Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Duke of Morrison Street appears on Amazon

The Duke of Morrison Street appeared for sale on Amazon while I was visiting my parents in Nevada for the Thanksgiving Holidays. I had a proof copy along with me. My sister read it and liked it. She thought Malady Manor was funnier, and I have to agree. I am pleased when a person stays interested enough to read all the way to the end. I have tossed a lot of books aside on the grounds that they were too boring to live. I am no Hemingway and I know it. I figure if I can hold a reader's interest long enough for him or her to complain about the quality, I am as far up the literary ladder as I am likely to get.

My sister did, however, find a typo. The bane of my existence. What can a poor boy do?

I hesitated showing the book to my family. Having it around brought up all those conversations about whether I will be rich and famous like John Grisham; the choice to publish it myself; my motives for writing it in the first place, and how the book relates to the amount of money I can put in my bank account. I have struggled with those questions too much, and whatever answers I have seem particularly weak when given to my family across a table filled with turkey and gravy.

I went to a meeting while I was visiting. The next morning my mother asked about it. I told her that all my old friends were there, but in Nevada they had different names. That is the way it felt. It was a birthday meeting and a couple of old timers reminisced about the old days and people long gone. I had never been to that meeting before and was not a member of that group, but I knew those old timers too. In Fairview, Oregon they had different names.

Now I am back on the banks of Salish Ponds. I have to come up with a marketing plan. I would rather work on the next book, but I won't do that until I have a sale or two of this one.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Publishing Angst

The last version of The Duke of Morrison Street had a few more typos. I doubt I got them all, but I can hope. I made the Salish Ponds Press live even though people can't yet order the book from the page. That will come soon. The Kindle Edition is ready for publication and I will hit the "publish" button at Amazon as soon as the print edition is live.

I am a member of Salon where I follow the politics and the arts. Laura Miller recently wrote an article about "vanity book awards." The article profiled a company that handed out awards and those gold stickers you often see on books that have won some sort of literary award. It appeared from the company website that the awards were based primarily on the author's ability to send the company sixty-nine dollars.

The article made me wince. It promulgates the idea that if you publish your own work it is a vanity enterprise. In my case, I suppose there is some truth to that. I couldn't get anyone else to publish my book (although I certainly didn't try very hard at it). I also have a vanity law practice. I didn't want to start my own practice, but after being very publicly tossed out of the legal profession and very publicly readmitted, nobody welcomed me back with a comfortable salary and a downtown office. Maybe I am more vain than other people.

Or maybe recovery people, having burned bridges to the normal sources of income and status, have to make their way in the world however they can.

The conversation that followed the article pitted two visions of writing against each other. One vision posits that there are good writers whose work, although seldom popular with the reading public, rises to the top in the form of losing money for major publishers and receiving literary awards. The other vision is of a world in which there are many voices, some of which are great to certain readers at certain times. The first vision is popular in academia; the second in the blogosphere.

I would rather be a rich writer with my book in the front window of Border's stores across the nation. I would also rather be a rich lawyer, with a corner office in a downtown skyscraper. Salish Ponds, however, is a good enough publisher for today, and my vanity law office a few blocks away keeps the creditors from the door. I doubt the two visions of writing will ever be resolved. People thriving within the establishment will look with amused disdain on those outside of it, and those outside of it will rail against the arbitrary barriers that prevent them from getting in. Until I become one of the former, I am one of the latter.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Salish Ponds Press is Born

Today I sent off to CreateSpace the final corrections on The Duke of Morrison Street. I expect tomorrow I will order the last proof. I sent the Kindle version to my Kindle and it looked okay so I uploaded it to Amazon. All I need to do is hit the publish button, and the Kindle version of the book will be for sale. Today, I fussed with the Salish Ponds web page, getting it ready to upload. Tomorrow, I will hook Paypal to the Salish Ponds checking account so that I can make online sales and keep the books separate from my personal Paypal transactions.

At times like this I have a hard time deciding what it is I am doing. Is this a hobby . . . an obsession . . . a business? Is it tilting at windmills?

It seems to me that I didn't try very hard to sell The Duke of Morrison Street to a publisher, and I wonder why that was. I have never wanted to be a publisher, or for that matter a business person of any kind. Yet, I pay my mortgage with my law practice, which is a business, and I am now the owner, operator, and sole employee of Salish Ponds Press, which is something. I guess it's a case of "if there is a road in front of you, take it." That's the problem with free will. You get what you pay for.

I will attempt to document the history of Salish Ponds Press here, but I can't guarantee much. I started a blog once before, and like most bloggers, couldn't keep it up.