Two Excellent Posts For Writers

I’m getting this daily barrage of tweets from something called top_book. It’s sometimes indecipherable, nothing but ??????s (I think that’s when they point to Japanese or other non-English character sites). And there are many of them in the course of a day. But usually, at least once a day, they expose me to a nugget that’s just great.

Today, they pointed me to two nuggets so good, I have to point them out to everyone else!

Secrets of book publishing I wish I had known

Following up on these overviews of the book industry, I thought I’d share some lessons I learned from publishing Bit Literacy. I originally tried to go through mainstream publishers but eventually self-published it, because of what I learned in the process. I wish I had known everything below before I wrote my book.

This really is absolutely wonderful. Nothing in it that I disagree with. I again want this bit to sink into the head of every writer:

• As for how you get those sales… that’s your job, as I said above. Wait: you thought the publisher was going to sell and distribute your book? No no no. Their job is to put their name on the book jacket, fulfill orders and accept payment from bookstore orders (which come from your sales efforts), keep most of the money, and then, several months later, cut your small royalty check.

Read that again. Again. Again. Again.

Print it out and hang it over your mirror so you look at it while you shave and/or brush your teeth!

That is The Truth. The Gospel. The Real Deal. The Raw Meat.

That being the case — and it is — why do you want to assign to some prick in a New York City cubicle the power of Pope to “bless” your work? It’s your work! They don’t give a flying fuck about it! You’re nothing but some yutz who they happen to take a temporary shine to, like a fleeting desire for a hamburger from McDonald’s. When you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind. And if your book doesn’t meet their — not your — their expectations, you’re nothing but shit to be scraped off the heel of their wing-tipped slipper!

I will continue to hammer hammer hammer this into the head of everyone who is a writer: You don’t need these people. Their function is reaching its endgame. Self-published eBooks are the future. Your future. Your liberation and deliverance and sunshine and independence! Let them come to you with a tin cup for limited paper reprint rights only. That is their future: as limited licensees, churning out the “souvenirs” that twee marketeer called them.

This second post is a hair-raising cautionary tale of how a publisher will screw you everywhichway they can get away with:

What Happened to MathWorld

It is no secret that one consequence of the explosion in the popularity of the internet and related electronic technologies is that many battles will be fought over how information is created, stored, and accessed. It is equally clear that we all have a stake in how these battles are decided.

Below is an account of one such battle — the lawsuit served on me and Wolfram Research in the spring of 2000 by CRC Press LLC, a publisher that generations of scientists used to know as the Chemical Rubber Company. This lawsuit was instigated by CRC Press after I had contracted with them to print and distribute a “snapshot” of my math website in book form. My goal in recounting how that contract went awry is to give others an opportunity to learn less painfully what I have learned — especially about the deep cultural divide that appears to be opening up between most, but I hope not all, book publishers and their potential customers and authors. In particular, many publishers seem unable to understand a new generation for whom dynamic websites are rapidly becoming a primary medium — sometimes coequal with books, sometimes preferred over books — for gathering, extending, and sharing knowledge.

Man, never, ever get into a contract with a company without an attorney. Better make that a relative who is an attorney — who loves you like a immediate family member. You will never get away without a good — and unnecessary! — scarring.

Now go and get back to your writing!

Explore posts in the same categories: Books - Other, C.O.A.T. - Other, eBooks, Reference - Writing, Writers - Living, Writing

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