Does Publishing Support the Writer-Artist?

 

On Monday’s post we talked about the importance of craft in the new paradigm, yet there seems to be some assumptions floating around that I feel are flawed, and we need to talk about those today. We are artists, and the ONLY one who can develop and mature an artist is…the artist. We are responsible. We always have been. Just because Amazon is not going to appreciate our art beyond the sales numbers doesn’t mean anything other than Amazon remains what it has always been—a means of getting a product to a consumer, the art to a potential patron.

Yet, I will say the same thing about NY publishing.

They can wax rhapsodic about how they care about developing writers and how they care about writing and art, and I believe they do…but only to a certain point. The second any art becomes a commodity, then no one really cares only about the art. It becomes more about how many units can be sold, and will it be enough to gain back our investment before they cut off the power?

There are bills to pay.

But we will get to that, too, in a moment. But first we need to make sure we all have nice open minds and to do this we need to dispel some myths.

Myth #1

The only people who publish on Amazon are writing junk and weren’t good enough to get a traditional NY deal.

In the comments section on Monday many of you expressed that you were working on your skills, honing your art and holding out for a NY deal. That is awesome and up to the individual artist, but be careful. A lot of terrific and innovative writing has come out of the indie movement.

Sometimes writing won’t get picked up by New York for any number of reasons that have nothing at all to do with the skill level of the writer. Feel free to check out Kait Nolan who was the only indie author nominated for the prestigious DABWAHA award (and you can go vote for her, too).

Myth #2 NY Publishing supports art.

True, Amazon doesn’t have any gatekeepers, thus no way to keep out the truly motivated. But, this does not therefore mean that, by default, NY is a great patron of art.

How?

Some art challenges. It upsets and disrupts the status quo. It transforms us and changes us. Not all art is commercial art.

For instance, I could publish a book of nothing but commas, and on Amazon, no one can stop me. No one would stop me. My book of commas might not be a great use of my free time, but who are you to judge my art? Maybe my book of commas is a challenge to the post-industrial society to take more breaks.

Why are you laughing?

Maybe I yearn to make our culture really think about how they have forgotten to pause in their everyday lives. Perhaps I long to expose all those tiny breaks to appreciate life that you missed because you had e-mails to check or a Facebook page to update. Every comma in my 1,000 page e-book represents a moment you will never get back.

I have them all here. Your lost moments. I captured them like little damsel flies in amber.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

I collected your lost moments into one place, a tribute to all the breaks no one wanted. We are a pauseless society always on fast-forward, plunging into the Red Bull-soaked abyss of suffering.

Wow, I really ran with that.

Please look for upcoming book “,”…never in stores, well, for obvious reasons. It is part of a series–“?” “!” and “.” will be released some time after they let me out of the looney bin.

Some Art Cannot Begin as a Commercial Product

I know I am going to get e-mails about this one, but again. Breathe and give me a moment. Some art is meant to please and be aesthetic. It is designed to appeal. But is that the only art? No. Some art is designed to shake things up, to challenge. This kind of art, the kind that disrupts, confronts and even offends is often only appreciated as a commercial item retrospectively.

Trust me. Most people didn’t “get” Dahli at the time, and now his work graces many a T-shirt. The industrial publishing machine is in business to sell goods people want, but if something is a certain type of art, then no one knows they need it…yet. This art will only be appreciated by the society the art changes.

For instance, in Picasso’s time, art had been steeped in realism for centuries. Then Picasso stepped in and shook things up by doing things…differently. He painted a woman with her eye closer to her forehead or a person made of geometric shapes. It forced society to transform, to open its ideas of what it considered beautiful of what it considered to be art.

Of course, now, a century later, even a small schoolchild has seen cubism if only on her mother’s mouse pad near the computer. Modern art was once shocking and of no determined commercial value…but then as society changed, the value did as well. This art, once only appreciated on the fringes of society, over time became more and more commercial.

Writers are Artists

Yes, there are wanna-be-amateur hacks who believe they are being rejected because no one can see their brilliance, yet I would be bold enough to say that there are some genuine artists being rejected by New York, too.

Oooohhhh.

Who is to say that modern digital age society wouldn’t like to read a 130,000 word book written in the verbose style of A Tale of Two Cities? Anyone who shops at Wal Mart truly understands how it can be the best of times and the worst of times. That manuscript that is being rejected for all of its heaviness and lack of commercial appeal might just spark that style of writing back to life.

It could. Why not?

