Thursday, April 8, 2010

Between Reader and Writer

New technology has also radically changed the fields of writing and publishing. What you are reading right now is a perfect example of this. I took up blogging because it is an efficient way for me to write what I would like to write and then share it with whoever wants to read it. And not one piece of paper has to be used in the process. All you have to do is visit this site to read it.

In the past, I self published two books of poetry. It was not just the printing that was expensive, but there was an incredible amount of work involved in visiting bookstores and trying to get them to carry my books, and most insisted on consignment, which means you are putting your product out there with no compensation until after it sells. So I did tons of performances and readings to introduce people to my work. Lots of work for a little bit of money.

Later on, I wrote a couple of books, but could not find a publisher who was interested. They had lots of questions about my platform, and disappointingly few questions about what I wrote about. Platform in their terms means that you have an audience already built up, ready to buy your book. For example, if a person has their own radio or TV show, they have a way to promote their book on the air every time they broadcast. Publishers also like to rush things into print when a person or topic is suddenly hot. So where the publishing process used to take a year or two to get your book on the market after they decided that they wanted it, celebrity books can be popped out in a matter of months, from start to finish.

Since I was not famous on that level, they were not very interested in what I had to offer. Many other people have had this same experience. Before the Internet, the only alternative was to publish it yourself, paying a printer then driving around with a box of books in the trunk of your car, selling them wherever you can. Now you can share your work on a website or blog, or offer versions that a person could download. And you don't have to give one thought to trying to convince some agent or publishing company representative that you really do have something worthwhile to offer them. You present your writing directly to the readers.

You just put it out there and see what kind of feedback you get. Some days you get lots of feedback, some days you don't, but there is a very satisfying feeling to be able to be able to express yourself in writing, without any censorship. Plus it offers an opportunity to make new friends and have interesting conversations with people you might never have met otherwise. Some may live in other parts of the country or other countries. Discussions can take place in person or by email.

Once again the challenge is how the creative person can make money for their work. What I have done is put a paypal donation button on my blog so that people who enjoy what I do can support my efforts. I have written over and published more than 600 pieces on this blog so far, and anyone who wants to read them can access all of them for free. That represents a lot of time and effort on my part, and donations are a way for readers to show their appreciation, and will help me make a living as well. I thought this option is a simple, gentle way to go forward.

Once again, creativity has gone from essence through various types of forms, then back to essence again.

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