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Inspirational Reads

This Kind of Pisses Me Off

April 6, 2009

Okay, first off...a little note from Friday evening's anti-Trebeckian rant. My wife looked up the phrase "vox populi" (Latin for "voice of the people") on Merriam-Webster's site the other night. There, they listed both pronunciations--vox popu-lie and vox popu-lee--as correct. However, "vox popu-lee" was listed first as the more correct version. No mention of "wox popu-lee", which doesn't surprise me since sometime during the Middle Ages, the letter v stopped carrying the /w/ sound and started adopting the more modern /v/ sound. This is fine with me, because, honestly, wagina is a silly word that should never be uttered by anyone.

During my daily avoiding doing real work morning reads, I checked and found this little story about how authors are turning to web publishing in order to get their books published. Now, I don't know Lisa Genova. I'm sure she's a fine person and a good writer and all--I'll ignore that her last name is synonymous with that country for mutants ruled by Magneto. No, wait, shit. That's Genosha. Sorry to confuse the two.

Anyway, as most of you know, I'm trying to publish the book that I wrote. For those coming late to the party, let me explain: I'm trying to publish the book that I wrote. There, I think we're all caught up.

In order to do this, I've been seeking out agents to represent my work. Like a friend of mine once said, I've got to get out there and pimp mah shit (I'm paraphrasing here...slightly). I did have that nibble from one agent about this time a year ago. I still have the letter. It's a reminder of "Hey, don't give up yet; your dick's not that little!"

So, then I read the above article on CNN. Obviously, this route of self-publishing and getting your friends to prop up your work for you (which is what I would be counting on you do for me, were I in a similar situation) worked for Lisa Genova. Frankly, I'm glad she was able to throw it in the eye of one obnoxious agent who didn't think anyone would want to read a book about someone suffering from Alzheimer's, since I've dealt with my deal of douchebags in the area while searching for my own agent.

Side note: Really, Ms. Literary Agent? You didn't think anyone would be interested in a book about Alzheimer's? Of course, I'm sure the guy who turned down Forrest Gump was probably like, "I'm sorry, Mr. Groom, but I don't think anyone would want to read a book about a retarded kid."

Anyway, from what I've learned--as in, everything I've read that wasn't this CNN article--says self-publishing is a lousy way to go. Once an agent or a publisher sees that you've self-published, they're turned off. Mostly, this is because it's a pain in the ass to get the rights to a book after it's already been published. And by pain in the ass, I mean a knobby, corny , dried, hard turd resembling a beer can in size and shape trying to force its way out of you--sideways. It's the very rare book that will ever get picked up from a self-publishing house to a main stream publisher.

My favorite part of the article, however, is how the self-publishers prop themselves up using today's buzzwords: "in this economy" and "the environmental impact". Fewer published books means fewer dead trees! Fewer cows means fewer cow farts, but that doesn't stop the elephants from farting.

I dunno. Maybe I'm just pissy because I'm not published. Maybe I'm just pissy because I woke up several times during the night for no good reason. Or, maybe I'm just pissy because I'm brewing up a big, knobby, corny masterpiece that's going to try and force its way out sideways, but the article still kind of pisses me off.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to see a man about a horse. Er, something.


coolred38 said...

*clapping hands*...oooh Im first comment...yay me. But then much pressure to say something pithy...hmmm?

Uhm...go shit...Im sure you will feel better about...well everything. Nothing a good shit wont put to rights.

How was my pith?

words...words...words... said...

This entry makes me think about something I think about a lot. Namely, the idea that the new media and readily available publishing technology have reduced the role of the gatekeeper in the media. So much stuff out there isn't vetted for quality or accuracy.

It matters a lot more in journalism, of course, but it still matters in the realm of creative endeavors, too. I don't like it. I think all it does is increase the amount of crap out there. After all, most people embracing it are doing so because they have been adjuged to suck.

Susan said...

Keep a go at it... I remember researching this myself just out of curiosity a few months ago... everything is fucking electronic these days. Period.

Soda and Candy said...

Ha, that note about the Latin makes sense, because I was thinking how none of the Latin root languages pronounce V as W.

Sass said...

I've got nothing, other than to say...I've got nothing.

Here's hoping things turn right-side-up and don't pull the ol' sideways through the small spaces trick.

Kimizzy said...

Well, the good news is your dick's not little. I'm just saying, there's always something to be thankful for.

Sassy Britches said...

Words Words Words has an excellent point. What happened to juried publishing?

Of course, blogging is a fine example of this whole phenomenon.

And I'm sending you some mail.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ Coolred38: Well done, coolred, well done. And you're absolutely fricking right: there is nothing a good shit won't cure.