Maybe potential readers are feeling nostalgic. Maybe we were too immature to appreciate The Grapes of Wrath in 11th grade, but now, a book like that is just what we need. Maybe works that read like Jane Eyre would appeal to modern audiences if the stories were modern. Perhaps the unique juxtaposition of a modern world and archaic language would be brilliant.

Worked for the movies! I saw Romeo and Juliet. Lionardo Dicaprio’s performance was stellar.

You might chuckle, but maybe I am right. Yet, the thing is, New York will reject most books that really challenge conventional tastes, so how will we ever know?

Agents will reject these works not because they might not love them, but because they can’t sell them. New York will say these works won’t appeal to reader tastes, and they would be right. New York is in the business of satisfying appetites, not necessarily creating new ones or reviving old ones.

I am in no way saying that New York Publishing doesn’t appreciate art, it just doesn’t always support it. It can’t afford to.

Publishing is Not Necessarily about the Art

Yes, publishing supports some great works of literary genius…ones it believes it can sell. Publishers have overhead and payroll and frankly, they cannot afford to be philanthropists. It isn’t as if they are supported by donations and foundations. Museums have the luxury of being innovative and provocative.

Let’s take Dadaism as an example.

Dadaism was an artistic movement birthed in response to the outbreak of WWI. It was to protest the reason and logic of a bourgeois society. Dadaists believed the misguided values of the time had plunged the world into war. Dada was the antithesis of everything art stood for at the time. Dada had no concern for aesthetics, and their works were intended to offend. Through their rejection of traditional culture and aesthetics, the Dadaists sought to destroy traditional culture and aesthetics.

What this means is that people of the time, regular people buying stuff, probably would not have cared for anything Dada in nature. It was a fringe appetite. If we have a urinal installed in our home, it is a place to use the bathroom. Install it in a display at the Museum of Modern Art and it is an Marcel Duchamp exhibit.

So New York can say they support art, but the fact is they would probably love to, but they can’t. They likely could if they would embrace digital publishing. Maybe my book of commas would be a hit. If NY followed my suggestions, they could take more chances on art. Maybe they could mold tastes instead of trying to predict them and react to them.

Hmm. Food for thought.

Social Media Art–Embrace WANAism

Why my social media teachings are different is that I am not here to make “responsible little marketers” who can sell books as if they were no different than vacuums or light bulbs.

I created WANA (We Are Not Alone) to tear down the establishment that wants writers to run out and automate messages promoting book giveaways on 8 different platforms. WANAism rejects the current system and declares that writers are not car insurance and books are not tacos. My medium is social media, and I create art every day. So do my followers…WANAites. WANAism cannot be measured with metrics, because, while WANA is digital in delivery, it is human at its core.

WANA is here to liberate your inner artist, to show you the truth of the new paradigm, and that is you are free. Writers have a new medium. Social media isn’t a chore, it is a new canvas! I am not a marketing expert; I teach art classes for WordPress ;).

Art is the Divine Part of Our Humanness

What makes us human is this longing to create. No matter what race, creed, religion or place in time, we humans are united by our universal desire to create art, and we will use anything available—stone, canvas, skin, words, paper or Facebook. Doesn’t matter.

Those who follow WANAism understand that technology doesn’t steal our artist spirit, it gives it another medium, much like the invention of cameras and film gave rise to movies…a new way to tell stories. Make social media your art and your attitude will change. It will no longer be a chore to be endured. It will transform into a place to share your artist passion with those who can….appreciate it.

Social media offers a place to give away your art. Not your product…your art. Art is part of who we are so each interaction, each tweet, every blog represents a sample of us, our art, our personal Dada movement.

Amazon Opens the Door for Art

So if I really wanted to make an argument for who did a better job of supporting art, I would have to vote for Amazon. By opening the doors and not using any outside market standard of “acceptable, publishable material” Amazon has liberated the artist to put his art on display. If the world throws digital tomatoes at it, c’est la vie.

Either the world wasn’t ready or the artist wasn’t. Time will prove which was the case.

But…

The daring. The truly original. The writer-artist who creates that very thing that no one knew they needed until they saw it…this writer will be rewarded. He will sell books and his following will grow because his art will affect people. They will feel it and will want to share this experience and pay good money for it because this is always what art does.

This digital paradigm lets indie and self-publishing test the “art” to see if there is an audience for this innovation and create the market (then NY can step in with a deal when the risk makes fiscal sense).

