Saturday, August 14, 2010

Stepping off into the wild blue yonder.

The great Brian Keene released some interesting news earlier this week via his website. Amid explaining his recent decision to split with long time publisher Leisure, he let spill that some upcoming rereleases he has been promising (Fear of Gravity, Unhappy Endings, The Rising: Selected Scenes From the End of the World, and Earthworm Gods: Selected Scenes From the End of the World) will be self published. I’m quite curious to see how this experiment will work out for him.


As a reviewer, I have a tendency to cringe whenever I see something that is obviously self published. There is a lot to be said for a good editor with experience in the field and the importance of your work being seen with a fresh set of eyes. Every writer needs someone cold and heartless, who is willing to tell them what needs to die in their precious little darling. Also, the little bit of extra quality control is usually a good thing. The only good experience I’ve had with a self-published work is Bradd Quinn’s Under, which has a damn good story at its heart but is still in desperate need of solid content editing. I used to self-publish through my own company, Generic Publishing, and the stuff of my own that I put out sucked donkey nuts. Even Stephen King proved that we cannot be trusted to be our own editors.

At the same time, the self-publishing stigma has been waning in recent years, due in part to a combination of the rising e-publishing market and the proliferation of quality software to self format your book. There are also a shitload of hired gun editors out there, but beware that many of them will only copy edit instead of editing for content and providing useful advice on how to make your story better. It isn’t easy and advertising on a budget is a real bitch, but it can be done.

If someone can do it well, it would be Brian Keene. The man has already proven himself as a quality writer and he has the clout to draw attention without depending on a publisher’s good name. I think this is going to be a big test for self publishing. If he can’t do it and make it at least mildly profitable, then the future doesn’t look so bright anymore.

But, to paraphrase a poster from Jello Biafara’s bid for mayor, what if he wins?

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