WWwP #1 Comments

These are the original comments from the old barrylyga.com. To add a comment, return to the BLog page.

Well said

By: Marc Tyler Nobleman
on Tue June 01, 2010, 21:48:37

Barry – we need more posts like these. What it comes down to (now more than ever, I suspect) is that an author who gets behind his book stands the best of all chances. I think of it as a “sole proprietor partnership” – the publisher will do something for the first few months but then it’s mostly up to me (and I don’t mind that). Hence Parnell Hall will hopefully win over some new fans from his You Tube song whether or not any of his books win awards.

Re: What’s Wrong with Publishing? #1

By: Barry
on Tue June 01, 2010, 21:58:20

Hey, Marc! Thanks for chiming in.
I agree that there are cool and important things authors can and should do. But I also think that there’s a lot of re-thinking of conventional wisdom that can and should be done as well. I don’t claim to have any definite answers, but I sure plan to ask a lot of questions. 🙂

i think they should publish more books

By: Joe, the Dancing Mule
on Tue June 01, 2010, 23:03:11

I’m afraid I must disagree with your prescription, Mr. Lyga.
The scattershot approach at least gives more openings to authors – a tentpole strategy similar to the one you advocate leads to a very conservative mindset, in my opinion. If the publishing house has to make its bones on fewer releases, then there is more pressure to hit the ball out of the park every time. As such, like in movies, television, music, etc, there will be big pushes around the same set of proven stars/themes/products, over and over again. This leads to more superhero movies*, more comedies with guys getting bodily fluids on themselves and getting whacked in the balls, more Dick Wolf shows, and more manufactured pop pablum**.
I think the answer is to go the other way – more opportunities for more authors, and more profits realized to authors.
I am not a writer, but it seems to me that the writer has fewer opportunities for ancillary income based on his talents than others. Bands who get screwed by their record label deals can always go on tour (and be screwed by their tour management, but much more gently), actors and directors and such can make commercials and straight-to-dvd schlock, even athletes can make publicity appearances, endorsements and autograph sessions. While I’m sure book signings are wonderful things, they don’t seem to drive much cashola to the author (unless I’m seriously mistaken).
Of course, the plan is simple: (mumble) (mumble) internet (mumble) electronic readers (mumble) profit!
so, anyway, thoughts:
1 – the truly big authors should consider using their power to make the relationship between publishing house and author more equitable. (or like recent experiements by trent reznor and radiohead, cut out the middleman altogether.) the little guys have no power, and so a sort of benevolent cadre of big fish looking out for the little fish is probably the only way the little guy is gonna get a fair(ish) shake.
2 – writers are creative people – they should find ways to use new technologies and such for story-telling. I’d like to think the days of the linear reading/text-only experience are coming to an end. Video and audio and non-linear storytelling are the new hotness, IMO. People who can trailblaze this area can fundamentally alter the relationship between reader and writer and show others the way.
3 – Internet supernerditry, part deux. Authors (like Barry Lyga and barrylyga.com) must continue to push the interactivity between writer and reader.*** This not only bonds the fan to the author, it allows the author to consider alternate methods to reach the fan base.
4 – self-publishing. sure, it’s much-maligned, and given the state of the self-publishing industry of the past, deservedly so. but in the click-to-print era, i think a talented and charismatic author could control a significant portion of the delivery (and monetization) of his work.
anyway, those are my two rubles.
* – which I enjoy, but it’s still a larger problem overall. the mass death of the truly indie movie house in the last 20 years has been breathtaking and sad.
** – who or what is a Bieber?
*** – and I have to tell you, on a philosophical level, there’s something difficult for me to contemplate in the democritization of fandom to writership, but this is the world we live in. even a misanthrope such as myself understands this.

Re: What’s Wrong with Publishing? #1

By: Barry
on Tue June 01, 2010, 23:08:58

Joe, for a dancing mule, you’ve hit some really important points, and you’ve predicted a lot of the topics I’ll be discussing going forward, so I’m not going to respond point-by-point right now…
…except to say that I probably should have been a bit clearer when I said that too many books were being published today. I’m not talking about a drastic scaling back the likes of which you seem to envision, but more along the lines of cutting back enough so that a tentpole isn’t necessary. One of the open secrets of publishing right now is that the Big Books support all the little ones, mainly because the little ones never break out enough to support themselves. With more effort spent on each book, we could come closer to that beautiful world in which each book supports itself…or at least nears that goal.
Anyway, like I said: Good stuff, and I’m going to talk about a lot of it going forward. Thanks for jumping in, and please stick around!

well, i look forward to this blog series, then.

By: Joe, the Dancing Mule
on Wed June 02, 2010, 18:50:38

i’ll be interested in seeing your thoughts on how the publishers will decide what books could be self-supporting (and possibly even author-supporting) with more “push” and which will never make that goal.
but that is small beer – i really want see your thoughts on all that other stuff!

Re: What’s Wrong with Publishing? #1

By: Barry
on Wed June 02, 2010, 21:17:47

@Joe: You keep asking good questions. I should have you take over the blog!
Ideally, it won’t matter. Publishers already do an excellent job, I think, of picking books with potential. (Not that this means all of the books are good or deserving of success, but that most of them have the potential for it.) It’s just a matter of focusing resources to exploit that potential.