The New Paradigm Liberates the Author-Artist

Until now, the act of publishing a book was so terrifically cost-prohibitive that is truly limited art in our medium. If we created something so original it would revolutionize the world, we had to hope and pray we landed a gatekeeper with vision who was willing to risk her reputation and career. A lot of money was on the line if the art was not embraced in a way that made it commercially viable. Now? Digital makes art possible.

All of us art putting out art…just not all of us will make the commercial cut.

Art vs. Tastes

Let’s even set this notion of art aside and maybe just talk a moment about reader tastes. Tastes can be molded, shaped and changed. In the new digital paradigm we are seeing a resurgence of essentially pulp fiction. Fantasy, sci-fi, erotica, Westerns, novellas, poetry books and all kinds of works are now finding a home now that we have loosed the chains of capital risk.

We no longer need anyone but the artist to invest, and the readers either come…or they don’t.

Maybe we are a Picasso that later will be embraced by millions and generate wide-spread commercial interest, but we could just as easily be a giant sculpture crafted from used diapers that a handful will think is brilliant and provocative…but no one will want to take home and display in their living room.

Thing is, in this Brave New World we all get our own exhibit.

Thoughts? Reactions? Are you elated? Horrified? Do you think writers should shape and create reader tastes or publishers? I want to hear from you! And yes, I am putting my art out there every week, hoping that even if you don’t agree, you will walk away somehow changed ;). Off to go do revisions on “,” and I will let you know when you can pre-order copies :D.

I LOVE hearing from you!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of March, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of March I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

This Week’s Mash-Up of Awesomeness

10 Myths about Forensics Spread by TV

Protecting Our Writing Time by Elizabeth Craig

I’ll Get to It…Eventually by Alan Orloff

How Does a Publishing Auction Work? by Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner

What is More Fairly Priced at 99 Cents? Nonfiction or a Novel? by Edward Nawotka over at Publishing Persectives

What is an Author Platform? by Jane Friedman

The Controversy Over Controversy by Amber West

What’s Better than a Fight? over at More Blogging Cowbell

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  1. #1 by brendan stallard on March 14, 2012 - 8:20 am

    “Anyone who shops at Wal Mart truly understands how it can be the best of times and the worst of times.”

    Kristen,

    That is simply brilliant, a comment with multiple subtle and gross layers. Just right for this Gemini.

    Lovely.

    brendan

  2. #2 by Running from Hell with El on March 14, 2012 - 8:26 am

    It seems to me that if the traditional publishing houses are dying, it makes sense to get in the forefront of the indie publishing movement and learn how to profit from it and use it efficaciously. I like the idea of controlling my artistic output.

  3. #3 by broadsideblog on March 14, 2012 - 8:36 am

    I doubt many people would hold up the Big Six NYC houses as champions of great art. Nor the NYT best-seller list which is full of appalling tripe that apparently makes millions of readers REALLY happy — not to mention the editors/ agents/publishers/writers who thought they were great as well…the 4 yr old kid who went to heaven? Seriously?!

    Looking to commercial publishers to back “art” (yes, as you write, often challenging and experimental and not butt-kissing the status quo) is like asking the dog to sing. Not gonna happen, and wishing and hoping and pouting that “it’s not fair” is a big waste of time.

    Everyone who has commercially published knows the drill: your book proposal must resemble several HOT books in that genre but be fresh enough to be worth backing. If an editor has never seen anything like your idea before, good luck with that. They’re too scared to go mano a mano with their own sales and marketing teams, let alone their publisher and publicist. They want to — and must — make money for their owners.

    It’s a business.

  4. #4 by cegrundler on March 14, 2012 - 8:46 am

    I believe the traditional publishing houses do indeed support art — so long as that art matches the sofa. They support ‘art’ that sells to the masses. Amazon has allowed indies the chance to bring their own particular offering to the table and build a fan base through word-of-mouth and momentum. For me, that opened doors traditional publishing had locked tight.

  5. #5 by Jason W. Adolf on March 14, 2012 - 8:49 am

    What a wonderful take on art VS. commerce. People need to eat and many, many great authors are choosing to bypass the traditional publishing industry. A few bands that I love are considered fringe or artistic, yet regularly sell hundreds of thousands (millions, at times) records / cds / downloads. Money isn’t evil – only when it informs our next steps as artists.

  6. #6 by Gary on March 14, 2012 - 9:00 am

    If we make it, someone will buy. Then the art connoisseur will write a review for all the world to see (searching Amazon for ,,,,,book reviews), When it goes viral, welcome to wallmart.

  7. #7 by Catherine Johnson on March 14, 2012 - 9:04 am

    If a guy can sell millions of books with blank pages, I’m all in for a book of commas :) Great post, Kristen!

