Friday, July 18, 2008

What Are You Trying To Accomplish?

One of the things a self-publisher has to determine is "what am I trying to accomplish?" For example, the author "Crusade Redux" published a book of the same name on Lulu. He then jumped on the Lulu forums and asked for a review. Ron Miller, author of 30+ books, editor and generally Certified Expert On Publishing (tm) says to Crusade, "you need to format the book like X."

Crusade says "I'm trying to make this like a comic book without pictures." Most self-publishers (like me) are trying to create a book that's just like what you get from a regular publisher. We've asked and answered the question "what are we trying to accomplish?" This is the typical answer, and unless one clearly states otherwise, that's what people assume when they look at a book.


meika said...

Sheeple never see new things as new, they see them as wrong old things.

New things are outside the comfort zone, new things hurt sheeples' brains. BAAAAAAA D.

In this sheepley world, new things are wrong. (they still might be crap or indulgent, of course, but that's a whole different thing, and on this side point go see Hal Duncan on indulgence.)

Always wrong, at least, without massive "marketing" "education" or what have you, even among the creative class, new things require new groups of people to find them cool, this is why you have to be dead to be really cool among an in-group. Distance is required and while new writers are unknown, they are therefore too close to a reader to be given any leeway, as what an authority is deferred to, like, it's a baboon troop thing.

To be alone is to be wrong.

In writing/publishing/reading world (currently being dragged down by publishers' and audiences' slowness in the uptake at what the new digital medias and platforms can provide and perform) experiments is what Joyce/Woolf/Becket did before WW2, they are a boxed set right next to Tolkien and Harry Potter, but unlike Tolkien and Potter, imitation and re-invention are not allowed, good or bad.

Therefore the new is always wrong now.

So contra to the consumeristic love of the new gadget though...

So then, this "new is wrong" will kill the book as we know it. More by indulgent readers than self-indulgent writers.

Maybe this is a good thing.

Anyway, that's why I do sculpture now, it's market is more open to newness, that it might, just might, not be wrong at all.

Will Entrekin said...

Give that more people read blogs than books nowadays, doesn't it make sense that formatting will become more fluid? I checked out Crusade's preview, and really, the problem isn't the formatting but rather the comma splices.

If the goal of writing (and thus what it aims to accomplish) is communication . . . does this book lose that by a simple lack of indentation?

As someone who's self-published, I'm not trying to create a book that's just like what you get from a regular publisher; I am a publisher. I'm trying to communicate, and often I'm trying to achieve a certain effect in my reader, and if I have to play with typography to do so, then so be it.

Emily Veinglory said...

I feel the font and block paragraphs do detract from the work. I have not way of knowing hoe many potential readers would be lost versus gained by not using traditional formatting. However the traditions are not usually arbitrary but codifiy generations of experience as to what works best, and even if they were their familiarity has become a merit for readers who want formatting to fade away and content to be king. Just IMHO as a Lulu customer.