Friday, September 23, 2011

Getting Smashed

We're not above the vast sums, I should say. Too many negatives, not enough mental capacity. Please read the following understanding that Mr. Speegle and I are greed-driven beings, all the way down the withered, charred stumps that used to be our souls. Raising children will do this to you.
20110923 typecast pt1 20110923 typecast pt2

Pretty much the most awesome typeface ever, on an Olympia SM3 from 1958 Olympia SM3 badge, c1958


rino breebaart said...

Making books is really very easy now. There's a few technicalities (cover design, ISBN, getting an epub format done etc), but the big thing is marketing. Once you've written, redrafted ten times, proofread four times, typeset (print) and formatted and paginated, and finally loaded it to whatever site, you then still have to market the damn thing with equal effort and perseverance. Blog, social media, proof copies & freebies... all the slog work of actually getting it read. And that's the difficult thing, especially hard to do when you feel like you're done with it and ready for the next project. Thing is, no matter what price or format you put it out there, the work of the book isn't finished, you gotta peddle that thing everywhere online.

At least, that's my experience. I used to make a print book, and I made en ebook myself and loaded it to amazon. The process has never been easier, but there's also a lot more ancillary work attached to it - all the stuff the publishing houses used to do well, and leave their authors to writing.

But good luck! At least you'll know there's a ready set of readers int he typosphere.


Rob Bowker said...

Mike, there are a few of us graphic designers among the typerati. Wouldn't hurt to ask for a cover if you need one - its what we do.

Mike Speegle said...

YOU, sir, have been spending too much time with Cory Doctorow. Not that he's not a pretty great writer ("Printcrime" is terse yet compelling), but the current system seems to demand you hop on the DRM Express if you wanna stop by Hugepilesofmoneyburg (Pop. Everyone But Me). I haven't seen this Smash-y site, but if there turns out to be a way to publish and keep all of my right, I'm kind of all about it, if only for the reason that I'd like to sell my stuff in as many venues and formats as possible.

Of course, if I wanted to make REAL money, I'd just write a vampire porn story. I actually got tricked into reading Anno Dracula, which was billed as an Alan Moore-esque alt-history tale. Instead? Vampire love story. Ick.

Cameron said...

What the heck, give it a try!

I'll be curious to know how it all turns out. Seems to be the way of the future.

Off-subject -- I loved your phrase:

"...I also feel that the population is becoming far less literate, but that's a typecast for another day, when I'm feeling Extra Ranty".

I look forward to that day; I'm very curious what you'd say.

notagain said...

My writing buddy has already pushed his through createspace. warning long link:
He went with the "pro" level for a few reasons which we can get into if you want. I think he's still formatting the e-version, I'll keep you posted.
I'm still proofing mine, but the very rough junkpile is linked on my blog.

Strikethru said...

Rino already said what I was going to say, publishing isn't what gets anything read (or sold). The word publishing has changed its meaning -- it now merely means 'posted.'

Also ditto Cameron -- what IS the market for anyone's fiction these days exactly? Want to hear your (and everyone else's) thoughts on this. Been meaning to post about this too, feeling inspired by your ongoing dialog with Speegle.

I think I've spent too much time in school reading about the 'attention economy' and the demise of long-form reading to have anything other than a critical perspective on writing fiction, so just consider me a devil's advocate here.

Word verif: rerlect

Let us rerlect on the future of fiction, of which I am in doubt.

Mike Speegle said...

...which is why some of us are working on short story collections!

mpclemens said...

@Rino & @Cheryl: I think that's exactly it. "Publishing" in the 2011 sense is very much like "posting", albeit a longer post with more work behind it. (Or in the case of my posts, any work at all.) I'm not above shameless self-promotion. I know there's no magic genie that somehow draws readers. Expectations are very, very low.

@Rob: That would be very kind. I'm barely functional with Photoshop, and settled for the built-in stock photo cover-maker from Amazon for the draft copy. I'll be sure to pester you and these unnamed others in the 'sphere when the time comes (and pit you against one another in a Thunderdome-esque elimination round.)

@Mike: DRM, in my opinion, causes more problems than the ones it is intended to solve. Most (all?) scheme to date have been cracked open, and like Mr. Doctorow, I disagree with the notion that you should treat all of your customers as potential crooks. Personally, I would be thrilled if something I made/wrote/photographed attained such notoriety that it was being pirated. This is, incidentally, why I release all my flickr photos on a Creative Commons license. The determined thief won't be stopped by the measure -- it's a gentleman's agreement at best -- and polite people simple ask before reusing one of my photos, which I'm happy to allow. I only get huffy when folks use them on auctions and Craigslist, and then I feel like I can swing the CC hammer. "You are in violation of the licensing terms of my photo, etc."

And yes, bloodsucker erotica seems to be where the (sleazy) bucks are at. This week.

@Cameron: that's the attitude I have. "Hey, why not?" It costs me nothing but my time, which I regularly fritter away. And it means I've actually finished something vaguely literary, which I could never have imagine myself doing just a few years ago. The stakes are so low, why not?

@Cheryl again: I think the market for fiction is still quite broad, but the form(s) that it takes are evolving. And luckily for dabblers like me, the barriers are dropping. I hope there will always be a demand for professional readers and editors, and the notion of what an agent is and does is now becoming entangled with social media consultancy and SEO "experts." Content creators can take a more a-la-carte approach to services now, and I see that trend accelerating, not diminishing. And with the steady rollout of consuming-devices (iThings and SmartPads and TouchWidgets), the accessibility of works is going up, not down.

This is sounding like another blog-post in the making.

@Mike again: You make a good point. Quick, downloadable chunks. Consider that some of the great novels were done as serials, because that's what the common-folk read. Maybe it's time to optimize for a new readership.

Mike Speegle said...

@Mike via Cheryl: Yeah, if only we knew someone who excelled at social media consultancy and digital media and stuff like that. That someone could create a social media plan and then get paid a chunk of the back end. If only I knew a person like that who lived near Seattle and worked at Microsoft and was going to graduate school.

Am I being too subtle?

deek said...

Cheryl pointed out something I have always thought, but haven't been able to put my finger on. Publishing, nowadays, is just posting.

You don't have the hoops to jump through to get the work out there anymore, you can do it on your own. But then you have to be the marketing machine to get it in front of eyes.

I think there may be a false sense of finishing once the work is published. As Rino alludes to, once you have published your work, your efforts, at least in public, have just begun!

rino breebaart said...

Deek - yes, but there is the satisfaction of having made a book, of putting your work in print (or epub) and potentially adding to the stock of ideas and enjoyment - that's still something. The rest will take care of itself (or, more gloriously, they'll find an audience eventually)... or at least that way I can focus on new and better works.

Or, cynically, to top Cheryl: publishing is posting, and writing is commenting. (boom-tish)