  8. #8 by Melissa Bowersock on March 14, 2012 - 9:14 am

    I think the indie and self-publishing movement has revealed the long-hidden truth, that NY houses do not, by definition, have a lock on what is art, what is good, what is marketable. Anyone who has ever read the marvelous Rotten Rejections knows that editors’ opinions can be vastly mistaken, which means that these opinions should not be exaulted as the “truth” about any creation. That said, I was published by a NY house in the 80’s but self-publish now and absolutely love it. I love having total control, even if it does mean doing the total work as well. Amazon may be the 800-pound gorilla, but it’s also opened the door to the writer’s spring. Yes, there may be more books out there with less than stellar plots and characters, some that definitely need grammar and punctuation police, but I can’t believe that having more total books out there is a bad thing. You never know when a flash of genius might come along.

  9. #9 by lindseyjparsons on March 14, 2012 - 9:26 am

    Thank you for another great blog! Looking forward to your new book :D

  10. #10 by Adriana Ryan on March 14, 2012 - 9:28 am

    I actually totally would buy your book of commas. :D You have excellent points … but then again, do people really think NY supports great art? It seems to me that it has been supporting safe writing for a long time now. The indie publishing game is a great gift to writers who are READY to share their gift with the world. Amazon, like you said, is just doing what Amazon has always done–acting as a marketplace. I wouldn’t want them to start weeding out books for quality, because they don’t have the expertise to do it. However, I think it would be awesome if a group of indie professionals started up a voluntary organization that indie authors could submit their books to for a quality “stamp of approval” of sorts. And this “quality” that I’m referring to would only look for basic grammatical things like the correct use of quotation marks, etc. Wonderful books like your book of commas wouldn’t need to apply because the system would be voluntary. :D

    • #11 by annstanleywriting on March 14, 2012 - 3:48 pm

      Nice idea. Why couldn’t there could be levels of approval? Level one: all commas; Level two: good grammar; Level three: decent plot; etc. Or a warning: “this book is art, watch out, you might have to think.”

  11. #12 by mobyjoecafe on March 14, 2012 - 10:22 am

    This is spot-on. I would even contend that Amazon’s real customer may be writers. It’s like spam(the email, not the food)–it costs so little to get the product out that they make money even if a fraction of people buy. If this really is the business model, they have no incentive to dictate who is in and who is out. They aren’t a publisher, they are a platform. We are the publisher. Congratulations, we’ve just become “the man.”

    Eventually, something will spring up to help consumers navigate through the offerings–if we’re really smart, we’ll find a way to work together and build it ourselves. Collective branding, the new marketplace.

  12. #13 by caroline starr rose on March 14, 2012 - 10:58 am

    I’ve published with NY a book that has little commercial appeal — a historical, literary, children’s verse novel. There still is room for the non-flashy, niche markets in traditional publishing.

  13. #14 by Karen Cunningham on March 14, 2012 - 11:24 am

    I’ve read NYT best sellers that kept me glued to the pages for hours. I’ve also read some that didn’t keep me interested past the first chapter. There is a lot of junk being published on both sides of the issue.

    Once consumers/readers get a handle on how to spot a good e-book, I think the market will decide which writers are going to be successful and which are going to need to keep their day jobs. That is as it should be. The thought of gate keepers kind of rubs me the wrong way.

    Understandably, if there are formatting errors and no punctuation, that’s a problem. Writing is about communicating, after all. As a reader, I don’t want to work at deciphering the words on the page because the writer didn’t think it was important to use capital letters or periods. But, that’s just me. Maybe all those commas in Kristen’s upcoming book are orphans that didn’t get included on other writer’s pages. :-)

    The idea of social media as a canvas to hold our art of writing is brilliant. It’s interactive art with words. I like that. Kristen, you’re a genius.

    • #15 by tomburkhalter on March 14, 2012 - 12:07 pm

      Here, here! Good comment, especially the bit about the orphan commas! ;)

  14. #16 by patricia l Morris on March 14, 2012 - 11:32 am

    I’m going to write my next book on a taco chip and give you the credit in salt.

  15. #18 by Anne R. Allen on March 14, 2012 - 11:40 am

    If you read agent blogs these days, you’ll find most agree with you, Kristen. Every agent has had books they adore turned down recently for not being trendy. It’s not even that they’re not commercial–just that they’re not steampunkzombiepocalypses, or whatever is in this week. Even Janet Reid says many great books will not find a traditional publisher. If you write in a YA genre that’s trending, trad. publishers may look at a new novelist. If you write adult genre fiction, chances are they won’t, unless it’s a sizzling hot topic. If you write adult literary fiction, get published in the Paris Review and the New Yorker first. Many agents are now looking at the self-publishing world as their slush pile. Prove you can sell first and then they’ll talk. Or go with a small niche press. That’s what I did..

