Well, OK. Hello. I’ve recently found myself saying, fairly often, “man, I want to blog about that!” only to discover that, much to my surprise, I didn’t actually have a blog.
Seems odd even to me to have been so technologically quiet (my website has been up since 1998…). I’ve got plenty of strong opinions on subjects both obscure and popular, and a particular expertise in and passion for book publishing.
My soul is that of an acquisition editor; in my years as executive editor with (what is now) Random House I felt a powerful sense of self-meets-career. I’ve got the head of a literary agent, with a keen sense of what will sell and how to present it; that’s the job I’ve held for more than fifteen years.
I have long experience and a great deal of interest in the intersection of self- and traditional publishing. From my early days as an editor, where I acquired several originally self-published books, through my years as an agent, during which I’ve represented many originally self-published books, I’ve admired the passion, commitment and expertise behind the self-published books that find an audience without benefit of the corporate publishing machine. By the same token, I am a passionate supporter of traditional publishing. I don’t think it’s perfect, and I’m glad that the industry is undergoing such strenuous self-examination. But I value expertise and I love qualified gatekeepers, because I love books and I think a glut of unvetted books diminishes the value of the medium. I don’t think these views–support of self-publishers and support of barriers to publication–are contradictory, and I’m looking forward to writing more on this subject.
What else…I’m currently developing commercial software to facilitate the process of writing and publishing, starting with creating great book proposals. While these products have been in development, I have been hoarding articles, trustworthy and titillating links and pithy statements in virtual piles across several computers and in many scattered notebooks. Looks like I’ve waited a bit long–I see what I had thought were cutting edge ideas expressed perhaps even more eloquently by other people less blog-inhibited than me.
That’s a twinge, but mostly I love seeing all the innovations as the earth shifts below the publishing world. Wonderfully rich sites of all sizes like The Millions and Goodreads and Nancy Pearl and so many others I’m looking forward to talking about (some new, some established).
I’ve also seen too many schemes to count, and it’s dismaying. I’ve always ranted against the sad hamster wheel of unqualified advice-givers taking the money of unpublishable authors. Now, with nothing “unpublishable” and the Internet full way past the brim of easily obtained “credentials,” I’m not sure my voice will make a whole lot of difference. But I’ve decided it’s worth the effort, even if just for my own peace of mind, to add my words in praise of authenticity, authority and expertise to the thankfully growing crowd in search of such assets.
I hope if you find your way to these essays, and any of my topics do in fact feel familiar, I can present them in a personal, original and helpful manner–albeit a little dusty.