A response to Garrison Keillor’s take on self-publishing.
I grew up not much different than any other author, whether traditionally published or indie published. I spent a lot of time with my nose in the books too. I loved The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, and Charlotte’s Web. I excelled in English classes in school–straight A’s & B’s in all my courses in fact.
Guess what, “I N3V3R WR0T3 LYK D1Z.”
In college I studied dance, but enjoyed writing too…
Mr. Keillor, you can act like you and your ilk are the only ones who have received approval and encouragement from a teacher you admired…but believe it or not, during that time two college professors had encouraged me to become a writer. And circumstance would result in my change my major, hang up my ballet slippers for good, and sit down at a typewriter–yes, Mr. Keillor, A typewriter, just like you.
I HATED carbon copies, I hated “white-out” even more. Every typo on any page of my precious manuscripts…and I had to white out and then realign it…or else type the whole damned page all over again. If you miss that…? Well, that labels your longing for the “good old days” pathetic.
Ah, the Bad Old Days…when I got my first acceptance letter from a small press that offered to publish one of the children’s books that I created with my sister, an artist. We were so excited, we danced for joy. Our dreams were realized. Then, two weeks later I received another letter saying that the publisher was going out of business. Our book would never be published due to someone else’s inability and/or finances to keep their business afloat.
The Bad Old Days, when I waited and waited…and received a $20.00 check for some poetry. The Bad Ole days when I had to practically sue an editor (whose magazine folded due to a lawsuit related to trademark infringement) for my contributors fees from the one and only issue.
The Bad Old Days, when if I wanted to self-publish (and yes, I could have even then) I would’ve had to pay over $2,000 to a printing press and/or book bindery; and store every single book in my garage. Then, I’d have had to find some way to sell them on my own.
The Bad Old Days, when writing a single page took FOREVER, because you had to keep replacing the typewriter ribbon, you had to use white-out and/or correction tape. Now a days, your works can just flow from your mind, to your fingers freely. I like that I can look up artwork that inspires me while I write, or listen to music…I couldn’t have done that with a manual typewriter.
In the Bad Old Days, one had to go to the post office, and mail out submissions and wait…and wait…and wait. Receive a rejection. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Until finally, somebody says yes.
And even then, that is no guarantee of success. Your book could fail to earn back its advance and a publisher could drop your title. And, when that happens most writers turn to self-publishing anyways to keep the titles in print.
If you really think all self-publishers only sell to 14 people, most of which are family, and that they only make $1.75 a year? You’re more senile than I thought, Pops. Even so, the statement itself mathematically contradicts itself.
My first months as a self-publisher I more than doubled what I ever received in contributors fees. My friends and family don’t read my genre, and consider my stories “too scary.” NONE of them own a kindle. And, I’ve made a nice little profit thus far. It’s all up from here, based on what I have seen others do. I can name 10 self-publishers off of the top of my head who have sold more copies then some traditional publishers. The world is changing. Publishing is changing. But, it’s not getting worse. It’s getting better.
Get with the program, Old Timer.
Hooray for the future! Hooray for technology giving us the ability to take matters into our own hands! The Bad Old Days. I sure do not miss it.