Sunday, May 23, 2010

Welcome To Electric Gutenberg!

Like just about everyone else in the world, certainly all writers and wannabe writers, I've always wanted to publish a book.  Preferably a novel.  Preferably one that would top best seller lists and mean I never had to work again.  I started a couple books, but never got close to finishing.  Everything I heard from other struggling writers, constant rejections from agents and publishers, made me hesitate.  The most horrific stories were tales of writers self-publishing their own books, spending thousands of their own money, and ending up with piles of books in boxes rotting in their garages.  Unfortunately, I could easily see myself going down that kind of path, because if I finally finished a book I would be desperate to get it printed, and could easily see myself wasting money and time going from bookstore to bookstore begging for them to carry a single copy.  Besides, I had to hold down real jobs for "The Man" and pay the bills.  And "The Man" doesn't care about your dreams.

Then came the internet explosion, and everything in the world began to change.  I was determined to be part of it.  I got really into tech, worked for a few disastrous start-ups that went nowhere, and started blogging which fulfilled on a limited level some of my desire to be published.  I never expected blogging to make me rich, or lead to any grand business opportunities, but it sure is fun.  I still can't get over the fact that sites like Blogger allow you to write stuff and let the entire world read it.  FOR FREE.

Now, self-publishing is the talk of the internet.  Services like Create Space allow you to upload books and have them published on demand… FOR FREE.  Meantime, all those agents and traditional publishers that have been tormenting struggling writers are starting to look nervous.  I'm starting to think it's time for me to go back and pursue my dream of being a novelist.  I've got a vague idea of how to do it, but there's a lot I still need to know.  How to format the book, how to upload it, how to price it, market it, etc.  One thing I do know is blogging.  So I'm thinking, why not write a blog about how I go about this, starting with no experience, so others can learn from my efforts.   So that's what this blog is going to be about.

There's one problem: I haven't written a book yet.  I've got an idea, but it's going to take some time.  So be patient and check back every… year or so.

In the meantime, let me leave you with an old publishing joke.  With the rise of the internet, especially competition from Amazon, a lot of people are wondering if it will hurt publishing.  Of course, people have been worrying about the publishing business from the very beginning.  The first book every published by Gutenberg was the bible.  The second book was… about the death of publishing.

I don't think publishing is going away, but I do think we're about to enter into a very exciting new era.  I hope to be a part of it.

Mackay Bell

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