So this is a blog, huh?
Well, folks, I started blogging before there were such things. Back in the early-to-mid 1990s, I put up my own website in which I plumped my software products, wrote sleazy political trash, published newsy tidbits from around the county and published Twisted Tales. Naturally, to kick things off and build readership, I told all and sundry about my new site. I even mentioned the website in every email I sent.
For the first couple of weeks, I diligently added new material on an almost daily basis. Then one day I called the guy running the ISP and, full of anticipation, asked how many hits the site had gotten.
“Two,” he said.
“Two?” I asked.
Even my so-called friends weren’t tuning in, let alone all my business buddies.
“Well,” I said, “let’s leave it alone for a few more weeks and see what happens.”
“Your nickel,” he said and hung up.
My bloggish website stayed up until the end of the billing cycle, then down it came. The ISP guy told me it had gotten another three hits.
Soooooooo. So why am I doing another blog? Because people tell me I should. And who are these people? The mavens of literature — agents, publishers, marketing whiz-kids . . . Those kinds of people. And why am I in touch with such people? Because I have a whole collection of stuff, including an 85,000 word book titled Trucker, that I’m thinking of publishing in the Kindle library and, later, on Smashwords for the iPad, Sony Reader and such.
“Sprague,” you might say, “if you can’t get an agent to pimp for you, and have to resort to Kindle, your stuff must be crap.” But you’d be wrong, for I did have an agent. In fact, I had two. The first one retired before he got the book placed and the second one ran the rest of the field; both agents liked it fine. Now agents are salesmen and salesmen don’t squander their time pushing products they don’t believe will sell, so if you can get a quality agent to represent your work, you have a better than even chance of getting a book deal. So they tell me.
Why no action? My first agent told me the publishing racket has become debauched by jaded, Scrooge-like foreign owners. Unless you are a celebrity, a known author or have a connection, fuggidaboudit: “In today’s market, even Harry Potter would probably get tossed in the shit-pile,” he said. Fifty percent of the publishers who wanted to take a look at Trucker, returned the manuscript unopened.
The second agent’s experience was no better. She told me that, while those on the lower rungs liked it, and some wanted to move ahead, they were vetoed by the boss-types. In all cases, and for the aforesaid reasons, the boss types rejected Trucker without so much as a peek at the title page.
My next call went to an old friend. He’s a newspaper publisher. “Danny,” I asked, “got any bright ideas?”
Danny chewed on his lip for a day or two, then got in touch with another publisher. This fellow sneered at my “daydream” (as he put it) and offered at least three-hundred reasons why he’s not interested.
So I’ve given up. Kindle, here I come.
Now, about this blog. Danny, and others in the know, tell me a blog is essential for the up-and-coming writer. It shows I’m serious about my . . . er, craft. People who might come across my stuff on Kindle (or Smashwords) and like the snippets, will instantly look for my blog. If they can’t find one, they’ll wrinkle their noses in disgust and look for another author.
They also tell me a blog is necessary to attract an orthodox publishing house. Should an editor who’s crawling around in the Kindle library come across Trucker and like what he sees but finds no blog, he too will take a hike. With a blog and a Facebook page (yes, I have one of those too), an editor may take me seriously. That’s the hope. But I think it’s all bullshit.
So, dear reader, I’m pressing ahead with Inglorious Adventure. After the book jacket is finished, I’ll publish it. Probably around mid-March 2010. I’ll keep you posted.