  16. #19 by tomburkhalter on March 14, 2012 - 12:05 pm

    Something for all of us to ponder, as a warning and a lesson for the future, might be WHY commercialism became so rampant in the marketing of what might be called a mass art form or even, in the broadest sense, a performance art. Oh, I know, the quest for greater and greater profits, the dominance of the marketing people and the CPA bean-counters, pressure to seek the bottom line, all that good stuff… But really, is that the only reason? My suspicion is that anyone reading this blog is an artist, or has artistic sensibilities. So let me put my question this way: Love of the art is sometimes the only thing that keeps the writer going, and many writers have sacrificed homes, marriages, day-job livelihoods, just to keep writing, because they BELIEVE in what they’re doing. And I don’t believe that editors/publishers are stupid, so they must know that little fact about writers. I’ll even go so far as to state that in their hearts, most editors at least start from a position of sympathy with their writers — may even have started as editors because they wanted to be writers themselves and it looked like a good way to learn. But the logic of that requires that editors understand art; that impossible and self-contradicting requirement that writers “do it like everyone else but be original” (see broadsideblog above) might be the cry of an editor with some artistic standards left speaking through the hammer-lock of the accountants.

    I think the artist’s paradigm and the accountant’s paradigm are an uneasy mix at best. But the history of publishing in the last twenty years is a cautionary tale of the marketplace for writers as artists, and the lady above who noted that the bestseller lists are full of “appalling tripe” has put her finger upon the reason. If we as writers get back to art — the art, as Kristen points out, of telling a good story, which is the reason we became writers in the first place — maybe more people will read, since there will be something worth reading.

    • #20 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 14, 2012 - 12:31 pm

      This is one of the reasons I try to never demonize NY. I think they meet art every day, but then they see people depending on them to make wise market choices. I don’t believe any of the new paradigm needs to be an us vs. them. We just need to have realistic expectations of one another and take care of what WE are responsible for.

      Real art that speaks to people and changes them will eventually bubble out and the new paradigm gives it a better chance of being discovered and appreciated.

  17. #21 by tomburkhalter on March 14, 2012 - 12:27 pm

    Kristen, you tweeted a reference to a piece in the NY Times that has a couple of lines relevant to this blog: “It astounds me how little senior management gets a basic truth: If clients don’t trust you they will eventually stop doing business with you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.” For “senior management” read “publishers” and for “clients” sub in “readers” as well as “writers.”

  18. #22 by Joanna Strong-Branson on March 14, 2012 - 12:31 pm

    This post rocks! I have felt for a long time that the gatekeepers were eliminating more than just the “bad”‘ writing from the market, especially when I couldn’t find anything that I wanted to read! I knew there had to be some writers out there writing it, so why wasn’t it being published? Now, I find new reads that I LOVE which I know would never have appeared in print before. I treasure having choices in what to read AND what to write!

  19. #23 by gojulesgo on March 14, 2012 - 12:34 pm

    I wish I knew about your blog a lot sooner! (Came here from Renee Schuls-Jacobson’s blog, Lessons from Teachers and Twits.) I really appreciated this post, and was deeply moved by the except from “,” ;)

    In all seriousness, though…before I started blogging (a year ago), I never even considered independent publishing. Now that I see the incredible talent just on WordPress, I’m starting to change my mind! I think you’re right; NY publishing has to be missing some gems – because I’ve read some of them!

  20. #25 by Lanette Kauten on March 14, 2012 - 12:58 pm

    As I read this blog I thought of a friend who wrote a novel about a Russian girl in a gulag. It’s heart-breaking, very deep, and beautiful. It’s also written in broken English and takes a few pages to get into the “voice”. When I first started to critique the novel, I thought the writer was nuts and told her so. After I got into the rhythm of the character, the broken English, and the story she told, I realized what she created was philisophical art to rival anything like it. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think it’ll sell in the current commercial market, but, commercial or not, that novel is art.

  21. #26 by Nicole M. on March 14, 2012 - 1:00 pm

    As a genuine artist with a genuine piece of art who saw my book cancelled by a Big Six publisher for no good reason & is now having a hard time reselling my book because the market has changed so drastically in the 18 months Big Six publisher kept my book tied up, I say hooray to this post.

