karen_w_newton (karen_w_newton) wrote,

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The big Y

In the forums on the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, page a lot of entrants who didn't make the cut are in a huff because CreateSpace already set up an account for every entrant, whether they wanted one or not. Since CreateSpace is a self-publishing outlet and a major sponsor of the cost of paying all those Amazon reviewers to read the excerpts, I don't see this as a big surprise. If you have a product aimed at folks who write but haven't yet got a foot in the door the traditional route, of course a contest that offers publication as the prize will be a great way to generate a marketing list. Duh!

This got me thinking about why I write, and why writers, in general, write. I once heard an agent say that people write books because they have something to say. I think that's the ultimate explanation in that it encompasses all kinds of books—fiction, memoirs, nonfiction, and so on. For fiction, especially genre fiction, I think it's more specifically because the writer has a story he wants to tell. In fact, I see myself as a story teller who happens to write. That means if I want people to experience my stories, they need to read them. Since all but a few of my stories are novel length, that means I need to publish them as books for people to be able to read them. Yeah, I know I could post them all on the web; I could also print out manuscripts and put copies in inflatable containers and throw them in the ocean. The effect would be much the same.

That's because people who read go to bookstores and libraries to find books, not to the beach or even to the web. If all I wanted was to hold my books in my hand and put them on my own bookshelf, I would sign on with CreateSpace right now. But what I want is to walk into a bookstore, go to the shelf and see one of my books just waiting for someone to buy it, and know that all across the U.S.A,, total strangers could pick up my book, and read my story. Whether they did or not would at that point be a matter of luck, a good cover, and my first page, but at least I would have a shot.
Tags: publishing, writing

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