Wednesday, September 01, 2010

E-Books and Great American Novelists

Can you believe it's September already? The kids are back in school, and now I have no excuse not to do lots and lots of writing. I'm sure I'll find plenty of excuses anyway, but one reason to get serious is so that next month I don't have to confess to the ERWA community that I've been a slacker. That's what I had to do this month in my "Cooking up a Storey" column, "Talkin' About an E-Revolution: The Death of Publishing, Great American Novelists and "My Way" Fresh Salsa." I also talk about those nasty Voices that tell you you're no good and your work will never be published. Oddly, I still hear them, even though I have been published!

And while the image of the "great American novelist" might not seem related, I believe it is, because that's exactly what the mean Voices use against me. "You'll never be the great American novelist." Perhaps this is a defensive move, but having a nodding acquaintance with the embracing and generous idea of "feminisms" versus "Feminism," I really can't support a view that chooses one or just a few "great" voices that speak for our culture. Especially when all of those voices belong to white males. White males don't speak for me. They are unable to speak for me. And I don't want anyone to speak for me anyway, so it's all okay! Publishing has its problems, current and ongoing, but since a mouthful of delicious fresh salsa can solve any problem, I'd say my column this month has a very happy ending indeed.

Hope you enjoy!


Craig Sorensen said...

As is so often the case, I can relate to this essay. I have been struggling to determine the right way to proceed with my longer works, and I see the growing value in the electronic publishing revolution. I hope it continues to mature, and gives us good possibilities, perhaps helping us find new readers we might not have access to in the circles we run in.

In music, some performers are finding they can make a decent living by working more directly with the customers. They aren't making platinum records, but they are making a decent living doing what they love.

If only we can find a way to do the same.

Oh, and the salsa looks perfect. Just the right ingredients in perfect measure.

Like a good story.

Danielle said...

what a delicious picture!!!

Donna said...

Well, there's no question where in a period of great change, Craig, and we have to figure out how to use it to our best advantage. I know people who've written custom erotica for clients, but that's probably getting more intimate with readers than you were intending. Since erotica is so ghettoized anyway, there is potential for revolutionizing the system. Not quite sure how, though. It's hard to do all the promoting yourself!

Emerald said...

I really loved this column, Donna. I'm about to take off for a silent retreat this weekend (will be offline until at least Monday), so I feel a bit distracted right now, but I wanted to say that before I left!

Thank you very much for sharing!

SusanD said...

Hi Donna,

Great column, as usual. I am glad we've got e-publishing opening the boundaries for everyone, but I assume it's just taking the publishing world longer than, say, the music and movie industries to "get it under control" and make it work for them and still squeeze out the little guys. The gatekeepers will not be stopped forever! We MUST have someone telling the idiot public what is good entertainment, because they can't possibly figure it out on their own! Which is why we have an entire nation knowing who Snooki and The Situation are. Christ.

Anyhow, if it helps, I never think of the whole Great American Novel thing. I just try to entertain a few readers, and so you wanting to connect with some is the same thing, and you will certainly never fail at that. So go and write with abandon! You DO make a difference! Keep someone busy reading your work so that they aren't so bored they're forced to find out what GTL is, and you're definitely contributed to the arts in society ;) (though I am a strict adherent to GTL myself. sigh.)

Donna said...

Gym, tan, laundry? I didn't know until now :-).

As always, Susan, you say just the right things to keep me sane, but psyched. Of course the gatekeepers will figure out how to keep their power. It's a constant in human history. But for now, there is a sense of revolutionary possibility. I just really do hate to see so many people accepting bad sex writing as all they can hope for....

I could go on and on, but really, it comes down to offering the reader what only we can give in terms of our sensibility. I seriously don't know of one "successful" writer who seems happy with where they are, so no need to yearn for fame, lol.

Thanks for reading!