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Self-publishing made easy, too easy August 25, 2010

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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This is my publishing empire. The one I couldn’t afford prior to the internet. The one that is fundamentally meaningless in the face of 400 million or so active English language blogs right now. So, why bother to write? It’s a serious question in light of the evidence.

After entering more than 200 writing contests over the course of 40 years, I have nothing published by a legitimate publisher. This is where I publish. It makes self-publishing look legitimate by comparison. And, I suppose I could do that more easily and cheaply today if I chose to do so. Digital books or e-books are not out-of-place anymore.

The problem is this: I don’t write for myself. Most authors I’ve read about, because I certainly don’t know any, have something well up inside of them that they simply must express. Audience is second, maybe a distant third in their thoughts. Not for me. I think of what you might like to read and build from there. That has proven to be like nailing Jell-O to the wall. Yet, if you are a “method actor” you don’t “un-become” one as the years roll on. If I am seeking your approval and support, I have failed miserably. Yet, there is no exit off that turnpike. I will try another angle. I will enter another contest. I will receive another rejection slip (at best) or be ignored (at worse).

I proceed as if I don’t mind. I don’t look at it as a challenge. If I did I would be writing furiously everyday to prove myself to you. I would be so engulfed in the mission, I would hardly take opportunity to breathe. Yet, as much as I care what you think, I can’t let myself know that I care. I have to be care-free in this regard. It allows me to ignore the truth of the matter (that I am unpublished and will remain so with no expectation of being “discovered” in this lifetime) and enables me to carry on when I choose to carry on.

This writers life is not some part-time gig, or so I’ve read. Like I said, I don’t personally know any authors. And that might be just as well. I remember Garrison Keillor saying (and this is a paraphrasing from a 2002 interview so it may not be exact) that he didn’t read much and he certainly didn’t read criticism since he didn’t want it or need it to impede his work. What I know he did say is this: “I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it.” This sums up my attitude toward my writing.

“… only he is an emancipated thinker who is not afraid to write foolish things.” – Anton Chekhov, circa 1880s

True. This is likely why I write about politics rather than fiction or other more engaging non-fiction. I’m not a biographer because I don’t care that much about another person’s life. Writing about politics allows you to be accurate or inaccurate, factual or a blatant liar, a truth-teller and a story-teller, nearly as much as a sports writer. A sports writer is nothing more than a frustrated advertising copywriter and dime novelist. This is company I am comfortable in keeping.

In 25 years in the newspaper business, I didn’t appreciate journalists too much, even though at times I was both editor and publisher. It wasn’t until the internet and the wiki-this-and-wiki-that that I finally realized there is a craft to it and it is a noble one. It takes the self-published wankers like myself to prove it.

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