Self-publishers beware…I’m taking over the world!

Rob Brezsny - American astrologer, writer, poe...

Yeah, I know, strange title.  I will, of course, explain, but first…guess what?

Go on!  Guess.

(sigh…I’m waiting…)

Yup.  You guessed right – it’s my birthday this weekend!  (I knew the cosmic waves were pulsing through your body sending an image of me crawling out of my mother’s womb.  Nice, huh?)

Anyway, as my forty-second year on this earth begins, I chanced to take a look at my horoscope.  A colleague and I were sitting down for lunch today, and she took a gander at a local weekly rag called the Bohemian.  It features Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology.  The first time I encountered this guy’s horoscopes, I read each one of ’em.

Normally, I just read my own.  I don’t care how good or bad other folks planetary predictions are, but Mr. Brezsny’s horoscopes are just so darn wacky and funny, I usually read all of his.

He never fails to entertain.  Well, this week he did better than entertain.  Though I’ve only been with my current firm for less than two years, that’s more than enough time for my co-workers to get to know me.  This week’s astrological advise hits my personality so well, that as I read it aloud, we busted out laughing.  Here it is (highlighted sections are particularly fitting):

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
The Cunnilinguistic Dicktionary defines the newly coined word “mutinyversal” as “rebellion against the whole universe.” I think it would be an excellent time for you to engage in a playful, vivacious version of that approach to life. This is one of those rare times when you have so many unique gifts to offer and so many invigorating insights to unleash, that you really should act as if you are mostly right and everyone else is at least half-wrong. Just one caution: As you embark on your crusade to make the world over in your image, do it with as much humility and compassion as you can muster.

Oh my, oh my.  That is just toooo funny.

It’s not just this week, mister, but every week that I know it all.  Occasionally, I deign to bestow my compassionate wisdom upon the masses.  How generous of me.

Thank you, Mr. Brezsny for acknowledging my brilliance, but there was no need.  I am quite aware of it and flash it when I see anyone stepping out of line. 😉

Mr. Brezsny gave me such a wonderful laugh, I thought that it would make a good blog post and proceeded to check out his website.  In my zeal to waste as much time as possible, I clicked on his Beauty and Truth Lab page.  As I read, all the good energy just got sapped out of me.  For there, dear readers, I found another sucker.

For all of Mr. Brezsny’s wit and belief in positivism, he had fallen prey to that terrible affliction many of us are tempted with every day: a vanity press.

On this page, our plucky astrologer asks his web readers to do three things: buy his book, read it, and leave a review on Amazon or where ever.  He does restrain himself and leaves it up to the reader to decide whether they’ll give his book a good or bad review.

But it gets worse.

He then goes on to explain why he’s asking so much of us: it cost him $30,000.00 to publish his book.  Thirty thousand dollars!  Are you nuts?!

Well, yes, he probably is, but that’s besides the point.

I don’t think his publishing path put him through what we can all recognize as a vanity press (PublishAmerica, etc.), but he did go through a publisher that allowed him to pay for the printing.  He also paid for a book designer, and, I’m sure the cover and all the inside art work.  Even so, that’s a hefty price.  And I imagine he’s not getting a fraction of that back in sales.

The reason this hit home is that I’m considering self-publishing.  I thought, I have a bit of savings, I’ll hire an editor, a really cool book cover artist, and maybe some ad space somewhere – like GoodReads, the LibraryThing, or some other like place.  But reading about Mr. Brezsny’s experience has given me a reality check.  Whether I pay $3,000 or $30,000 dollars to self-publish, the chances of recouping my investment is infinitely small.

I figure I have two choices:

  1. Either I spend close to nothing, and expect nothing in return.  Simply use the experience for that – experience, or
  2. I hold tight to my escripts (that’s a digital version of a manuscript – don’t you know?), polish them till they shine, and then offer them to a publisher or agent sometime in the distant future.

Which ever I chose, you can bet I won’t be taking any of Mr. Brezsny’s advice too close to heart. 😉

Live and learn.

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11 thoughts on “Self-publishers beware…I’m taking over the world!

  1. I hope you realize there’s a happy medium between #1 and #2. It’s all very well to laugh at (and pity) Mr. Brezsny’s gullibility, but if you believe those are your only choices, you’re not much better off than he is. Except for your bank account, of course. If you’re willing to do all or most of the work yourself, which means you’re willing to learn the processes necessary for self-publishing, you can be successful (providing your book is worth reading) without spending very much at all. Many self-publishers who are doing very well would consider $3,000. just as outrageous as $30,000.

    1. Yes, you are right. There is a happy medium between the two, as well as, I’m sure, countless more possibilities. Every person’s path to publishing will be different.

      And, I’m not laughing at him. I do pity him and I do think he is kind of nuts, but in a perfectly lovable sort of way.

      But, for me, I fear the two options I presented are the most likely I would pursue. And you hit a sore spot: “providing your book is worth reading”. That’s the clincher, huh?

      I honestly do NOT think my book is worth reading. So I either just throw the thing out there, or convince someone else that my pile of poo really is a work of remarkable genius. 😉

      Thanks for reading and for stopping by. 🙂

      1. The quality of the book should always be the clincher. If I know my best friend has written a crappy book, I’d do my best to dissuade him/her from publishing it. And I’d probably twist their arm if they were thinking of paying big bucks.

        But even if you don’t think your book is worth reading, maybe the next one will be. Practice, learn, practice, learn. That’s not a guarantee of success, but it really helps. Good luck with Nano. This year’s novel will be my third 30-day wonder.

    1. Thank you, Randall. I fear it is at Mr. Brezsny’s expense, but I wasn’t trying to be condescending, just funny.

      The thing is, I could so easily be in his place – today! Knowing what I know.

      You have a great weekend, too. 🙂

  2. A: I’m a Scorpio, too. 😀 When’s your birf-day? Mine’s Friday. (Holy crap. As in THIS Friday.)
    B: Awesome post. I hope I get a chance to read your book sometime. 😀

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