50. Change of Venue

If you googled here to find out how to get your trial changed to another county, sorry about that. This is an entirely different subject.

In point of fact, this is the fiftieth post in A Writing Life, with about sixty posts in Serials on this same website. It is time to revisit some of the things I said in post number one.

Once upon a time I wanted to be a folk singer. It was 1966, and I was a college freshman. I bought a guitar and was getting pretty good when the Summer of Love hit, everybody formed psychedelic rock bands, and the coffee houses went the way of the dinosaur.

rolling sched...I had lost my venue. I wasn’t a Christian, so I couldn’t sing in church; I wasn’t a drunk, so I couldn’t sing in bars. And U-tube wasn’t even dreamed of.

When I started writing, the venue was clear. Books were published by publishers and sold in bookstores, or in bookstands, or by dumps in grocery stores. (Dumps are fold-up cardboard bookstands designed for temporary placement.) Literary agents facilitated the process. Later, agents became virtual guardians of the gates to publication.

There were always other routes to publication. I have a friend who wrote a cookbook for children and self-published. She still has a garage full of unsold books. Twenty years ago there were always stories of authors who had self-published and become rich and famous. Probably a few of them were true; probably for every success there were a thousand garages full of unsold books.

Publicity and distribution are the key issues, and the internet provides new venues for both. You can self-publish e-books, or go e-book with a traditional publishers, as with my novel Cyan coming out from Edge next year. In either case, it is up to the author to publicize his own books.

One could, for example, set up a website and offer free reads on a Serial blog, along with tidbits from forty years of A Writer’s Life. That might build readership for one’s novels.

It has worked so far – you’re here. Stay tuned to find out how it goes in the future.


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