Saturday, December 20, 2014

Living in two worlds.

I have a bifurcated vision of writing and reading.

On one hand, I think self-publishing and/or small indie publishing is the way to go.  I really believe the Big Five are dysfunctional.  Agents are worst than useless.  I can't ever imagine ever trying to sell my books into this market.  I'm pretty sure it would stall my writing career, and it isn't necessary to be read or to make money or even to gain appreciation.  In fact, I think the traditional publishing world would actually be harmful to my progress.

On the other hand, I still sort of take my own reading from that world.  I still get my reading material from one of my two bookstores.  I don't own an e-reader.

I'm not sure why this is.  I mean -- how can I so clearly and easily see the advantages of writing digital copy but ignore it as a reader?  Maybe I just haven't gotten around to changing.

I'm sort of like the guy at the turn of the 20th Century who really, really loves horses but recognizes that the automobile is the future and starts selling gasoline.  You know, eventually he probably buys a car for himself.  But until then, he still has his horse stable out back.  He can clearly see the future in one thing, but still want to live in the past himself.

Does that make any sense?

This split vision does make it somewhat hard for me to completely understand Amazon and all the book blogs and all the other social media connections and the rest.  I don't inhabit that world, but I'm trying to sell into that world.

So be it.  I shudder to think what would have happened to me if I had tried the traditional route instead of the one I took.

So I slowly adapt, and I try to keep up. But it isn't natural to me.

When I bought Pegasus Books I wasn't really a comic reader.  I had to fumble my way, much as I'm fumbling my way as a digital book writer.  I could intellectually see the qualities of it.  I could appreciate it.  I could admire it.  I could understand it.

But I couldn't really feel it in my gut.

I kept trying and eventually I found Alan Moore and his stories, and Neil Gaiman quickly followed, and Frank Miller and so many others, and I found myself finally really getting it and even more importantly living in that world. The longer I inhabited that world, the more I found and the more I felt it.

I ended up making a career out of it.

So you can understand something, but not feel it.  You can feel something, and know it's the wrong way to go.

Kind of hard to explain.

I'm a very logical guy in some ways.  But this isn't just logic.  I really do understand that digital is the way for writers to proceed and because of that, the readers will follow.

And yet I still have a nostalgia and a desire to feel the old-fashioned book.

Funnily enough, I'm not worried about my businesses.  I believe traditional publishing will hold on long enough for me to finish my career.  I believe in fact that traditional and digital will co-exist.  But I would advise any beginning writer to forget about the Big Five and do it yourself.

In my new career, as a writer, I'm pretty convinced the advantage goes to digital and all its promise.  Because I want to be a writer, I'm following a path that I don't totally understand but instinctively, intellectually, and logically understand is the right way to go.

I'll keep going until I totally feel it as well.

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