Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day 248 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author, Dane F. Baylis





I'm going to avoid names here just so someone doesn't get their nose out of joint and try to sue the ass off me. That's generally what people with an overblown idea of their worth will attempt when you publicly and personally confront them with that time honored question:
          "Are you shitting me?"
I attended a function last night at which one of a new breed of facilitators in the world of book publishing was giving a talk. This person isn't an agent, editor, or publisher. The sole purpose for this individual's professional existence is to help the inept get their words self-published. He/she walks them through the process of making contacts with line editors, copy editors, content editors, cover designers, interior designers, printers, warehouses, distributors, payment agencies, and on, and on, and on. Each one of these steps has their price, dependent on the level of service, the quality of the work, and whether or not you're high on their list of clients.
Okay, you get nothing for nothing. I learned that a long time ago on the streets of Boston. That there are any number of self-inflicted tomes out there, the very sight of which makes even the near illiterate cringe, is something else I'm more than familiar with. That the vast majority of these are the modern equivalent of "vanity publication" should be enough to condemn them, one and all, to the remaindered bin or to float forever ignored in cyber-limbo.
The real clincher in the evening's festivities, though, was, when asked bluntly by one of the audience, the speaker quoted a fee of $2500.00 per month with an expected 6 month minimum contract! If this doesn't sound like the premise for a Vampire Fantasy novel, I don't know what does. Amid claims of knowing the who's who and in's and out's, why isn't this person working somewhere as an agent? Because there's so much more sustenance to be sucked from the desperate for attention, that's why!
What slipped by most of the audience was a hurried, and somewhat muted, mention of the fact that all the editors, designers, publicists, distributors, etcetera, etcetera, were not included in this and would result in a very substantial cost on top of the know-it-all's fees. So now you're in the $15,000.00 dollar plus range, more like 25-30 thousand dollar range. For what? The lifting of the burden of educating yourself about the things you can and can't do? Making your own contacts by asking around? Going to the library and taking down a couple of quality works by reputable houses and seeing how they're laid out and assembled?
Sorry, I was not convinced. Especially when the speaker churned out a mile-a-minute monologue of horror stories short on alternative courses of action...unless it involved paying this person an exorbitant fee. The fact that so many of the clients used as examples were swimming in bucks and possessed more ego than talent was not impressive either.
In the meantime, I've got a couple of connections I'm cultivating the old fashioned way - hard work and what I feel is a superior product. How do you arrive at that level of skill and craft? Write your ass off. Practice does make perfect, or it at least reduces the common errors, and gets the bullshit of expository egomania out of the way. Hell, I've even got an appointment to discuss possible production of a higher end book of poetry with a small local publisher. Will this be a seven-figure deal? Get real! But at least this opportunity was arranged by talent, hard labor, and my own damned leg work - not by hiring out my education. My advice, keep your checkbook under lock and key.
Just a helpful hint from your Uncle Dane.


Dane F. Baylis

You lay there in the middle of the night
Are your eyes open?
Or is this some really shitty dream?
One where you see yourself lying on the bed
Is it really that dark or have you gone blind?
If you summoned the balls for it
Could you reach out and
          Turn on the light?
But you lay there
Terrified you wouldn’t find yourself
Staring at the same ceiling.
The same patterns of cracks and stains
That you left right up there
When you turned off the light
          Just before
You curled up in the middle of a mattress
Smaller and more lonely than
          Your life.
You listen to – Are those – Voices?
Or just the eddies and currents of the night’s
          Ebb and flow?
This is slightly less frightening than realizing
You are wearing a second skin
Of sour, clammy
A muggy August urban amphibian’s
Which probably belongs to some niggling little
Did you have too much to drink?
Have you pissed the bed?
You wish you could wash it all
The sweat, the fear, the dark, the wondering
Down the shower
But that would require turning on
          The light.
Which would lead to discovering whether you were really
                   Or not?
You draw a deep breath and surrender to the rationalization
Being able to catalogue so much fear into
Neat columns of
          If this-----------------------------------------------------------------------------Then that.
Probably proves you haven’t yet gone
          Stark raving mad.
And now you can sleep
Knowing you have something
          To look
                     Forward to.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, love, write.

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Dane F. Baylis

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