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Archive for March, 2008

Is a Book of Cardboard, Copy Paper and Staples Worth $19.95?

Is it jealousy that makes us emotional at the news of another author being published? Is it so wrong to be envious that it isn’t us instead? I don’t think it’s jealousy if we can admit we’re envious. But, what if we go on to point out it was published by a vanity house? Or, that we read the first page and found noticeable problems? Are we jealous if we point to the errors? Probably.

That anyone can publish a badly written book is one thing, but to put it up on Amazon asking for money makes me slightly angry, It’s like a person cutting to the front of the line; jumping ahead of all the suckers working hard to get it right. It leaves a bad odor on all self-published authors, some of which are very good. One bad apple stinks up the whole barrel and self-publishing keeps its bad reputation a little longer.

I wanted to be able to set some of my short stories together, in between two seven or nine -by -five inch sheets of hard cardboard, disguised by a nice covering of self-stick contact paper. I wanted words across the front that hinted of the stories inside, and a catchy title. I wanted my name at the lower margin, and I wanted my family to love them; to read them. I wanted them to be proud that the stories contained some of my memories of them. Have I asked for too much?

I may never write perfect enough for traditional publication. I may never be chosen from hundreds of other hopeful submissions, and sometimes I feel I know nothing about writing. I’m in a deep, dark valley and wonder if I really want to climb out. It’s comfortable here, and there are no dues to pay.  At this point, crafty cardboard, copy paper, and staples are good enough and they’re cheap.

I wish I were more like some of these self-published writers; blissfully unaware of their errors, inconsistencies and plain ‘bad writing’. I don’t expect perfection from anyone, but I’d be embarrassed to put a price on anything less.

Yeah, I’m just jealous of one more writer who had enough nerve to grab his dream, without slowing for a moment to ask for a good proofread or pay his dues.

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