There is a great deal of misunderstanding about the publishing industry and this statement can be made by me even after having just published. I don’t get it.
Well, Sal may get it, but I don’t. It’s a mystery to me, it really is. Financially, it makes no sense. None. The printer takes the first ten dollars and the shipper (Canada Post) takes the next twelve. The tax man takes 12% on top of that. You are at almost $25.00 and counting. Put your book in a bookstore and they add 40% or almost another $10.00. The book – with nothing yet shared with the author or the editor is now $35.00. That is the way it is unless you go the AMAZON route and then printing and shipping are all included at $10.00. A 12.99 cent book (ours) yields $3.00 a copy.
I can’t park my car for an hour in downtown Vancouver for $3.00.
So, you don’t write for the money.
You don’t write for the fame, either. There may be some, someday, if you are really, really good but, if you are mediocre, fame proves more than elusive, it exists only in absentia. And how could it be otherwise? If you advertise, you lose your $3.00. If you don’t, you don’t get your pathetic dollop of fame. Hard choice. The only other way is to self-promote by walking around and talking about yourself all day long. But that is such a huge chore and fraught with logistics and, of course, costs, not to mention embarrassment, alienation and being shunned. Doing book and pony shows at local libraries is a relatively easy way to make $30.00 if you are willing to spend $40.00 to do so.
So, fame and money are not valid reasons for doing this. That just leaves invalid reasons and, being me, I have a few. I wanted to share my rants with the world, vent my spleen, crack some whacked out jokes and outrage the targets of my literary barbs. But Sal took all those out. Said something about being nice or saying nothing at all. Another concept I have yet to grasp. So the book is ‘nicer’ than the author by a large margin. And I am not so sure any of my benign, nice or even eccentric views on things actually made the cut.
Ravens, yes. Politics, not so much.
It does help to address the basic requirements of competency, however, and so that has to be the reason I offer up for this exercise. The one I cling to. The one I offer up as collateral for the loan I will need soon.
Competent Man: “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, con a ship, design(and build) a building, write a sonnet (book), balance accounts (easy when you aspire to zero), build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
“Specialization is for insects.”— Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love