yet another response to the print-on-demand bullshit

1 Feb

My name is Jack Henry and I am a publisher. The press I run, d/e/a/d/b/e/a/t press, prints through a POD company. This is an avenue that many new and upcoming presses with new and upcoming writers have to take. It is not heresy, it is not vanity, it is nothing more than a means to an end.

But what is vanity? Some of my authors have asked.

It is quite simple. A vanity publication is one where the author does EVERYTHING. And the word vanity is not the best one, in my opinion. Yes the author does it on their own. Sometimes they must. Or sometimes the cunts that run big presses are too blind to see excellent writing. There are a thousand reasons. Do I recommend it? In the end, absolutely not. There are a thousand new presses every year and a thousand that go away, every year. A few good ones linger and stay. Find a press that doesn’t have your name on the masthead.

If you are serious about being published you need other eyes on what you write. Vanity is about publishing something for the family or friends, and that is fine, only your eyes edit it, but if you are sincere in your ambition, get it read by other eyes. How they put it out really doesn’t matter.

People try to put labels on everything and that is a sad state of things. What makes a press? Integrity, honesty, ethics, sincerity, a million things. It can be one person or a dozen writing it, but to label POD as NOT PUBLISHING at least in the sense of the NEW YORK elite is utter and complete bullshit. That the NYTIMES writes an article going against the POD advent does not surprise, nor should it. They are but another cog in the dying machine of NY Publishing.

For me I welcome the day when all the big houses die and are buried. Writing will continue, literature will never die, but the ways and means of delivery will. Ebooks, on-line publications, hand held electronic devices – – and a thousand others will continue.

For a small press to be legitimate you have clear and defined rules that it is run by. You have to have editorial ethics, you have to have skill and an open eye, but it does not mean it has to be some Yale educated yahoo running the thing. There are more presses in this world run by people with high school education that put out better things than Random House and the others.

I am tired of the POD debate. It’s old news, get over it. It is here to stay, it is cheap and accessible…it is the future…next subject please….

NOTE: In rereading this I realized that I needed other eyes on this. The editing is horrible. I can’t spell to save my life and I drop words more often than not. But that is not the point of the note.

I want to add that we need to take “small” out of small press. It’s a press, regardless of size. If you put out product for a consumer, it’s a press. Why include the small? Do we need yet another label to somehow make us stand out, or make us an underdog? Does that really get us sales?

Let’s stick with press, let’s push for more organized promotion, let’s work together to develop a community of presses. They can include all sizes…It doesn’t matter. The only goal any press should ever have is to put out a superior product. Am I wrong? is where I am at…


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