Saturday, August 31, 2019

If a tree falls in the woods...

We've all heard the riddle. If a tree falls in the woods and there's nobody there does it still make a sound? Scientifically it still generates sound waves whether or not a person is present to hear them. We know this because technology finally caught up with the riddle. You can record it. Now some argue technically the machine is replacing the human ear therefore invalidating the answer. I beg to differ. The riddle doesn't ask about recording. Therefore fully valid.

For me this is the essence of self-publishing. If I publish my book and nobody knows about it, nobody reads it, am I still an author? Did I really publish a book? Does it qualify?

Yes. Yes. And Yes. Technology is just catching up with publishing. The sad truth is that so many authors blame their writing for the lack of readership. I found myself doing that recently. Should I throw it all away and start again? Is my writing that bad? Wait, it can't be the writing, if nobody has read it!

Publishing Houses put huge resources behind ensuring that the voices of the authors they choose to work with get heard. It's a game of who can shout the loudest. They also know people. Critics. They get their authors read by critics who write about them and deem them holier than thou. It has always been so. This is why as writers we keep submitting our souls to agents, the gatekeepers. Sometimes leaving such a nasty taste in our mouths we swear we won't drink that kool-aid again. Other times rejoicing in being selected for the honor of a full read.

But times are changing. Readers are changing. Instead of simply choosing from a pre-determined list of best-sellers as anointed by the industry, they're going on sites like Goodreads. Amazon. Scribd. Smashwords. They are asking each other what to read. They are widening their horizons. They are reading our stories. Our cookbooks. Our biographies. Our memoirs. With or without the blessings of the industry.

Readers are sending each other new maps of the forest.

When a magestic tree falls in the woods, now it can be heard. When a wonderful new tale is written, now it can be read. So let's all stay strong. Stay hopeful. And keep writing. The promise of an evolving industry is offering up a new path to realizing our dreams.

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