Friday, January 18, 2013

The Gates are Down

Until recently, there was no way for writer to publish a book without going through proper channels. Usually agents, editors and publishers. And that process helped to ensure that the consumer could be confident of buying a quality book. Good writing, good story. Of course,  there are several books I've bought through the years that came from traditional publishing houses that were not good writing or good stories. But generally speaking, the gatekeepers did their job.
Now, with Amazon direct to kindle, Create Space free publishing for paperbacks, and several other self publishing companies,all bets are off. It could be that the flood waters of unedited stories will swamp us for a while. How will we know that something we are purchasing has even gone through copy editing? We won't really. BUT! This also means that writers can work to market their books and find an audience without waiting the years and scores of rejection letters it usually takes to get a book published.
I have been asking myself over and over if it is a cop-out to self publish. And maybe it is, in a way. Maybe my books would not find a publisher willing to take a risk on them. It costs an enormous amount for a traditional publisher to get a work released. I read several figures that astound me...$25,000 for a picture book! The book would have to do a real business to even break even.
Self publishing is not for the faint of heart. Putting a book out there with your name on it is scary business. If the first one isn't good, chances are subsequent books won't find readers.
This is where a book that my son Josh gave me comes in. It's called The War of Art, by Stephen Pressfield. I hope Mr. Pressfield won't mind if I share a nugget of truth I got from that book in my own words. It is this: the thing that stops us from working toward our dream, from believing in our talent or product or creative ability, is our own self doubt. Our fear that we aren't smart, or talented, or good enough to share our offerings with the world. The war within ourselves that keeps us from trying, or certainly from reaching for our goals, is the wrong side of humility. It is the side that says we are not good enough.
I have no delusions that I am a great literary talent. If I had to be in order to write, I would not click another key. But I have stories I want to tell. Characters that live in my imagination. So I'm putting them out there. Setting them free. Because the gates are down.

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