Friday, January 12, 2007

A Ship Full of Rats

Every new major development in America's commercialized culture follows a distinct pattern in its growth from infancy to a market past its prime. The computer industry reached this particular description of a peak in 1998. The internet followed with its peak in 2000. The POD industry began at the end of '97 and peaked with the internet in 2000. Those pioneering POD authors among us may remember the hope and joy we experienced back in the good old days. The feeling was both similar to and closely linked with the feelings we had about the internet in general during that same brief, glorious era. As the POD ship filled up to capacity with the artistic, technological innovators of the new millennium, the rats were climbing aboard, silently waiting for their opportunity. The rats usually fall into one of two groups.

Since I began this blog, I have tried as tactfully as I can to expose the slap-fighters. These are the people you might call the Sean Hannitys of our little world. They will do or say anything to retain the power of the status quo. Their repetitive laments include the same old whines. Print On Demand is a printing method. POD authors have not really been published because they did not survive the slushpile. 99% of POD books are garbage. Authors are patently unable to edit and proofread their own work. You must have a professionally designed cover to succeed. Only family members will ever read a POD author's book. Amazon is not good enough: you have to have your book for sale in B&N stores. Libraries hate POD books. POD publishers are nothing more than vanity presses. POD publishers are printers, not real publishers. Bookstore employees hate POD books. Bookstores will not order POD books. Have you heard enough yet? Do I have to explain to you that many of these particular rats are just trying to sell whatever they are selling? Have you noticed that many of the loudest slap-fighters are cover designers, micro-publishers, message board flamers, or bloggers tooting their own horns?

The other rat variety could care less about denigrating your publishing efforts. Instead, this type just wants to sell you something. The something is as usually close to nothing as it can possibly be. Their entire purpose is to sell you nothing for something. They will tell you all about the sales success they can bring for your book. In this manner, they are the opposite of the slap-fighters. They are all honey. The slap-fighters are all vinegar. If you have published a POD book, you have probably been approached by at least a few of these honeydrippers. If you have been promoting multiple releases online for several years, as I have, you have probably seen every scam the 'drippers have dreamed up. You find them in your mailbox and you discover them whenever you boot up your computer. For only $5999, we will make you a best-selling author! Our websites have the professional look that you need to succeed. Our multitudinous contacts will bring you fame and fortune beyond your wildest dreams. Our professional marketing specialists will assist you in writing the best press release possible. We have arranged radio interviews for nationally famous authors. Would you like to sell your manuscript as a successful screenplay? Are you barfing yet? Here's a fresh bag. Mine's already full.

If you are wondering why I don't just name the names of these rats, it is simply because I choose to take the high road, publicly at least. I usually don't pull any punches when I am communicating with a fellow author via private email. That's the main difference between me and Sean Hannity. I feel about as strongly about the once-closed door that has been opened by iUniverse as he does about President Bush's policies. He spouts his opinion to millions of people (morons?) five nights a week. I try to be a little more low key. If you have a question about one of the rats, you can always email me and I shall privately name names and give you whatever opinion I may have. Blatant flamers will be summarily ignored.

Now let's get back to business. Poddy Mouth receives 100 submissions for reviews a day. I guess you submitters are the same people who play the lottery and eat at Burger King so you can enter the corporate contest of the day. Whoopeeee! Over here at the peasant blog, we just quietly wait for a book that is so good that our review has been quoted in the local newspaper. (Unfortunately, I do not have a link to that story at this time.) The review of that book's sequel, Distant Cousin: Repatriation will be coming soon. Watch for it here!

1 comment:

Writerperson said...

I just blogged on a writers' site about this subject, and actually I think most of what the rats say is true. Check it out here: http://writersgroupblog.wordpress.com/ if you're interested. And thanks again for your site!