  22. #27 by Donna Brown on March 14, 2012 - 1:09 pm

    Who knew that art could be so entertaining?

  23. #28 by Judy on March 14, 2012 - 1:17 pm

    Now I’m with you here. All the way. In fact I reblogged this. Thank you Kristan

  24. #29 by lynnkelleyauthor on March 14, 2012 - 1:25 pm

    You’re right, not all of our art can be considered commercial. I think it’s wonderful that niche markets can be accessed by artists who would otherwise never see their work in print.

    “Social media isn’t a chore, it is a new canvas!” This is such a great way for us to view and embrace social media. Very cool. We need to remind ourselves of this and make the most of it. Thanks, Kristen.

  25. #30 by Karen Mueller Bryson on March 14, 2012 - 1:53 pm

    Brilliant article! When people ask me why I independently publish my work, I say because I want to and I can! Why not put my “art” out there and let consumers decide if they want to purchase it?

  26. #31 by James Loscombe on March 14, 2012 - 1:58 pm

    Very interesting and a different way to look at things. So far the majority of Indy books that seem to make it big are derivative of already published works – not all of them but the ones I seem to keep coming up against. This had led me to the conclusion that one of the major benefits of Indy publishing was the speed at which you could get work out, to hit the vampire, zombie or whatever trend while it was still hot. I don’t think I am wrong in my assumption that literary fiction struggles more than genre in Indy fiction.

    A lot of food for thought though, as always.

  27. #32 by annstanleywriting on March 14, 2012 - 3:42 pm

    I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. Your comma book, and all of the others, reminded me immediately of all of those paintings hanging in all of those museums that are one black streak on a white background and so on. I needed that, so my deepest thanks.
    I enjoyed the rest of the post, too. Sometimes a deep and interesting book does get published by the big houses, but one certainly does have to wade through a lot of chaff to find it.
    Can you point to a few good posts on how to indie publish? I am becoming convinced that is the way to go but I feel overwhelmed by the vast array of choices.

  28. #33 by brendan stallard on March 14, 2012 - 4:05 pm

    “Russian girl in a gulag. It’s heart-breaking, very deep, and beautiful. It’s also written in broken English and takes a few pages to get into the “voice”.”

    Lauren,

    I’d buy that book, no link? I had a girlfriend in Novosibirsk for a while and I found a deep respect of all sorts of things, especially art among the Russians. There was also a rebarbative insouciance that was snug with my soul. I just couldn’t handle the Vodka for breakfast…lunch, dinner and all the other times. Well, it could get pretty chilly, too:)

    As for Picasso, I’ve always hated his, “art.” I was dragged along to his museum in Spain years ago and after seeing so much sheer junk hanging on the walls that really should have been compost, I researched him a bit. He was a con-man, a thief and a vagabond.

    He might have been an artist, but where I come from, they’d call him a p***-artist. Picasso’s “work,” is unmitigated chocolate fireguard, and he has spawned many a true drivel seller to follow on. Like monkeys we keep buying it, but it is the same carp as it was before. Sling it on the compost heap!

    Now I’m in trouble, I know….

    brendan

    • #34 by Lanette Kauten on March 15, 2012 - 2:40 pm

      No link. She hasn’t published it, yet. From what I understand, she’s had a few agent rejections, but I don’t know much beyond that.

  29. #35 by Reetta Raitanen on March 14, 2012 - 4:53 pm

    “technology doesn’t steal our artist spirit, it gives it another medium, much like the invention of cameras and film gave rise to movies…a new way to tell stories.”

    Beautifully said. I also love your take on the age old argument about art vs. commerciality.

    • #36 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 14, 2012 - 5:04 pm

      Thanks Reetta for your time, thought and comments :D *hugs*

  30. #37 by Bev Robitai on March 14, 2012 - 5:41 pm

    I can’t wait to read your pornographic title, ‘**** ***** ***’. There’s nothing like a bit of good forceful punctuation, is there? :) Great post – hope you continue to sway the masses to believeing that self-pubbed books can be fabulous. We’re certainly working hard to produce them.

  31. #38 by malindalou on March 14, 2012 - 10:17 pm

    I totally agree that an old style can find a new audience…I too loved Leonardo in Romeo and Juliet (Claire Danes did a good job too.)

  32. #39 by Siana Wineland on March 15, 2012 - 2:32 am

    I’m new to the whole blogging and platform building thing. I loved what you had to say. There was a lot of very insightful points and if I can just figure out how to share them I will, lol.

