Monday, October 31, 2011

Authoring The Literary Future

Mr. Lydecker is a rich aristocratic writer in 1940s New York. An enchanting woman named Laura, who works for the Wallace Flow-Rite Pen Company, approaches his restaurant table to ask for a product endorsement. Lydecker is appalled. He protests that he's a respectable author who uses goose quills not new-fangled technology.

This is a scene from the film Laura. The Oscar-winning movie, based on Vera Caspary's crime novel, shows a time when writers could afford to be snobs and cigarettes made people look sophisticated. Things change. One can guess what stick-in-the-mud Lydecker would have thought of Amazon, Kindle, and the like. We authors tend to be nostalgic, if not somewhat elitist.

When Gutenberg's revolutionary gadget initiated mass publication, many book lovers had concerns about publishing for the masses. Faster, wider distribution meant less quality-control. Maverick William Tyndale, who whipped out a popular edition of sacred scripture, was executed by traditional publishing gatekeepers. (That's right New York literary cartel: you're the equivalent of the old-school Vatican and I'm claiming the solar system doesn't revolve around you!) Yet, the presses rolled on. Today, noone reading a Bible, Gita, or Koran on the bus gets the death penalty, even if its a cheap paperback full of misprints rather than an elegant leather scroll.

A publishing wave is now hitting the beach (and much shitty writing is hitting the E-reader fan). Surfing this wave is difficult for many authors, but reversing the tide is an impossible, unhelpful daydream. We writers must embrace our destiny. Let us fight to preserve ancient ways that are truly sacred but not struggle so hard for "what was" that we miss a chance to make "what is" the best it can be. Artists who live in the past also die there. Those who move forward will author the future.


  1. I love the blog post. It's great. I wanted to remind everyone that professional royalty paying eBook pubs have been around since the latter 1990s. They produce a high quality product and only accept about 2-4% of submissions sent to them. Now that authors can put books directly on kindle and nook - some of these are written professionally with professional editing and strong writing skills and knowledge and some are not. Readers can preview the books on kindle and nook before they buy, also readers can drop by the authors web sites - read the reviews they've gotten, see how many books they have written, how long they've been writing, the awards they've earned. I think it's easy to siff through the unprofessional work to find the high quality books. I just think some readers may not realize how to do that. There are a lot of wonderful, high quality books available that come in eBook format and are not on the best seller list but may turn out to be a reader's favorite books of all time.

  2. Cornelia,
    Thanks for that elegant explanation of the benefits of E-publishing. Well said. You write Celtic romance, huh? Is that a lonely-toothless-highlander-with-sheep kinda thing or a "he unsheathed the ample broadsword hanging from his loins as we tumbled across the barley field" kinda thing? Just kidding. I'm half-Irish. Any ladies out there who wanna discover which half should contact me immediately.

  3. Speaking of literary fiction, my brother has written the first in a series of a literary historical adventure from the eyes of a Buddhist called “The Flaw in the Fabric, Book 1 of A Travellers Guide for Lost Souls” where the boundaries of space and time are developing stress cracks along Nova Scotia's Granite Coast.

    Through one such crack, brought on by a hurricane in the ghost-infested province of Nova Scotia, two brothers reincarnate after spending two hundred years as lost souls in the neither-here-nor-there land of the In Between. They’re as surprised to be back as Raymond Kidd is to find them in his basement. While wondering how to cope with his unnatural visitors, Raymond himself falls through another crack which sends him back to his life as a 19th century merchant captain, where he discovers he has a wife and child he loves as much as he loves his 21st century family. In the midst of trying to cope with that dilemma, his wife of the future is summoning him back, but when he returns it’s not the way that anyone intended.

    In between here and there, Raymond is given a mission. He must write A Travellers Guide for Lost Souls.

    Listen to recorded episodes that Jim produced at
    ebook @

    Leigh Anne Lindsey
    epublisher & online marketer

  4. Leigh Anne,

    I have a strong interest in Buddhism and Canadian geography, so your brother's book sounds cool. Being from California, I also sense the plot has some Bay Area influence (polite phrase for drug influence). Don't you live around there?

    Unlike my hippie brethren from Cali to B.C., I don't mind shameless commercial promotion. (Aren't they the ones who told us to throw off shame?) However, the rule here is: if you share a link, you gotta share your stash - for writing inspiration and medicinal purposes only, of course.