Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

Tag: what is the what

Let’s say you’re a business. You have a product that you dedicated a lot of time to. You’re not sure you can properly distribute that product on your own. Sure, you might be able to handsell your product door-to-door, but you realize that, maybe with some help, you can get your product distributed on a wider basis, and maybe even generate some great attention for the product. There are a few companies who specialize in distributing your product, companies who have a stranglehold on distribution, in fact–if you don’t partner with them, chances are you’ll never get that wide distribution.

Already it’s a problem.

Here’s the big question, though; say one of those specialty companies came to you and said they’d help you distribute your product. Would you enter into any business arrangement with them without reading a contract? Would you sign said contract without reading it?

That’s exactly what all the writers entering the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award are doing.

Now, I’d mentioned I considered submitting Meets Girl to the contest. I think it would have a solid shot at winning on merit alone, and that’s not even to mention that I think it would probably be right up the alley of Lev Grossman, who wrote The Magicians and who is one of the major judges of the contest. The Magicians was the first full-length novel I read on my Kindle, and it was solid–if not great–in a genre-bending sort of way that crossed literary with fantasy, which is what I think Meets Girl does.

I mentioned, in passing, there are other, better contests writers could enter. And commenter Sid (the only Sid I know is my graduate writing advisor, Sid Stebel, but I can’t tell by the email address if the commenter and my advisor are the same person) asked after those contests.

So here are the top-five writing contests I’d submit Meets Girl to over the ABNA.

Continue reading

First, this post at BookSlut, a books blog, which points to this post, over at Self Publishing News. I was unfamiliar with the latter, but its author discusses, at length, whether self-published books will ever be recognized for their quality, etc., thesis roughly being: “But an indie or self published book will never get one of the major book awards as things presently stand, simply because the major book awards are a completely closed shop.”

Sorry to call it a thesis. I’ve been grading all day. We’ve been talking a lot about argumentation. My students would probably note that as a hasty generalization or a logical fallacy.

Back at BookSlut, there’s a tag on that link: (No. -Ed.) I think the Ed in question is Jessa Crispin. Seems to be. Again, hasty generalization.

Of course, my students require support for the claims they make, so here’s mine: in 2006, Dave Eggers’ What is the What was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award. The book was published by McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company founded by Eggers, where he is also an editor.

You don’t have to take me at my word he’s self-published. Over here, Sarah Weinman notes the guidelines of the Mystery Writers Association, mainly in the context that a former Edgar winner was disqualified because he owns the company that, in conjunction with another, published his novel. Which means Eggers’ novel would be disqualified there (well. Were it a crime novel. It’s not, of course. But you get my point).

I think self-published authors should stop worrying so damned much about the attention they believe they are entitled to but haven’t yet received and start worrying more about the work they’re producing. Also, the continuous talk about sales, copies, and marketing is tedious at best.