Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Let's Work Together, Part One

This is a very long blog entry, in six parts, about how indie writers, musicians, and film people need to work together and support each other.

Part One: Going to Daddy

Poets and novelists. Rappers and hiphop artists. Indie filmmakers and screenwriters.

We’re each in our own separate box.

We might not think we have much in common, but really we do.

Because of the way the Internet has facilitated communication and made it easy to promote directly to an audience, we all have a chance to succeed. A better chance than ever before.

Let's talk about the book industry.

As I see it, under the old publishing system, unless you were wealthy, you couldn’t afford to publish a book yourself. And if you did publish it, you would probably never earn back your publishing costs. The people who would make money on the book were the printers and the distributors, while you would go into the red and probably have a roomful of unsold books to use as kindling after you’d spent thousands on self-publishing and couldn’t afford to pay your heating bill.

If you didn’t self-publish, you were trapped in a system that was offensively paternalistic.

You had to grovel and beg “Daddy,” an agent, to represent you. You had to grovel and beg another Daddy, the publisher, to publish you. You had to grovel and beg yet another Daddy, a bookseller, to stock you.

Becoming a successful author was all about grovelling to and begging from a number of Daddies—who were often rude and dismissive and self-absorbed—and heaven help you if you got out of line.

If you misbehaved, your career—assuming you even got to have one—would quickly be over.

Coming tomorrow: “Part Two: Disrespect and Downright Theft” about the corruption of the book industry.

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