Yeah, I know, strange title. I will, of course, explain, but first…guess what?
Go on! Guess.
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):
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:
- Either I spend close to nothing, and expect nothing in return. Simply use the experience for that – experience, or
- 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.