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Criticism, Digital Media, Fiction, Publishing, Ruminations, The Writer's Life, Writings

Maybe We Should Call It Eeeeee! Publishing

As in, it’s so bad it makes me go eeeeee!

Some writer friends and I have been looking at the world of self-publishing. It is the future of the industry, and as I’ve said before, all books will be published this way first and BM publishers (that’s bricks and mortar, oh ye of dirty minds) will peruse the sales figures and look to acquire the rights to already successful works.

But do we want to be associated with this self-pub world? I took a look this morning at the fare on Smashwords. Here are excerpts from two randomly selected books. They are both free downloads, selected from the “Literary” category. Free, because I am cheap.

The first is from The Night Walk Men, A Short Story by Jason McIntyre:

This is going to be painful.

This is going to be a bowling ball dropped from waist height on your toes. A dentist’s chair plus a drill plus small talk. This is going to be coming down from on high. Or finding your spouse in bed with another. Or murder-suicide. Or heavy metal from the neighbour at three in the morning. This is going to be the doctor telling you it’s inoperable. Or a chemical burn on flesh. Or pepper spray and a wrongful conviction. This is going to be a fire eating your life’s work. This is going to be Your First Time. Or Your Last Time. This is going to be twelve fresh body bags going under the yellow tape and into the house at the end of Sheppard Street. This is going to be malevolent eyes in the dark staring down into a crib at a screaming baby. This is going to be painful.

Jason, it is painful. Bring this trash to my writers group and we would roast you so bad you might never defile a keyboard again.

Our next contestant is NFH Walker. This is from Ambition, part one:

…and I had always known it was going to be this way. There’s a growing disaffection in me as she sits on my face and I eat her out. I’m making slight growling noises like I’m a dog or something, like I’m a big bear, and she’s wriggling and giggling; she’s squirming as I make sloppy work over it…

My name? My name is not important. What is important is that I am a writer. I am twenty-four years old and only recently published, a fact I am constantly amazed by; daily I have to pinch myself to check I’m not dreaming. For this has always been my dream, to succeed through creativity is my life’s ambition.

Like everyone, I want to make money, I want to be famous, I want to go down in history as being important, but I want to achieve all that through writing, to be a famous novelist.

My problem is that now I am published, now that I am considered a novelist in my own full standing, an achievement I would have given anything for a year ago, I’m not satisfied; I want more.

I want less. What self-indulgent, useless dribble. Literary? It’s not even good porn. By the way, I jumped ahead to page 30—the writer and the girl are still going at it in the bedroom.

Next time I may pry a couple of bucks from my wallet and see if the writing in the pay e-books is any better. But I can’t help wondering if my writer friends and I really want to join this writing mob.

Of course, if my prediction comes to pass, we’ll have no choice, so might as well get in early. And as we all know, the writing these days is secondary to sales.


About Joe Ponepinto

Co-publisher, with Kelly Davio, of Tahoma Literary Review. Author of "Curtain Calls," a featured Kirkus Review. Married to Dona. Dad to Henry, the coffee-drinkin' dog.


4 thoughts on “Maybe We Should Call It Eeeeee! Publishing

  1. This is the result of ubiquitous praise, the bane of recent generations.
    In youth sports, everybody plays and everybody gets a trophy.
    In school every crappy couplet gets an A, and the student is told that what counts is just to express one’s self.
    In common everyday life, children are covered in effusive praise for the slightest act. “Good job, Scotty!!!!”
    Instead of each child finding its way and its talent, every child is wonderful at everything. And now, every string of words is literature, and it’s politically incorrect to say that crap is crap.
    In a flood it’s hard to find fresh water.

    Posted by jonzech | April 27, 2011, 1:39 PM
  2. Well said, Jon. Your comment reminds me of how the Detroit School system improved the graduation rate at their high schools–the simply lowered the requirements!

    And here at OnLit, we are proud to be politically incorrect. Crap is crap. I should know, I’ve written enough of it.

    Posted by jpon | April 27, 2011, 2:15 PM
  3. I am struggling with this concept. I have spoken with several published authors who have peddled their work online apart from a publisher. The advantage? They get the money and their previously accepted work serves to lure in readers. Of course, if you have a publisher working to promote you as part of their catalog, that doesn’t hurt, either. So much of this comes down to marketing in the end.

    It’s always entertaining to ask authors how well they’ve done with self-published ebooks…usually the response is to quote the amazon ranking, which changes from hour to hour and is hardly a true reflection, considering how they break it into categories. One honest author, who is also a published one, said he makes about forty a month, if lucky.

    I keep wanting to do the ebook thing, but I think I’d rather go through a catalog than to strike out on my own. That being said, I still want to experiment and publish something on kindle.

    Posted by ssternberg | April 27, 2011, 3:31 PM
  4. Having said what I said, this sort of publishing is not out of the question. It may well have some value.

    Posted by jonzech | April 27, 2011, 5:53 PM

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