Sunday, January 21, 2007

I Wish I'd Thought of That

Here are some things that I have run across recently that really make me wish I'd said them first.

I disagree with much of what Zadie Smith says in this essay, but I believe that she makes a good point: chances are very good that you will fail at whatever literary endeavor you put your mind to. The important part about that failure is the admonition to fail better. Strive to overcome your limitations and do not be dismayed about your inevitable lack of success.

If you are not reading the Grumpy Old Bookman, then you are missing out on some choice commentary. He recently went through Lulu's publishing process with one of his mid-length works, just to see how it all worked. His conclusion is that self-publishing your novel in this way is not likely to set the world on fire. However, this is a good way to produce a calling-card book. Or even just a book that you can hold in your hands.

He also points out that it is possible to use the self-publishing model to get incrementally better at writing and promotion. Publish one book, see how it does, then refine your technique. After all, you have nothing to lose by doing so.

Finally, Simon & Schuster are using to host a writing competition that uses the existing community to rate the quality of the books that have been submitted. It's not a new idea, by any stretch of the imagination. The Frontlist, for example, already does something similar. Still, as ideas go, it's time has definitely come.