Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 548, December 13, 2009

Left-wing/right-wing, either of them will
cheerfully kill you and cook you and eat you.

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The Publishing Revolution
by Daniel G. Jennings

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

Something rather extraordinary happened to me in the last month; I became a published author and I did it without the New York publishing industry!!

The extraordinary thing about this feat was that I had been trying to get published for about twenty years or ever since I got infected with the writing bug. Like most authors I tried to go through the "system" by mailing manuscripts and book proposals to the literary agents and publishers listed in the big books in the reference section at the library. Nothing actually happened except that I made the good folks at Kinko's and the Post Office a lot of money.

Like most would-be authors I followed the advice given by the books on publishing, written by "publishing industry insiders" and published by big New York Publishing Houses. I kept mailing off the manuscripts and proposals thinking that sooner or later one of those magical creatures called literary agents would notice me, wave a magic wand and presto I'd have a big book contract, a movie deal and a yacht. All I suppose I did was to waste the time of some poorly paid temp at an office in New York and my money.

Yet now I'm a published author with three books on sale to readers. That happened because of The good folks at Amazon are quietly making a publishing revolution, one that should have happened thirty years ago. They have two great services that allow an author with a computer with an internet hookup to publish his or her book directly with no help from anyone and put it for sale for before millions of readers.

The services are called Createspace and Kindle. Now you've probably heard a little about Kindle but you probably haven't heard about Createspace which might actually be more revolutionary than Kindle. Createspace allows a person to upload a manuscript to an online publishing service. The service then creates a book, a real book made of paper with a cover and everything that's printed out and shipped to you. It's just in time publishing and it works because the only books printed are those people actually pay for. This means that even a modest author with a few dozen readers can get their tome published and make a few bucks out of it.

The great thing about Createspace is that no publishing industry and no publishing industry gatekeepers are needed to get published. There's no literary agent, no publishing house in New York, no book deals, etc. Instead the author puts the book directly into the system and gets paid directly. Amazon simply deposits the author's royalties directly into the bank account of their choosing.

Kindle is a similar system that uses an electronic book reader basically a screen people carry around with them. The pages of the book appear as images on the screen and people read them. A computer in the Kindle allows the people to download digital books from Amazon. Sony is supposedly working on a very similar device. As with Create Space, authors can use Kindle to bypass the publishing industry and go straight to the readers.

This means that works that might not get published because they're politically incorrect or offend some New York snob's sensibilities can be published. It also means that authors and not the parasites in the publishing industry can make the money off the books. It will also give readers more choice than the superstar writers the publishing industry is pushing on the reading public.

This of course should have happened thirty years ago but it didn't because the publishing industry has too much to loose. All the people in the literary agencies and the New York Publishing houses don't like the idea of going out and teaching high school English for a living, which is what they're probably qualified to do. Barnes & Noble and Borders don't like the fact that the huge stocks of books they have could be useless. The archaic book distribution industry doesn't want to be driven out of business.

Yes folks the publishing revolution is upon us even if the New York Publishing Industry doesn't want us to see.

Oh and those three books I published well they were a libertarian science fiction story called "Robots Just Want to Get Paid," a thriller named "The Conspiracy Against America" and a little thing called "Find Work Through Temporary Agencies." I don't think any of them are great literature but you're welcome to check them out by typing my name; Daniel G. Jennings, into Amazon's search engine. Oh and please buy them I could use some beer money.


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