This article is the beginning of a multipart series about writing and self-publishing. I won’t profess to be an expert in the area of self-publishing, but I hope to stimulate some fruitful dialogue.
When a musician decides to create their own label, they are many times thought of as visionary, entrepreneurial, or brave. When a writer decides to self-publish they are generally regarded as losers within the publishing world, despite the presence of authors like Walt Whitman in the ranks. My hope in these posts is to not only help create a forum for writers, but to also stimulate creative thought that might lead to revolutionizing how books are handled. Last year there was a big industry conference regarding new directions for publishing. The major publishing houses were represented as well the big distributors, Amazon and B&N, and more. They even threw in Dan Poynter and Steve Harrison. If I remember right, they had the conference in the round with an audience of paying interested observers who could only watch, but not participate.
The problem was that everyone at the table had a vested interest in things not really changing all that much. The silenced audience probably had a greater interest in something new coming into existence than the heavyweights. What I think we really need is something of an Open Source movement of ideas to create a new structure with the web at its core. Maybe we can do something here, free of the vested interests.
I love books. I always have. It pained me to teach so many students who dreaded books. I love the play of imagination that books afford me. I will loll on a page with no thought for speed, reread a certain phrase several times to savor the flow of the words through my mind. I don’t have the same experience with video. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the right words can convey a cascade of levels of meaning beyond the quick video image. The pause, rewind , and replay are no match for the reread phrase that tumbles through the mind, sparking neurons, forging synaptic paths. Reading is a one-to-one relationship with the mind of the author, for better or for worse.