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Preview: Grumpy Old Bookman : Idealogical ideas

Comments on Grumpy Old Bookman: Idealogical ideas





Updated: 2018-01-17T05:56:38.258+00:00

 



Thanks for the link to Shatzkin's text, Michael. H...

2007-07-11T06:00:00.000+01:00

Thanks for the link to Shatzkin's text, Michael. He has a compelling argument but whether or not it is "true" is another matter. What he posits is the atomization (even annialation) of society, of the collective. OK, the mass market may be at risk but it is also undeniable that mass movements (like adoption of the iPod for instance) also occur. In any case, I hope we have the breadth of vision (and breadth of interest) to look across the entire landscape rather than bury ourselves in a niche. Sounds like a euphemism for "grave" to me! Cheers. -- Gerald Jackson



I'm in major agreement with these ideas, though it...

2007-07-08T20:46:00.000+01:00

I'm in major agreement with these ideas, though it's early in the POD game.Prairie MaryMonday, July 02, 2007NEW PUBLISHING PARADIGMI grumble all the time (probably defensively) that the paradigm most people have of writing is the Life magazine genius pattern they developed for Hemingway, Steinbeck and Picasso. Writing is seen to be a great eruction (careful how you spell that) from an inspired secret world that is as valuable as pearls and as self-generated.Other forms of print, like directions, are treated with contempt. You can tell from the lack of care in writing them. “Ha! Understand THIS, you scum!” seems to be the basic attitude, and in four languages. But surely there must be something in between that is simply basic information carefully conveyed. Then there’s the thesis approach to writing. One of my fellow students in seminary averaged ten footnotes to every page. Talk about covering your butt. I tried to launch out into some original theory but, partly because my life experience was so different from everyone else (esp. faculty), I was squashed in a hurry. The point of a thesis is not to be original -- it is to flatter one’s advisors.There ARE books that are bought, not because they are works of genius, but simply because they are needed and useful. The people that want these books will go in search of them -- no need to beg for reviews except enough information for people to buy them. With search engines, little escapes notice.Though I originally started out with the idea of the works of genius myself, life has taught me that genius is usually a matter of long, hard preparation -- finally presented with an opportunity. And I have the strong idea that many pearls of genius never get out of the oyster, so to speak. To publicize and sell is quite different from writing -- which is why publishing houses will probably go on existing -- just greatly changed. Now that they have shifted from trying to assess the writer to trying to survey and analyze their readers, they only have to broaden their understanding of what a reader is. So far, the conviction seems to be that readers are not quite genius enough to write books, but still exceptional enough to wish they did and to read the kind of books they would write if they could. Mostly living in college towns or Manhattan. The publishers haven’t changed their “paradigm of privilege” -- just slid it over to the readers.When I was in the UU ministry and trying to “grow” congregations, which was what everyone insisted was the duty of the minister in the Eighties and which was defined in terms of member numbers, we used the rule-of-thumb that one in a thousand people would be a natural Unitarian. There were only two cities in Montana that even approached a hundred-thousand people and they would yield only a hundred people. Not enough to sustain a minister and building. But there are two cities in Alberta that number over a million citizens, which would predict a thousand Unitarians. Yet each supported only a modest 300 member church plus a small splinter. Still, as a rule of thumb for the commodification of an ineffable (religion), it was useful. So a publisher could think in those terms.When Vine Deloria, brilliant rabble-rouser, had a new book about Indians coming out, he asked his publisher how many copies they expected to sell on Vine’s home reservation. “None,” said the surprised publisher. “There are no bookstores there.” Like children, assuming that books are sold only in bookstores and shoes sold only in shoe stores. But maybe some shoe stores would sell books, if they were about Nike! Shift from selling the book qua book to selling the book by content.So Martin Murie sells his gentle conservation stories in bait shops, service stations, bars, general stores, and whatever else kind of establishment in northern New York might intersect with people of the right sort. The principle is exposure to an assortment who will self-select, rather than zeroing in on only the largest cut. (The Big Box stores in Montana sa[...]



Excellent link, Michael, worth the time taken to r...

2007-07-08T18:19:00.000+01:00

Excellent link, Michael, worth the time taken to read all 21 pages.

As one who spends several hours a day building an internet presence via my website and social networking groups like , I'm 100 percent convinced by Shatzkin's predictions.

For the web savvy writer, prospects look very good. Whatever route or niche publishers choose, they'll need the words to drive the engine.

A big historical novel, like those I lean to :-), might be daunting as a stand-alone paper book but offers many options combined with the e-publishing niches seen by Shatzkin.

So, for example, with my novel
Brazil, I've taken a section like the story of the Paraguayan War and built interactive pages with campaign maps, battle illustrations, images of the non-fictional chararacers. See The Paraguayan War

Not much different from what Phiz was doing for Dickens in the 19th century!

Who knows? With the advance of "smart ink" technology, the paper edition itself could have interactive "wireless" pages that given a simple touch open a wealth of links on the author's website.



I really don't understand what imprints are for. (...

2007-07-07T18:38:00.000+01:00

I really don't understand what imprints are for. (Or labels in the music industry.) I can't even be bothered to check which publishers have put out a certain book: why would I pay any attention to the imprint? They must just lead to increased costs for the publishers. I keep track of writers.

Is the idea that I might read and like a book from, say, the Snugglebunny imprint and then blindly buy a lot of other Snugglebunny books?



I am sceptical about Shatzkin's prediction that pu...

2007-07-07T16:13:00.000+01:00

I am sceptical about Shatzkin's prediction that publishing, currently in the hands of a major conglomerates, will break apart into a myriad of niche companies.

That would be an exception to just about every other business and capitalism in general, where the trend toward consolidation is only increasing.



I can verify that as a writer I do indeed spend an...

2007-07-07T14:21:00.000+01:00

I can verify that as a writer I do indeed spend an hour or two a day looking for a way to promote my work on the internet. I find it to be enormously tedious (and a labor that yields few fruits). Your blog is one of the few interesting sites I have come across.

On another subject, in the writing lottery, niche writing may lead to greater material success, but it's more likely you'll end up as an embittered employee of some publishing house. Best to be a Master of Your Own Fate, however humble that may be.



funny, that's why my father chose to be a GP rathe...

2007-07-06T20:11:00.000+01:00

funny, that's why my father chose to be a GP rather than a Consultant, because he wanted variety



Thanks again for all of the wonderful links and in...

2007-07-06T18:17:00.000+01:00

Thanks again for all of the wonderful links and information!

Hope you have a great day!



You've had fun along the way and kept a sense of h...

2007-07-06T14:48:00.000+01:00

You've had fun along the way and kept a sense of humor, to boot.

I like that.



Thanks for the info, Michael.Have a good weekend. ...

2007-07-06T09:59:00.000+01:00

Thanks for the info, Michael.
Have a good weekend. :)