  33. #40 by Celia on March 15, 2012 - 6:55 am

    A very well thought out and intelligent post. I love the idea of WANA!

  34. #41 by Shah Wharton on March 15, 2012 - 8:00 am

    I loved this post Kristen. I find there are those steadfastly apposed to the Amazon route and a all who take it, and those who found a freedom to explore their own creativity without breaking their backs (or writing something too formulaic) for traditional publishers. There still exists a snobbery with regards to the whole issue, but I believe this will change as more indie authors become successful and/or when more traditionally published big-shots begin to indie publish.

    A guest blogger wrote a little on this topic (where I ticked all three boxes for you btw :P) and some of the commenters are unhappy with the continued success/control of Amazon over publishing. So I linked back to this post for those readers in particular. You did a great job at explaining the pros and cons. And some of your commenters added extra spice, too. :) X

    http://wordsinsync.blogspot.com/2012/03/great-indie-publishing-revolution-by.html

  35. #42 by About Time Publishing on March 15, 2012 - 8:02 am

    Kristin,

    Your post inspires the true Indie in me, puts butterflies in my tummy! I have always loved the DIY spirit and here it abounds. Social media indeed extends the artists’ brush and opens up a completely new pallet of colors. It also adds new tastes and smells.

    This is powerful stimulus to the artist. It opens the opportunity to see things differently and to use new pieces of a raw puzzle, putting them together in totally different ways. It’s just awesome. The whole idea rocks!

    Now is a time when power can (will) change hands! Writers who can clearly see the potential are reaching for it… myself included.

    Thanks for the boost!

  36. #43 by katmagendie on March 15, 2012 - 9:08 am

    , , , , ,! ,,,,,,, , , , , , , , ,, “, , , , , , , , ” ,,,,, . . . . , ? , , , , , , , ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,!

    Whew, that was more difficult than I thought – I’ll leave the comma book to you, Kristen :-D

    • #44 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 15, 2012 - 9:17 am

      Plagiarism! LOL.

  37. #46 by gregcarrico551 on March 15, 2012 - 12:03 pm

    Commas are the tool of the devil. Oh, and writers. We use them, too. Sometimes too much, but, well, there you have it.

    By the way, thanks for a great post, as always!

    It really inspired me to follow my dream, and go back to work on my Semi-colon book. I thought I was the only one who would understand, but now I see that the world not only really needs it, but is ready to accept it for its inherent, intrinsic value, and the beauty in it’s plain, bland, clause separating, redundant repetitiveness.

  38. #48 by Tahlia Newland on March 15, 2012 - 5:02 pm

    Well said, I am so with you on this. I know of several excellent Indie writers whose work just isn’t what the NY publishers are looking for because they wouldn’t see it as commercial in the present climate, but their work is just plain delightful and what they’re publishing in the big time these days in the fantasy genre is dark and heavy, with a lot of angst and violence. It’s such a relief to be able to read some stuff that glows with freshness and purity. I’m not talking religious stuff either. My most recent rejection indicated that my YA novel was too light a representation of a dark subject for that particular publisher. Guess what, I hate those really dark books with no light. I want my writing to have hope, thank goodness that in 2012 I have other options to get my art to readers who will appreciate it.
    Tahlia Newland, urban fantasy author of ‘A Matter of Perception’ – quirky, surprising & thought provoking tales http://tahlianewland.com/short-stories/

  39. #49 by Yvette on March 15, 2012 - 6:17 pm

    I am very glad things are evolving the way they are. When I first started writing fantasy for children, twenty or more years ago, I was told by every publisher I sent stories too that ‘fantasy doesn’t sell, there is no market for it’. So yes I did run, tail between my legs, to standard types of fiction, and tried to write those instead. But they didn’t stir me, didn’t incite my imagination to get up off its butt, they weren’t what I personally needed to create. Creativity, true art, can only come from within, and can only ever be an honest representation of who we are, at core.

    • #50 by Yvette on March 15, 2012 - 6:18 pm

      p.s. I forgot to sign my whole name to the above piece. Yvette Carol

  40. #51 by J. L. Mbewe on March 15, 2012 - 9:53 pm

    Wow…in such a changing industry, it’s difficult to determine which direction we should go. On one hand, it is liberating to think of being able to do it myself and have complete control over my career. On the other hand, it’s nice to have that “stamp of approval” from the big 6 and to have guidance and editorial assistance. I don’t want to rush into the market, waving a book around that isn’t ready for public consumption.

