My version of a Wall Street sit-in: A writing friend forwarded a link to a New York Times article that discusses some things that are not really news to those who have been following the publishing biz over the last two years. The Internet is turning the publishing business upside down. Hello?
There are winners and losers. I recently lunched with a friend who you might say has been part of the publishing “old guard.” He’s losing his retail book-selling business. I hurt with him and for him. You would too if you knew what a wonderful man he is. And the gatekeepers of the traditional model, the agents and editors whose brick wall I’ve been beating myself up over for the last decade and more, trying to crash through – they’re not my enemies.
Some of you might be familiar with Nathan Branford, the former NoCal literary agent who garnered a huge Web following with his smart approach to online presence. It’s ok that as an agent he rejected me, most likely (though I can’t swear to it) without reading my submission. Then later in 2010, he announced that he was no longer an agent. He’s an author now. Can’t say that I blame you, Nathan.
As many of you know, I decided this year to bypass the traditional publishing business process. As a result, Wine Flash Press, whom you’ve never heard of, has signed a deal to have print and distribute my first novel, Von Lagerhaus. I hope some of you will check it out when it’s available later this year.
I’m a radical. If you’re a writer, maybe you should be, too. No violence or yelling, BUT…
…the revolution can’t replace talent. I might flop. If my books suck and I flop, I deserve it. So if you’re a writer who joins me in this revolution, bring your A game! We need to work on our craft as diligently as when we were trying to get past the old gatekeepers. If we don’t – and we fail – we have no excuse.
England continued to exist after the American Revolution. Today’s agents and today’s big publishing houses may continue to exist as well. And I’ll do business with them, if it makes sense. But right now, I suspect many of us need to, as my progressive political acquaintances like to say, “move on.”
And soon you’ll be able to see where I’ve pledged 15% of the proceeeds of my share of all book revenue!