Friday, December 4, 2009
My current plan is to self-publish my novel-in-progress. Over the last four years, I've had about as many agents, I've had contact with dozens more, and I've probably dealt indirectly or directly with about 50 editors. I'm pretty much over it. The traditional publishing world -- or, I should say, business -- is not really a match for me. My work is too weird, or too provocative, or too not what they want to work within the scope of what their machinery is equipped to handle. The problem was that I was unable to recognize, then accept that fact; instead, I kept trying to fit my round head into their square hole. It will never happen. So, self-publish.
Thankfully, the time has come for such things. Certainly, self-publishing is nothing new. From Areopagitica: "For books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them." Why give your life force away? Every week, I get another shitty review copy of a book that I didn't request from a dying publishing house that, for some reason, has elected to spend I-don't-know-how-much to overnight it to me. I throw them in the garbage. If I wait to be published by them, I will die waiting.
As I've already mentioned, I "micropublished" my short story collection, You're a Bad Man, Aren't You?, with Future Tense Books, thanks to the kind Kevin Sampsell. I think we printed ... 600 copies? Maybe 700? And it sold out. I don't remember when, but quite some time ago. Now, for reasons that remain elusive to me, used copies are for sale on Amazon for $50 to $150. Which is absurd.
This was the clincher: "More on the Reality of a Times Bestseller" (via Boing Boing). "If I published only one book a year, and it did as well as this one, my net would be only around $2500.00 over the income level considered to be the US poverty threshhold." Juxtapose these two sentences: "After paying taxes, commission to my agent and covering my expenses, my net profit on the book currently stands at $24,517.36, which is actually pretty good since on average I generally net about 30-40% of my advance." And then later, this: "Speaking of comparisons, the publisher’s portion of sales on this book has grossed them around $453,839.68." The part I don't get is: Why does she keep on doing it? Does it feel that good to get fucked in the ass by Penguin?
Besides, I'm a control freak, and there's nothing a control freak likes better than complete creative control. But, who knows. I've got pages and pages to go before I finish this novel, or novella, I should say, and I seem to have lost the ability to sleep already. Every night, I dream of floods, and drowning, and I wake up in fits, and I can't go back to sleep. In my dreams, I've lost my way, and I've misplaced all my belongings, and I cannot locate my luggage to save my life. Such is the nature of going deep, I suppose: You run the risk drowning. So be it.