One of the nice things about the web is that you never know what you’ll run across when you start poking around with a search engine. While doing a search for POD (print-on-demand) resources I ran across a rant on the Daily Dish site that contained this quote:
[Publishing] is an industry where agents only get work from editors, and editors only get work from agents. Where the writers are taken out of the process entirely in order to “protect” them.
I have to say, on those occasions when I actually tried to penetrate the book world that’s very much the feeling that I came away with. It really didn’t matter how good your writing was or how much of yourself you put into it — it only mattered if you would sell. And that would be fine if that’s the way they played it, but it’s not.
They don’t say, “We’re looking for ground beef.” Instead, they say, “We’re looking for the essence of life — the voice that can rise above the chorus — the vision that blah blah blah blah.” But what they’re really looking for is five pounds of 85% lean, to which they can add two tablespoons of salt, one tablespoon of sugar, a single-serving four-person helping of french fries, and a corn-syrup-based beverage.
Which means every person who approaches the publishing industry playing it straight — as if talent matters, or vision matters, or anything matters other than the sausage that comes out the back end of the machine — is a dupe. An ignorant, naive stooge. Which is, on more than one occasion, very much how I felt after all was said and done.
At the bottom of the above rant, Andrew Sullivan appended a note and link to this post, announcing that he was going to take the POD route for a book based on images from his blog:
So, after nearly 3 years, and well over a thousand published, we’ve decided to compile all your best windows into a book. A photo book? In this economy? And didn’t you call the publishing industry “one of the shallowest, dumbest and most archaic in the U.S” – two years ago? You bet, now more than ever. That’s why we’ve decided to bypass the publishing houses altogether and experiment with print-on-demand. We’re going to try to publish the book independently, through no established publishing house, as an experiment in blog-based, print-on-demand publishing.
That was back in late March. Where does the project stand now?
I have no idea, because I can’t find further mention of it on the site. So I’m going to email Andrew and see what he says in reply.
Update: As of the end of September Sullivan is still working on his self-published book, and hopes to have it available for the upcoming holidays.
— Mark Barrett