Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Self-Published World

Reporters at The New York Times and L.A. Times are agog about Amanda Hocking, a 26-year-old Minnesotan who sold more than 900,000 copies of her self-published young adult novels (mainly paranormal romances) in the last year.  She is now wheeling and dealing with major publishers, who have bid $1 million for her new series.  She is not the first self-published writer to become famous.  The 2,000s seems to be the self-published decade.  Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice, and Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader, also made it big. 

Self-published books are nothing new.  In my family, we rush off to Kinko's and publish spirals of our latest memoirs. Everybody has written a memoir or autobiography, some are quite good, and most are illustrated with photos. It's touching to have "scrapbooks" of other people's lives. 

No, I wasn't there.
I'm waiting to write mine when I turn 60.  I've jotted down bits and pieces about my childhood and young adulthood, but I sound like a glib journalist, and can't meld the language of my late 20th-century history with the twitter of the current times.  I sound phony when I try to convey the naive philosophy and weird diction of the hippies, radicals, professors,  feminists, and cons who populated my world when I was young.  They were "into" things, smoked "dope" (never pot or grass), everything was "cool" or a "bummer," and I believe there were actual "dudes."  Some of it was so traumatic I've never gotten over it.  So do I want to write it down?

I'm happier free-lance.  I'm twice-again happier blogging.  It's fun to write short pieces.  And not to have to sort anything out. 

My family has not, as I mentioned, gone the electronic route. I am the only blogger.  Some of the younger family members are on Facebook.  Somebody scandalized everyone by writing about her life as a prostitute or something, but it's probably all made up.  Anyway, I don't have a Facebook account, so I haven't read it.

I think it would be fun to read self-published books for, say, a week.  I'm mostly down on receiving free books from "real" publishers, as my TBR pile is already endless, but if anyone wants to send me an excerpt from a "free" self-published e-book for possible review, I'm game.  The problem is I would say what I think. Writer, beware. E-mail me at

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