May Day Ramblings

It's already May? They say time flies as you get older, and I suddenly feel like I'm riding in the back seat of an out of control car. 

I just read this piece in Publisher's Weekly about Amazon.com's ongoing march to take over the world. Most of the POD publishers have caved to Amazon's demands of either using its BookSurge program or sending five copies to stock. Now, traditional publishers are worried the online retailer is going to start wooing authors directly to publish their titles. Amazon's Kindle reader has also proven more popular than expected and you can download a book that costs $21.95 for half that, such as the bestseller The Last Lecture. A friend of mine has a Kindle, so I had the chance to play with it a bit earlier this year. I have to admit, I thought it was pretty cool. It was easy to hold, the pages easy to read and you just pressed your thumb against the nav bar and it flipped to the next page. The gadget is not as esthetically pleasing as it could be, but just give it a year or so, and it will probably be as chic and sleek as an iPod.

While waiting for After the Poison to come out, I'm still trying to figure out where to send the full manuscript. So many people are just choosing to self-publish now. I loved Reb Livingston's new interview where she answers Nic Sebastian's 10 questions on the Very Like A Whale blog. Her ideas about publishing and giving up the whole cycle of abuse, as I like to call it, on submitting to contests mirror my own. With the economy in the shitter, I really don't have $25 to be throwing around on entry fees. I'm submitting to free open reading periods for the time-being. What about you, readers?

Work has been a total bitch this week as I race to get everything done before going to the Saints and Sinners Lit Fest in New Orleans next week. I'm going to be selling the last few copies of Slow To Burn and giving out postcards promoting After the Poison. Finishing Line started mailing postcards last week, and I've heard a few of you already received them. If you haven't pre-ordered a copy, please do. Please and thank you. 

Comments

KATE EVANS said…
I think self-publishing poetry makes a lot of sense because poetry doesn't make any money anyway--and no matter whether it's self-published or published by a small press, the writer has to do a lot of self promotion. No one it going to set up a world tour for a poet unless you're Billy Collins.

I recently heard Ishmael Reed speak, and he talked about how he starting his own publishing company (Ishmael Reed Publishing Company) using iUniverse. He was promoting this idea for several reasons. He said you can have a group of writers under one "imprint" who do group readings and help promote each other's work--writers who are sympatico. Also, you have complete freedom to make your book exactly what you want it to be. Then there's the fact that with POD technology, it will never go out of print.

A friend and I are playing around with this idea--and perhaps even publishing our ficiton this way. I never thought I'd do it, but after hearing someone as famous and well-published as Ishmael Reed talking about it, I'm reconsidering. I love the idea of giving up on the cycle of abuse.
Lisa Allender said…
Collin has preached the "gospel" of self-publishing(IF you've got the goods---which he does) for years now.
Kate--glad to hear what you shared!
Break A Leg at Saints & Sinners, Coll!
Pris said…
Hi Collin
I'm curious to know more about the reader. I have a hearing loss in the area where vowels sound and that means listening to books or poems via ipod just isn't an option for me, not to mention that I actually enjoy reading more than listening. Is this reader about the size of a book with a full page shown at the time? I speed read so like a suitable amount of text to bounce my eyes across.

And having tried to get regular books I'm doing with a co-author even read by an agent now has become impossible. They ask for a query and it comes back in your SASE by return mail. No publisher will look at unagented work. If there was a suitable venue for downloadable books, sponsered by a site everybody uses such as Amazon, I'd go for it.

With individual poems, I still like the submission process and the journals.
bookfraud said…
after we had to put all of our books in storage due to bed bugs, wife got a kindle. she's kinda become obsessive with it, but feels a bit guilty about the reduced $$$ for a book.

with the economy in the shitter, I really don't have $25 to be throwing around on entry fees. amen to that.
Collin said…
Pris, yes the kindle is about the size of a trade paperback and really doesn't weigh very much at all. I thought the screen was very clear and, yes, it shows one full page at a time. Or you can blow the page up and use a little track wheel to scroll down the page if you need to.

Kate mentioned fiction... my novel, Conquering Venus, is out at two publishers right now and I'm just patiently waiting to hear yea or nay.
DeadMule said…
Hi Collin. Thanks for your vote. Isn't the internet fun. We get to "know" all kinds of people who wouldn't cross our path otherwise. Nic Sebastian is going to be in the Mule in June or July (when I make up my mind what I going to do).
Hey Collin, funny, I've just blogged about the many ways in which we consent to/participate in this system of publication. I decided to stop submitting to contests, and I am glad I have, now that I've recently read someone on the Ploughshares blog discussing his time as an undergrad intern whose job it was to eliminate the slushpile for some university press poetry contest. He confesses now that he didn't know enough at age 19 or 20 and that as a result, many wonderful poetic works were missed (so this is him speaking in hindsight). Now only am I not going to allow someone like this to be my gatekeeper, but I have to say I have serious issues with a system that would allow someone totally inexperienced to be the gatekeepers. Shows how much regard there is for poets, who I'd like to believe are earnestly seeking publication.
Collin said…
I also read that, Barbara Jane, and it really cemented my feelings about contests. A total waste of money. Once "After the Poison" is out, I'm going to look at other options for my future work, and co-op and self-pubbing are right at the top of the list.

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