|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
1. I am a believer in the never ending process of learning. In that cause I would like to put out an invitation to poets living in the Ventura, California area. Wednesday nights, for the next four weeks, at 7 PM in Ventura at the Vita Art Center, 432 North Ventura Avenue, there will be an ongoing poetry workshop. This is a great opportunity to sharpen your craft and gather with other writers in the pursuit of excellence.
IS IT REAL OR IS IT NARCISSISM?
What is it with the majority of this latest crop of writers, especially those to be found on the Internet? I realize that, with the advent of the self-publishing phenomenon, everyone is allowed to delude themselves into thinking that they've really accomplished something by putting whatever type of tome out for mass consumption...but really! As far as I've been able to tell, it's more like a giant bargain table at Barnes and Noble. You know, that place where the stuff that just wasn't moving ends up at twenty-five percent off before it's finally relegated to the recycle processor and turned into cardboard boxes.
Unfortunately, these works are seeing the light of day for the first time and being offered at prices that say, "Hey, I don't think anybody would pay me fair market value for this, so I think I'll just give it away." Hell, the time it took to conceive, write, and get these products into an acceptable format is worth more than what's being charged. (I'll forego my opinion on the quality of the writing involved...Yup, that was intentionally snarky.) It's an interesting sales concept and one I'm definitely not trying to discourage.
I've run a couple of businesses and had good success. This was due in part to the fact I NEVER accepted a "try it before you by it deal". My approach was, "Let's see how well we work together. If you come back often enough then I'll work with you on pricing. Otherwise, pay me what I'm worth or negotiations end here."
There are a couple of "guru's" out there advocating the self-publishing and I don't feel they're doing anyone any favors. About the only real niche I see being filled is between their more needy followers. This is a closed system and, eventually, is probably doomed to failure. I could be wrong in individual cases, but, for the majority of the participants, it all comes down to a simple matter of ego enhancement and has little to do with becoming better, more proficient, and artistically capable, authors.
Real improvement is accomplished by meeting the challenges of peer assessments and competition in the open market. This is not a path of least resistance scenario, but one that requires constant learning and striving to apply the lessons acquired to exceed the abilities of others in the field. If you eschew this as too competitive and judgemental, then you are only setting yourself up to rise to a general level of mediocrity. Again, tally-ho and have at it, wandering around on a vast plain can be familiar and comforting but you can only glimpse far horizons when you accept the call to climb the mountain.
Just My Not So Humble Opinion...Meanwhile...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis