One overriding factor in my life has always been my lack of confidence. I hide it really well in public but in private when no one else is watching, I pummel myself relentlessly.
Recently as I moped about the house, silently berating myself for my failure to produce any significant amount of work, a thought resurfaced that I hadn’t considered a viable option in years.
I know early on in this blog I mentioned the big one that got away…That terrible 1st draft novel I actually managed to get onto the desk of an editor at TOR ten years ago and then didn’t take any of his advice and self-published “as-is” on the net.
While I consider this to be the dumbest decision in my life, and a shame I will never live down; I believe it discolored my opinion on the process of e-publishing for the better part of a decade, and this has made me blind to the reality of my own changing universe.
In the ten months I have written this blog, beating myself up month after month over the concept of trying to break into the traditional “publishing” marketplace; it just occurred to me that perhaps trying to brake into this antiquated marketplace is why I am continually getting the spank!
Shortly after the passing of Steve Jobs while listening to a lot of Kevin Smith, an idea began to creep its way into my mind. I began to see that despite the fact these two guys were on the complete opposite ends of the creative spectrum they both exemplified one unifying theory; I can change the world by doing it my own way.
Without Steve Jobs’ relentless drive as well as business savvy, I wouldn’t be here right now typing away on my mac, checking my stats for this blog on my iPhone, or repeatedly pressing the email icon hoping for some outside the house good news. Steve Jobs took what the world had to offer and reshaped it to suit his will. There was always a better way, he just had to imagine it first.
Kevin Smith, king of the indie film in the nineties. Honestly…This man could have continued to walk down the path Hollywood wanted for him, making Jay and Silent Bob movies till the cows came home while raking in the royalties. Instead he looked at his life and said “Wait a minute! The world is changing…why do I have to follow your rules? I’m gonna make Red State the way I want, gonna sell it the way I want and be a success without you Hollywood.”
Now he’s talking about retiring from making films altogether, is writing books, makes a fortune on the personal appearance circuit, has heavily invested in podcast based internet radio and in general has not missed a creative beat. Kevin Smith recognized that moment when he could choose to walk away from the established way of doing business and still be a success doing what he loved.
This does not mean that there is podcast coming and I haven’t invented a new way to download your porn at work…
What it does mean is that both of these men make me think about the why. Why do I keep pounding my head again a wall to try and participate in a system that clearly doesn’t work for me or thousands of other writers?
Ten years ago in a pedantic fit, I threw my only real finished piece of work unedited out into the gulf of the internet and never looked back.
Back then most people were just getting used to having a real computer at home, porn was hidden in the back of the desk drawer on a disk, and just downloading the porn onto that disk was a chore. Even if the book hadn’t been shite on a stick back then, who did I think was gonna download it? Where was the commercial base required to succeed? It just wasn’t there.
It is here now.
My sixty two year old father; who just recently (in the last twenty years) learned to love reading, called me to tell me how happy he was with this new gadget my sister had bought for his birthday. “It costs me a chunk of money every month but it is so worth it…I have read like twelve books in like a month.”
And the name of the gadget? The Kindle.
God bless his soul…That gruff as hell, pure southern, vietnam vet who struggled all his life with dyslexia was now eating westerns, romance, and who knows what else like a great white in a seal pool.
How many other people out there are like that?
How many people are being attracted back to the written word just because things like iPads, Kindles and smartphones are making it truly easy to connect to the literary world in a convenient way?
Is this the same thing that happened to the music industry and in a large part the movies industry as the true easy of digital music and movies became apparent to the general public? Is the publishing world reaching the summit of its own true digital age where success can truly be found online just as readily as the physical world?
I hope I am looking at where the “puck is going to be” on this and am making the right decision. Either way, at least I am making one. Stay tuned for more details…