Thursday, September 27, 2012

On Selling Your Soul Dirt Cheap

I feel like some kind of ancient old whore. My tits are starting to sag, lines are appear- ing on my face. My thin, rosy lips have lost all of their color, my hair has lost its deep sheen. My figure is still good, but there were days when it is hot, and I had the face to prove it. Men see me in my tight dress from behind and run around to see my face and are appalled. They shriek back in fright. My feminine mannerisms are so that I exude sex, but it's the sex that nobody wants.

I've done it all in trying to whore myself. I've given back alley blow jobs for seven dollars and no repeats. Needless to say, it was a conquest but it did not last long. I was left barren, dressed in clothing that were old and dusty, ratty and torn. I tried to keep them up, work hard on them, but even if they were the queen's garments nothing would rectify my face. Nothing would give me a chance to do what I do best.

That's right, on paper, I suck as a whore, but if you get me in your hotel room and close your eyes I'll tear your dick right off. I'll shred your mind with pleasure the likes you have never known. You'd be thrown all about the room, with all manner of objects stuck up your anus and leather straps holding down your manliness, stroked from head to toe with my tongue, and as your erection neared its climax, I would toy with it, tease it, frustrate it until you screamed in agony and like a task master, I'll turn onto it harshly, beating your testicles with a paddle, jerking off your member with a soft leather glove until you came like five men, shrieking like five pre-school girls. I would leave you a mess of a man, whimpering in the corner, asking me when can I come back and do it to you again.

I file this under: Don't judge a book by it's cover.

And that's exactly what this business model of publishing does. It wants answers too fast. It has the herd mentality where you pack in the heard of cows and with a bang stick, you blow out their brains, one by one, arbitrarily and send them to the dog food section because you just don't have the time to examine the sheer number of steer that is being walked through the barn.

Publishers and Agents are like Johns. They are looking for the pretty young writers, young writers that reminds them of themselves. The old dinosaur brain that reads: “Like me, good.. Not like me, bad.” They claim to be on a big search for writers, but the big search is in the slush pile where the real work is. “Well, we do conferences too.” Well that's just another way to allowing more of your senses to make your judgement than the simple manuscript of the author. An author approaches an agent who he just doesn't like. Maybe the writer is Asian, Black, Latino, ugly, tall, male shabilly dressed...these can all work to his disadvantage long before he hands over a pitch. This agent just doesn't have the time to speak to them right now. But what in the next second an Ivy-leaguer pops up, maybe from the same agent's alma-mater. They talk about the things that they have in common, the people and stores in their quaint neighborhood. The school teachers of the classes, the friends during semesters, suddenly the Agent finds that this writer has a manuscript. Miraculously he has tons of time to read his work.

What am I saying? The old model of publishing MUST DIE. It's not what talent dictates any longer. It's also weakening the readers who are under the impression that agents and publishers have placed a great deal of risk and money to get their book on the bookshelf and that is a form of seal of approval that its a good book. Sadly, this is far from the truth. Have you ever picked up a book that was simply no fucking good? It meandered, its characters were dull, the story predictable and lame, and an editor/publishing house backed this book all the way to the book stands.

To give a book to the traditional publisher you have to endure months of trial. Months of waiting while they pour over a one to two page query letter that basically tells little of your book. It's already started a cobbled together business of people who swear that they can write for you an award winning query letter so as to get published. I guess they've forgotten that you have already spent YEARS writing a manuscript that should be all that's needed to help you get published. A query was supposed to be a notice to publishers that your book was breathed into life and to get their attention. It would be the book itself that will merit being published or not. Now, the query is like the proverbial tail wagging the dog. Something that took a week to write will now hold in the balance a work that might have taken years. Fair to you?

Publishers are lazy fat cats, no longer interested in putting out good or decent literature, they are more interested in their bottom line. As the economy gets tighter they'll take fewer and fewer risks. They'll keep squeezing their best selling authors for swill that they no longer have. There is no more competition for them. Where is the plethora of writers that they will drown in if they down get up and produce sterling work to overcome them and stand out again. They live in these bubbles and have grown weak and tired in being creative because they will get the large contracts from book publishers too fearful to spread the wealth and take risks.

This model of publishing is on its way out in the worst way possible. Platforms are being developed to usurp the Agent/publisher model and in doing so, it just may spell the end of a monopoly as strong as as the music business once was. When the writer can circumnavigate the entire snail pace process and get their book right out there before the million of people who want to read them, their fans, without the big companies, they will therefore be cutting out the useless middleman.

And they read the writing on the wall, they are quick to use the time worn stigma that self-published books are simply vanity press books who's quality is too poor to be really published. I say choke on it as the other side of the coin falls. Your days are numbered and there isn't much you can do but look for new jobs.

Tough break. Give e-publishing ten years. Just ten years, and there will be new names and new ways of bringing data to the masses and a new day will emerge far unlike the old days when a writer wrote his work, printed up copies at the nearest printer and then went off on his own to peddle it to the towns about. Later, unscrupulous types arrived with their guilds and organizations to print and distribute the books. This was a boon for those writers who could use the expanded coverage of their works being shipped overseas. Soon, for a writer to print and distribute his work was looked down on.

Well, just as that dawn came and did away with the independence of writers, it appears that the new dawn is bringing that independence back, empowering writers to control their own destinies.

I know it's scary now, and it is equally costly, but the trick is that you have it to do. You can wait until the masses cross the bridge, and then you'll have to wait your turn, or you can be a pioneer and cross it when there are only a few of us doing it. You are not alone. Turn your back on the old business model because it hasn't done shit for you for years, some of us for decades, others for scores of years, and even more a half a century. Do you have more time to waste for them? Do you really?

I turn my back now. I'm walking on the uncertain and lonely path towards e-publication. I know when and If I become a success, traditional publishers will arrive with their checks offering me a book contract deal.

And I'll take every cent that they offer in my filthy hands, and do you know why? I was a streetwalker writer for fifty years, doing unspeakable things to get my book even looked at. I'm a whore, and no amount of whitewashing now will straighten that up. But this whore is proud of itself because if that day ever comes, and they bow at my feet, ME, a common whore....what does that make them?

Gregory Delaurentis

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