Yes, the title of this posting goes completely against my ethos of staying positive (granted, it’s a fairly new ethos, for those of you who have been paying attention and are scratching your heads). But I felt that I needed to go off for a moment here, just for the sake of continuity and “keeping it real”. Hopefully it won’t go wrong.
Last week, an Australian friend of ours, Steve Reynolds, sent me an article detailing the sorry state of that country’s publishing industry. The paper sent Nobel Prize-winning novel “The Eye of the Storm” to ten major Australian publishers, you know, just to see if their heads would all be inconveniently shoved up their asses, and turns out, even down under, the best place for a publishing house editor’s head to be is rammed completely up his/her ass. It’s the newest trend, evidently.
Yes, you read me right, not a single editor thought the first few chapter’s of Patrick White’s book was worth seeing more of the famous novel. One agent, in the business for three decades, wrote, “the sample chapter, while reply (sic) with energy and feeling, does not give evidence that the work is yet of a publishable quality. I suggest you get a copy of David Lodge’s The Art of Fiction (Penguin) and absorb its lessons about exposition, dialogue, point of view, voice and characterisation.”
This doesn’t do much to inspire the aspiring artist, except to know that, if not for that one certain someone coming through to notice a gem among admittedly large piles of rubble (the infamous slush pile), even Nobel winners would still be flipping burgers. See, I’m convinced that what it takes to succeed in such a cut-throat industry is more than just exquisite prose, more than excellent marketing and will of iron, it takes a lot of good, old fashion luck, and the help of others who have already found footing in the industry. And that is increasingly hard to come by. Eminem had Dr. Dre pull him from a life of frustration and squalor to become one of the biggest rappers in hip-hop history. Our friend Josh Kilmer-Purcell just happened to sit next to Clive Barker’s agent or publicist on a plane, and Clive read his manuscript and fast-tracked it to publication with Harper Perennial. See what I’m saying? They got by with a little help from their friends, proving that an ounce of clout in this industry is worth a pound of agent/editor insight into what is “good”.
So, with that being the case, and with a noticeable lack of any Dr. Dre’s or Clive Barker’s coming to FUTUREPROOF’s aid, I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands (for a change, right?). Back in October I proposed a writer’s collective of sorts in the mold of the Wu-Tang Clan, where writers of similarly themed books, with the same sort of outlook on life, the same general ethos, would ban together and fight the powers that be together. There have been few takers. Why? One of three reasons: 1. FUTUREPROOF is sub-par, and therefore many writers don’t want to associate themselves with it. 2. FUTUREPROOF is dangerous and controversial, and therefore many established writers don’t want to potentially damage their own careers by being associated with it. or 3. FUTUREPROOF has the P.O.D. stigma attached to it, and therefore most writers, unless they themselves are self-published, don’t want to have anything to do with us bottom-feeders of the lit world. But there are a few out their who aren’t so cautious. And those are the ones I am looking for and have begun to find. And now we are starting our own collective, which we will unveil to you guys within the next two weeks. We are not without a large amount of support already. The very influential blogger PODdy Mouth has made a name for herself supporting POD books, and she herself is a traditionally published author. She has what I like to call BALLS.
So who’s with us? Who is willing to put their asses on the line to support art that has fallen through the cracks? We’ll see in about two weeks, and moreso over the coming months as we gather support and take this thing to the next level. I hope all of you are ready for the ride. I know I am. Who’s with me?
I’ll be in the chatroom tomorrow at http://www.futureproofbook.com from 3-5 p.m. EST.