Monday, February 19, 2018
Publishing, what is it? What does it do for a writer? What does it do for the reader? How do you get your writing published? What is an “Agent”? What do Agents really do? What’s the difference between an Agent, Editor, and a Publisher?
The last few weeks or so, I have been researching these questions some. To tell you the truth, it’s all too overwhelming for me, and it makes me feel kind of depressed.
In a different life, I worked many years in the music industry in the Seattle Washington area. I was a sound guy, an “Audio Engineer.” I ran the soundboards at clubs and music venues for live music. I recorded bands in the recording studios and I loved it.
I learned very quickly how the music industry worked back in the day and I see similarities to how the writing industry works today.
It’s all about who you know, and or how much money you want to spend to get your work out to the public.
“Selling out” is what we called it back in the day. Give up part of your royalty rights to someone/organization in order to get your material recognized.
For some musicians this is fine. It worked for many, many years--and it still goes on today. I am assuming this kind of stuff goes on in the writing world of Publishers and Agents and so on.
But something happened in the music industry in the 90s. Bands and musicians utilized the internet and started to self-promote their works. Some bands started selling their records from their webpages and had distribution operations right in their living rooms. They would collect payments from their web pages and mail out copies of their work to the buyers. Very cool but very busy, and managing it was a chore. Record labels started doing the same thing. They were getting away from relying on record stores to sell their stuff.
I had a few “Ins” at a notable record label based out of Seattle when I was working in the business. I would stop by time to time. The lower level of the building was all warehouse space--rows and rows of shelving with boxes full of CDs waiting to be picked and shipped out to wherever around the world. It was very impressive to see.
Then iTunes came along and kind of forced the consumer do a way with CDs and what not. MP3 technology and alike are very cool but I miss CDs. I miss holding the CD and putting it into the disc player tray. I miss the album artwork and reading the album credits. I miss having shelves that took up entire wall space so that I could store/display my library of CDs.
I’m sure the vinyl guys say the same thing. But I have my opinion of vinyl and it’s not good. But that is for another time and discussion.
I will admit, I do really love what itunes does for me. I love the fact that I can fit all of my 800 plus albums into a small device that can fit into my pocket to take anywhere. That part is very cool to me.
However, with iTunes and the like, it’s put up a new, but old road blocks for the small unknown artists to get and gain exposure.
I want the small guy, the unknown writer to have an outlet to get noticed. But how?
The last few weeks I have been toying with the idea of starting a publishing firm of some kind.
I want it to be “grass roots” and “small guy” friendly.
I don’t how that looks or what that means exactly. But I do know that I don’t want it be like other publishing companies.
So I’m looking for suggestions. What do you want in a publishing company? How could a small, unknown publishing company market an unknown writer?
I’m having a hard time accepting that unknown writers today have to go payola style and sell themselves out to Agents just to get into a Publisher’s Office for that maybe chance to get published.
I have a hard time with self-publishing through Amazon. That, to me, seems like lighting a single black cat firecracker. You get to light the fuse and watch it fizz. The anticipation starts as the fuse gets shorter. Your anxiety grows the closer you get to submitting your work.
Then boom. It blows up and makes a big noise. You published your work. Your family and friends are happy for you and support you for a while… Then that’s it. The fuse is gone the noise is over and your published work stays adrift in the endless sea of 1s and 0s on the interweb. Only accessible through Amazon… for those who know about it or randomly find it. Killjoy.
So how about this idea—starting a small publishing firm? What are your thoughts? Give me some input. I know people read this blog but it seems like we get very little feedback from you.
Tell me if you think this is something worth pursuing or if you think this publishing firm idea is a bad idea.