too, then they try and tell me I should read them?!?
Don't get me wrong I think POD is a good thing that gives people the chance to see their work in print and share it with others, but without the huge marketing budget the big fellas enjoy it'd be pretty hard to compete toe to toe.
March 2nd, 2004, 11:06 AM
Ah Kahn, you have nailed a BIG problem in the world of words...
The same is true of the short story indy press, I.E. the small publications who publish and pay for short stories. I asked our forum of writers here, who all would love to have a short published, how many actually subscribe to the magazines they send submissions to... The answer was very few.
And indeed this is the problem, we all moan that the number of magazines that will publish short stories is dwindling and yet we refuse to help ourselves by supporting the publications that do exist... Indeed, a catch 22 where ultimately only the writers suffer.
POD, apart from the perception gap that exists and the stigma attached to going POD, definitely suffers from this cycle too...
March 2nd, 2004, 12:16 PM
Interesting question, Kahn.
As a writer myself who someday wishes for publication, I do feel an obligation--both for the sake of myself and for other writers--to support the genre by buying books. It's only logical. For this reason I don't frequent the library or go to used bookstores--even though by most people's standards I'm pretty poor--because authors don't get anything from those books, and if they can't make a living from their writing then they'll have to go back to their day job.
And I am open to trying things by new writers. In fact, I look for the lesser-known authors, whose books are often an unexpected treasure. This is as much because I don't like to "follow the crowd" as because I recognize the situation you've described--these new and little-known writers are not going to continue getting published if people don't buy their books, and no more of the same will be published. It's a pretty simple equation, one which strangely many would-be writers don't seem to grasp at all.
I remember the magazine poll Juzzza is talking about, where most of the respondents said they wanted to get paid for their story but wanted to get the magazine for free...I mean c'mon people, where do you think the money is going to come from, Juzzza's retirement fund or something? Everyone wants something for nothing.
People. :rolleyes: :)
March 2nd, 2004, 01:49 PM
I just love reading authors I've never heard of. There's little surprise value in established names; you pretty much know what to expect, and if they do come up with something unusual, you'll hear it from someone else first (due to the great publicity they get).
About half of the novels I buy are from people I've never heard of before. I read samples before I buy them; I'll buy them if I like the style.
And I just love magazines. I'd buy more if I knew where to find them.
March 2nd, 2004, 09:20 PM
Let me throw my two cents out there. NO! wait! I need that to buy another book!
Sorry, lost my head for a moment.
I used to write and write and write. I had little time (and money) to read, so I didn't buy anything. As of late, my finances are in much better shape and I've taken up reading again. I've bought an alarming number of books -- accoring to my spouse -- but I've read them all. When I told her I was suscribing to mags too she wondered where I was coming up with all this time to read: speed reading course.
I've found a number of great and talented authors out there both in book form and short story form. I would never buy a POD so I'll appologize now to any who have one out there. I'm sure I'm missing out, but I just can't bring myself to pay $17+ for a paperback. Just as I did not take my book to a POD though I did research all angles. I would never expect a fan to pay so much for a book. I even looked at getting it printed myself, but didn't have the $$ on hand to get 1,000 (or more) printed. Then I did research on those who self-publish or PODed and saw the future paved with hands out for more money and little coming in. I decided to keep my money in my pocket(well, ok, I bought more books) and keep fine tuning my craft.
Which leads me back to WHY I'm buying and reading so much. I wanted to know a few things, what's selling, what are people reading, what are magazines buying, where should I concentrate my efforts, etc. By reading and buying the mags I want to be in, I'm getting a good feel of what they publish and the quality of work they're looking for. The only downside I've seen so far is waiting, and waiting, and waiting.
As of this writing, I have one short story that will be published in an anthology in April and a second short story that I entered into a contest that will also be published in April in a different anthology. My name in print...can it get any better?
March 2nd, 2004, 10:34 PM
That's awesome, Maus. What anthologies are your stories going to be published in?
March 2nd, 2004, 11:32 PM
Well, it depends on how you want to get there.
There's my bibliography I keep online to track my submissions. This page is more for me than anyone who might visit the page (of which there are few). The Bibliography (http://www.ofgnomesanddwarves.com/bibliography.asp)
Or you can go to where they're published at:
Stan's Mirror will be published at Lighthouse Media One (http://www.lighthousemediaone.co.uk) in the anthology Malestrom
For the Time Being will be published at Red Writing Hood (http://www.redwritinghood.com). I didn't win the contest, but I'll be published in the anthology. I won't turn my nose up if my name is in print. :)
Thanks for asking. Both of these publications came back within a week of each other. I'm a high right now. Off to go put more words on paper, or in word, which ever comes first.
March 3rd, 2004, 07:53 AM
Congrats Maus, I believe Lighthouse Media One will also be featuring artwork by Abby Goldsmith soon...
And yes, it can always get better, you could get published AGAIN and Again and Again... ;)
March 3rd, 2004, 01:18 PM
Don't want to be Jordan or Tolkien, just want to be me. my writing, my ideas, my thoughts my work....
Congrats maus99 on being published, but I had to smile at your post, when you talked about costs....
I reckon, sending hard copy of manuscripts off to publishers and agents over the last three/four years I have lashed out £500 in postage alone add to that printing costs, paper printer ink etc... you can throw in about the same....
So my effort to get published has been bankrolled to the tune of about £1000 in four years... a lot of money.....
And yes I have used email submissions were and when I can, but for novels I have found they want it hard copy. Frist the 50 pages or three chapters then the whole thing and you bit your nails as they take six months to say nope, not this time....
Oh Seven Threads, is POD by the way.... for one simple reason, we wanted the stories to survive and have a chance of going on. Left on the forum in their rough form, they would have faded away and died.