@ Words^3: Well, here's the thing that's been disturbing me about CNN lately. They have a lot of these ireporters chiming in, which is essentially anyone with a webcam and an opinion. I realize that making this point from a blog probably undermines the point, but it seems like they're relying less on journalists who research the story and more on any hack who can string together a bunch of words into what appears to be a sentence and a point.

Your second point also rings true: maybe there's a reason why you're not published, and that reason is because the shit you've scrawled on a page is awful. Sure, your mom and your best friend say it's good (or, in my case, my wife), but that doesn't mean you're predestined to foul the world with your writing. It's not like the self-publishing houses are going to complain and tell you no, however, because they make money off your work, no matter what. And yet, that last little point somehow didn't sneak its way into the article. Huh.

@ Susan: The only reason I've backed off recently is because I'm fucking lazy. I need to fix this. Hopefully, with the kids gone next week, I can.

@ Soda & Candy: It's important to remember that the Romans had no W (almost all words beginning with W in the English language are from Old English), and so they made that sound with a V. They didn't have a K, either. Everything with a /k/ sound came from C. I don't know where I was going here, so I'll just stop.

@ Sass: Thanks. I've found that, if they do turn sideways, having a lot of gas build up helps move things along.

@ Kimizzy: I'm a half-glass-full kind of guy like that.

@ Sassy Britches: Which is exactly why ACoT turned away from being a "this is what I wrote in my book today" blog into the tripe you see before you now.

Cora said...

I was going to offer you some Ex-Lax, but I see Sassy beat me to it.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ Cora: I'm a big man, Cora, a big, big man. I probably need twice the dose, so anything you can lend would be much appreciated.

TishTash said...

"Pissy" makes you sound like little girl. So I'm going to suggest that you go get yourself some Hello Kitty merchandise to make yourself feel better.

Anna Russell said...

Doing the struggling writer thing myself, I have seen so many new-and-improved ways to get your work published.
My carefully considered opinion? They're all bollocks.
I, for one, never want my books to come to me in the form of anything other than a book. The book smell, the slight cracking of the spine whilst reading, even the blur and the author's notes - nothing can replace that for me.

As for self-publishing, does anyone other than friends and family of the author really read them? I know I wouldn't bother.

Keep at it. It's tough and sometimes it feels like it wil never happen for you, but your time will come.

Victoria H. said...

For those of us coming late to the party, thank you for catching us up.

I'll be back to see what else I've missed out on.

The Ambiguous Blob said...

Poo talk is always gross, but riveting. What is it with poo?

Someday, I want to be published on more than my own blog. That would be rad. Thanks for posting your research so I don't have to do my own when I'm ready.

Scope said...

When it's coming out sideways, be sure to stop your foot, shake the stall, or do what ever it requires to freak everyone out when you accounce, "SonofaBITCH! I just crapped out my SPINE!"

Nej said...

I've always pondered the pros vs the cons on the self publishing thing. I've a friend with a book, trying to get it publish, and she looked into the self publishing thing. Most have found something interesting, after her research, I never heard it mentioned again.

Keep at it though. Good things come to those who wait...and all that crap. (sideways crap, I guess) :-)

Joel D. Timm said...

You think the guy who turned down Forrest Gump had a bad go of it? How about that idiot that turned down Harry Potter? Saying that no one would believe in Wizards in this day and age. What do you think the chances are that they still are employed by their publisher?

Lisa-tastrophies said...

I still think you are the best writer around! So tell those self-promoting assjacks that they can s*ck it. We will always read your writings!! Plus, you have the added bonus of saying you are a MUST READ on the Ms. Tastrophie blog roll. If that doesn't impress them, well, nothing will :-)
In seriousness, if you do get published, I will be the first in line at the bookstore with the & sign in it, the day you do your book signing.

But if it never comes to pass, know that, while your words may not have been on paper, they were more entertaining and more loved by blog-stalkers everywhere. Including the felines of that cohort.

Don't lose faith, MJenks. I haven't. I know it will happen someday and I will set my prayers to include the grand publication of a certain chemist and his trusty side-kick wiz. We are rooting for you!!

Pfangirl said...

I have a lingering distrust of self publishing too, for pretty much the same reasons the other bloggers here have pointed out. I see self published and I automatically think "Dubious quality."

It's not really a problem with blogging or even web comics *cough* because people can skim over the crap and find what appeals to them. A book however is a whole other level of investment.

As a side comment, I'm not a fan of reading long pieces of fiction off a computer screen or Kindle, so online distribution as "the Future" of books doesn't cut it for me.

Anyway, going back to the topic of traditional publishing, I'm also not a fan of aspiring writers having to always seek out an agent because publishers don't accept unsolicited work. It just seems like such a ball ache, complicating the process with even more middlemen.

Fancy Schmancy said...

I have nothing to add to all this wit, but keep at it. If it was easy, it wouldn't be worth it, right?