PODs: Pain-in-the-butt On Demand

I know I tried to avoid it but I just couldn’t help it.  I did my best to keep off the subject and move on to something else more worthwhile; something that will be engraved in the universal mind of universal literature, or maybe the universal literature of the universal mind.  Let me give some thought to that.  But I don’t think so.  I just had to get it out of me and myself. 

         I wanted to be a rock star as a young man, still do.  That’s all I wanted to do.  I wanted to learn how to play the guitar and perform Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird solo, and blast it from a balcony looking over some city street, even if it wereBucharest.  Now I can’t even qualify as an old rocker because I never was a young one.   Which is partly why I write and publish books.  Or at least try to.

         I’m going through my first self-published job, and it shows.  I shout at my family, ignore my friends and am generally just in a pissy mood day and night.  I’m hoping to get it out as soon as possible, but as I move along in this process (move is not really the right verb, actually), I realize it is not going to happen over night.  I now see that when Kafka wrote The Castle what he was really describing was the publishing world. 

         Let me explain.

        When it came to churning my books out onto paper, there were a number of options to consider.  One was getting a publisher to do it for you.  And without a literary agent.  Ha!  And in this day and age!  Yeah, right!  La crisis! La crisis!  And any future crises too.  They told me about meetings they’d be having months down the road to discuss their new projects, but I know what that means.    

          Until recently, publishing was horrible.  You were at the mercy of a handful of companies…and, as I said, you often needed an agent to help get your work through, if you ever did.  You still need all of these to make it to the big time, but thank God modern technology has allowed for the meek and cheap like us to sidestep it and test our luck without getting someone’s approval.  It’s not about necessarily making it big.  It’s about saying you’ve got a published work, because you think it deserves it.  And it doesn’t necessarily mean that what you have done is good.  But at least you don’t have to rely on someone else’s criteria.  If you’re satisfied, that should be a good start.

       I’ve already got two books out there, but I was lucky; but that wasn’t enough to ensure eternity.  Being a total no-name, you still have to go through the works every time.  It’s like starting over from the beginning.  I could resort to more extreme methods, I guess, like committing suicide, but only as a marketing strategy, mind you.  But I have my reservations.  First of all, it may not work; that is, I may not succeed in killing myself.  Secondly, even if I do, that doesn’t guarantee post-mortem achievement.  And, finally, if I did, who was going to place all those publish-on-demand orders for me?

         Now I’m lying in bed next to half a dozen Chilean flags (don’t ask) and wondering just when I’ll get this off the ground.  I’ve joined a dozen publish-yourself sites, downloaded so many programs the damn laptop is bloated with software.  I’ve PDFed this story and PDFed that article, I’ve ePUBbed every and anything that can be ePUBbed.  I’ve uploaded, downloaded, streamed, run, installed, upgraded, downgraded, confiscated, eliminated, and just plain denigrated the sanctity of this art in the hopes of holding in my hand a volume of my latest work.

        I’ve investigated as far as a human should possibly do.  Research, research and research.  That’s the kind of advice I read about on the internet.  You could literally spend the rest of your life reading up on the subject without ever getting up from your bed.   Nurses would have to come in and bathe you, and cure the sores and scabs off your back and butt.  And the only conclusion you would come to is that it’s an endless waste of time; the minute you think you’ve found the right support for you, there comes some smart-ass website trashing your choice inside and out and promoting a better, more cost-efficient service than yours.  And it’s backed by dozens of fellow readers…each giving their particular vision, approach and strategies on how to self-publish.  It boggles the mind how few will coincide in their opinions.  It’s madness.  It’s vomitous (and yes I know that’s not a word…how’s barf-inducing as an alternative?).  That is why you have to stop, step back and change your perspective.  Maybe committing suicide isn’t that bad after all…please don’t take me seriously on this point!

      I think I’ll go watch Hurricane Irene on NOAA and cool off. 


Be back.