Recent NY Times Article on Self-Publishing


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  1. #1

    Recent NY Times Article on Self-Publishing

    I was skimming through my dad's old NY Times mags and came across this article on how self-publishing is becoming more and more "respectable." Looked it up and found it online:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/ma...-medium-t.html

  2. #2
    This was being seen on SP sites three months ago.
    It's ridiculous. The guy has no knowledge of the field whatsoever and the sites and resources he sites are an absurd non-survey.
    He can't distinguish between Lulu and xLibris...a pretty clearcut divide.
    It's not even really intended as info on SP, but as a cute little bit.

    It's a scream watching the dying traditional media try to come to terms with selfpublishing without actually investigating, and giving breathless reports on the situation as it was three years ago.

    What's funny is that this one from the NYT (albeit a fluff piece, not actually reporting) is one of the lamest. But most people did their laughing at it in April.
    See my books Hidden Content (and in heaven).

  3. #3
    There are a lot of positive things in the article about self-publishing. There is still a stigma attached to it, and the article puts it in a good light. I would think that’s a good thing for writers to hear who might be considering it.

    It also seems the article is directed more at readers, who perhaps haven’t considered looking at self-published books or even taking them seriously. And they are out there. Plenty of them.

    Of course it's not intended as a how-to for authors. It’s about overcoming skepticism and about how self-publishing is becoming more accepted. I’m sure anyone interested in self-publishing would investigate further.


    When you see an article in the NY Times that puts a positive spin on self-publishing and you consider the wider audience of readers who might be influenced by it, it seems like a pretty good thing to me.

    But maybe there are some people who missed it in April who can now laugh at it in July. So it’s all good.
    Last edited by JosephB; July 7th, 2010 at 11:18 PM.

  4. #4
    'Looks just like the real thing. And perhaps it is the real thing.'

    That reminds me of the line in 'Titanic' - 'You could almost pass for a gentleman.'

    The message here is plain: 'They done got theyselves a double-wide, but trailer trash is still trailer trash.'

    When Pius XII died his doctor refused to allow the entrails to be removed from the body or for proper embalming fluid to be used. During the funeral procession large amounts of noxious gases generated by the deteriorating internal organs escaped, noisily, from the former pontiff's posterior relief portal.

    While I have been kindly treated by large print media houses over the years, the fact is, that was then. This is now. All the large houses have been forced to establish themselves on the Internet, but they don't like it one bit. The New York Times wold love to print a special edition announcing the end of the Web, the death of the Internet, the last stop for those online. Some of the old elephants are becoming rotting carcasses, farting in the faces of those who still cling to them.

    There will always be a market for good writing. We are presently in a transition period, hearing the death rattle of the once great publishing houses, and the as yet difficult to understand clamour of the newly born. The end of traditional book publishing is not yet in sight, but just as the cries of the first gulls tell the seaman that land is just over the horizon, so the fledgling efforts of this generation of electronic publishers tell us that soon we'll all set our feet firmly on the shores of a new world.

    This backhanded 'praise' for self publishing is just the passing of a bit of gas.
    El día ha sido bueno. La noche será larga.

  5. #5
    Exactly. There is nothing there to indicate "respectability" for publishing. And it's obviously not slanted towards readers...all the sites mentioned are sites that publish writers' work, not sites that offer books to readers.

    Not that readers have ever given a damn one way or the other: very few care who the publisher of a book is, just if it's been recommended or sounds good or whatever. This is pretty much understood among self-publishers and discussed as such in the publishing community.

    The times knows dick about self-publishing and continues to regard it as a freak show (as this article does) and recommend vanity scams.
    These two "recent" (in that same sense as "daily newspaper article published in the past year or so") articles are illustrative of that

    This one pimps iUniverse (!)
    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...57C0A9639C8B63

    This one also mentions iUniverse as the example of SP...and hints that self-publishers are killing the publishing industry out of their own greed and lameness
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/bo...fpub.html?_r=1

    Guys with jobs at newspapers (so far) have no understanding of sympathy for author/publishers. They are clock-punchers and derive most of their self-esteem from the fact that they are "inside the fence" of approval and coolness. They tend to be frustrated novelists in the first place and view SP writers as cheating in some way.
    Last edited by Linton Robinson; July 8th, 2010 at 01:46 AM.
    See my books Hidden Content (and in heaven).