    Do readers notice whether a book is self-pubbed? (Minus grammatical errors, sloppy cover art, etc) Or is it just us writer/readers who notice?

    • #52 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 16, 2012 - 7:37 am

      If the book is great, readers don’t care.

  41. #53 by Miss Keene on March 16, 2012 - 9:46 am

    Thanks Kirsten for a timely take on it all. I especially like your optimism. A good book overcomes even bad paper and printing. People are hungry for good stories and interesting characters.

    I’ve worked in typography and dabbled in book design. A gorgeous book on a shelf always lures me in, but it’s the writing that hooks me enough to buy and read.

    I’ve put you on a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/OuterBanksWriters and will link to you on my WordPress blog.

  42. #54 by Jim Murray on March 16, 2012 - 1:09 pm

    As usual, a thought-provoking post. I love reading your blogs, Kristen, (for many reasons: industry education, writing tips, mental stimulation, a swift kick in the butt, etc) but this one motivated me to reply. I’m one of those holdouts for a Big Six contract, probably b/c it would validate (in my mind) that my writing is “worthy”, but it saddens me that the Big Six people seem to “have their heads in the sand” about how fast the digital age is flooding into the publishing industry. I’ve just gone through a professional editing process for my first “publishable” novel (not my first novel, but one that’s good enough for me to be proud of) and I want to be published. I’d love to make tons of $$ off the book, but I truly don’t need the money. What I want is to write, entertain people with my craft and have readers appreciate that I have some writing talent. My fear is that self-publishing may be the only path to that goal. That’s not the problem. The problem is that there’s a lot of poor writing on Amazon that I don’t want to be labeled with simply b/c I’m self-published. Granted, there may be some great art/writing offered on Amazon, etc, but I’ve picked up some novels that I thought would interest me and the poor writing, editing and proofreading made me put the work down and shake my head. I want to write professionally and be reasonably successful proportionate to my talent. I don’t want to be the victim of the “blockbuster or nothing” attitude of the Big Six or the “anything goes” attitude of self-publishing. My hope is that a true happy medium will evolve out of the chaos now surrounding the publishing industry.
    Oh, and BTW, thanks for allowing me to rant!!

    • #55 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 16, 2012 - 1:12 pm

      That isn’t a rant and it is a noble dream. Social media can help you stand out from the rubbish. Trust me, if people read your blogs and they are clear and resonate and have a fantastic voice, they are more likely to trust your prose. There are more and more success stories coming out of the indie and self-publishing paradigm. H.P. Mallory just made the USA Today best-seller list and she started as a self-published author.

    • #56 by patricia l Morris on March 16, 2012 - 1:13 pm

      You explain my thinking/situation/novel perfectly. Yikes there is another me?

  43. #57 by UnrestrainedFancy on March 16, 2012 - 2:45 pm

    This is another great post, Kristen.

    I suppose the sequel, “?” will be the thought-provoking tale of all the unanswered questions in our lives???

    Also… I really enjoyed “Red” by Kait Nolen, and definitely placed my vote on her behalf! The polls looked good for her around midnight last night, but I didn’t hear how this round turned out for her yet.

    As I work on rewrites, I have researched publishing options, and my plans have changed several times… then changed back again. Thank you for the info. You have made some very good points here that folks should will keep in mind.

    Laura Ritchie

    • #58 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 16, 2012 - 2:54 pm

      Thanks and Kait actually won Round One and is on to Round Two, so please stay tuned so you can lend a hand. We are not alone! :D.

      • #59 by UnrestrainedFancy on March 16, 2012 - 5:04 pm

        I’m so glad for her. I know she must be thrilled! Ready and waiting for round #2! Lead on Ms. Lamb!

  44. #60 by Glen Strathy on March 18, 2012 - 11:10 am

    The old argument, as I understand it, was that publishers made their money on bestsellers, and then used those profits to publish a lot of books they felt deserved to be published, even though they lost money on most of them – poetry is an obvious category. The point was that the provided a vehicle for artists to see the light of day – even artists who were bad at promotion. That seems to be disappearing as the drive for profits forces publishers to want bestsellers only.

    Amazon makes it easier to “publish.” But most indie books are buried so deep in amazon’s lists that I question if they are seeing the light of day at all.This is especially true depending on the genre. Unless the writer is also a good marketer, it’s not much better than leaving your manuscript in a desk drawer.

    I hope there will still be a vehicle for the writer who has talent in writing, but no marketing or social media ability.

  45. #61 by cashzilla on March 20, 2012 - 9:59 am

    Reblogged this on cashzilla.

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