Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Special Moment in Literary History

I hear many of my friends, especially those who are trying to break out of anonymity in the literary world, complaining about how difficult it is. The competition is harder than ever, they claim, because everyone with a pen thinks himself a writer, and because taking rejection from publishers is a constant grind on the nerves. I beg to differ! I think there has never been a moment such as now, with new tools and new opportunities for an author just coming out. 

Here is an excellent article that supports my opinion: The Stigma of POD by Aaron Shepard. I fully agree with his conclusion that the primary market for self publishers today is not bookstores at all. It’s online booksellers, Amazon in particular. And POD is by far the most efficient and profitable means to sell to that market.

Case in point is the incredible success story of Amanda Hocking. Penniless and frustrated, having spent years fruitlessly trying to interest traditional publishers in her work, Amanda needed to raise Some money to make a trip to Chicago, to see an exhibition about Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets. In desperation, She made her unpublished novel available on the Kindle, and has since sold over 1.5m books. 

So I ask you: is this not the most amazing moment in Literary history?


  1. Hi Uvi-- for poets, especially those of us in our fifties and sixties, it truly is a horse race. This is because there are now over 800 degrees in creative writing awarded in the US, most of those from M.F.A. programs where kids are sending their work out young. I agree that it is an amazing time-- i.e. small presses-- that are quite elite-- and both online and offline/hard copy journals, etc. xj

  2. Jen, thank you for your note. It is a horse race indeed, at any age, and no matter the poets age, you need to learn the new paces...

  3. Trouble is, I'm a mathematician. For every shiny needle found in the haystack there's still an awful lot of us hidden away.

  4. You're so right, Sheila. I wish more of us could surface up to the light. Among other things, it takes luck - writing the right thing for the publisher for the right audience at the right time...