  6. #6
    Lin - The real problem for the major publishers is in this one sentence in that second article:

    'A recently released study by the National Endowment for the Arts found that while more people are reading literary fiction, fewer of them are reading books.'

    That underscores what you said about readers not caring about how or where the work was published so long as it's something they want to read.

    Reading those articles I feel as if I'm in the presence of a red-faced ten-year-old barely keeping his tantrum bottled up inside.
    El día ha sido bueno. La noche será larga.

  7. #7
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    Interesting. I hadn't thought of newspapers having a built-in antipathy to self-publishing, but it makes sense. These are people who must be, to whatever extent, shaking in their shoes that theirs will be the next periodical to fail and they'll end up blogging.

    Another thing I noticed in the articles was a total emphasis on print books, rather than the rapidly expanding sector of digital books, which have a larger percentage of self-published titles.

  8. #8
    Good point. And probably because your average newspaper writer is still all bound up in "publishing means ink on paper". (And getting down every night and praying it holds true until they retire)
    See my books Hidden Content (and in heaven).

  9. #9
    The majority of my income over the years has been from the print media, including a few books and countless newspaper and magazine articles. But that will not be true for the young people starting out today, or even for old folks like me who want to stay in the swim.

    If I were 20 years younger I'd be in Afghanistan today with my Acer and my Canon, keeping a weather eye on South Korea, working deals with online syndicates in Asia, Europe, and North America, maybe even ABC down under. ('Down under what?' a drunk friend of mine once asked an Aussie Sergeant in a Saigon bar. The Backward Ox can probably explain as well as I what happened next.)

    There is a great pool of editorial talent in the big houses, but they are in a mind set that will not allow most of them to understand what's happening and to become part of it. The people at Random House and the people at the New York Times don't understand what business they are in. They think their business is printing words on paper, and it's not. Their business is communications, serving as conduits between the writers and the readers. There are other communications channels opening up and the printed page is no longer the only source for the reader.

    Remember the people who made the leather parts for buggies. They made whips and tops and seat covers and dash boards, and then the automobile came along and in a few years most of the companies that made leather parts for buggies went out of business, to be replaced by other companies that made leather seat covers and door panels for luxury automobiles. The buggy whip people didn't understand what business they were in. They were in the transportation business, and when the principal means of transport changed, they could have changed with it.

    Go with the flow, or drown in it. Simple.
    El día ha sido bueno. La noche será larga.

  10. #10
    Honoured/Sadly Missed The Backward OX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garza View Post

    If I were 20 years younger I'd be in Afghanistan today with my Acer and my Canon, keeping a weather eye on South Korea, working deals with online syndicates in Asia, Europe, and North America, maybe even ABC down under. ('Down under what?' a drunk friend of mine once asked an Aussie Sergeant in a Saigon bar. The Backward Ox can probably explain as well as I what happened next.)
    You’re making that up. Our sergeants always behave impeccably when on a tour of active service.

    But that pales into insignificance *CLICHÉ ALERT* when viewed alongside the remainder of your farrago of nonsense.

    There is a great pool of editorial talent in the big houses, but they are in a mind set that will not allow most of them to understand what's happening and to become part of it. The people at Random House and the people at the New York Times don't understand what business they are in. They think their business is printing words on paper, and it's not. Their business is communications, serving as conduits between the writers and the readers. There are other communications channels opening up and the printed page is no longer the only source for the reader.

    Remember the people who made the leather parts for buggies. They made whips and tops and seat covers and dash boards, and then the automobile came along and in a few years most of the companies that made leather parts for buggies went out of business, to be replaced by other companies that made leather seat covers and door panels for luxury automobiles. The buggy whip people didn't understand what business they were in. They were in the transportation business, and when the principal means of transport changed, they could have changed with it.

    Go with the flow, or drown in it. Simple.
    Harper Collins is quite well aware of what business they're in, as the following link shows

    http://www.authonomy.com/about.aspx

    Methinks you may have fallen under the spell of putting words on the page simply because you can, and with the journalist's usual flair for never letting the facts get in the way of a good story.

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