Nothing and no one is perfect, me included. We’re all just trying to do the best we can with who we are and what we do. Publishing is no different. It’s easy to armchair a few opinions and chuck em out there into the world, sure, but there are some other (more positive!) thoughts I’d also love to “armchair” out there.
What I love about the institution of publishing!
Granted, I’m not quite “in” it, yet, at least not in the traditional sense (I have one self-published effort), but my agent is breaking her back trying to rectify that! For all the grief it and anything else out there gets from the masses, there are also some things publishing gets right:
It publishes books.
And here I use “books” to denote any form of book, as counterintuitive that may initially sound.
I don’t care what other diversionary contraption you’re using, there’s simply nothing like the feel, the smell, the (yes!) ambiance, the wholly metaphysical sensation of a book. You can do all-kinds-of-damage to it, and still pick it up and read it. It is the perfect medium for its content.
And I love that there are all-kinds-of-smart people out there actively looking for people like me. Actively looking to polish stuff people like me create…and present it to others to read. I love that. That’s cool. These others love words, love ideas–love truth, the imagination, and stories. Love freedom of expression.
Now, this may be hard for some to fathom, and it might be downright erroneous for others, but for me and those like me, I don’t see this as an egotistical trot. To write is to read. It’s part of the process, and the process simply is not complete until a reader gets involved. It’s like hardwired, you know? Everyone has their own superpower, I like to say. Everyone. For some it’s to act on stage or screen, raise a family, perform in the culinary arts, and for still others…the written word. As I’ve stated before that doesn’t mean just because you’re born to do something means you’ll become a popular success…it’s just that it’s your superpower, and (like we all know) not all superpowers are meant to be broadcast widely….
Here are people (all kinds of smart) who will eventually find one of my efforts and fall in love with it. Some other all-kinds-of-smart will read it and condense it into their interpretation of something I created (I love to see others’ interpretations of my work; can’t right explain it, but it’s neat to see how someone else sees what I’ve done). There will be other all-kinds-of-smart pushing my work…to others who are going to take it and put it on shelves. Try to get good people from around the world to actually pay money for stuff I wrote–worlds and ideas I imagined–and which others will find just as interesting as I did to cause me to spend a certain amount of my time on Earth to write about the idea in the first place. And there will those other all-kinds-of-smart who will read and internalize what I’ve had to say enough to write concise reviews of my work–for good or ill. They will have read every word I slaved over for years in order to try to understand what I’m about.
Find out my mystery.
And there will be still other all-kinds-of-smart who will come up to me and want to talk with me about how I created this-or-that, what were my thoughts on this-or-that (or “What were you thinkin…?!), or maybe even wanna buy me a drink at a conference (I don’t drink…wine… but I can fake it pretty good!). Some will probably just stop and stare at me, head cocked to one side and hands at their sides, as if to say…really? He did this? He’s human?!
Whether or not this actually happens to me is basically moot, cause it happens to so many others, and it is all made possible by a partnership with a corporation, a company, a publishing house–heck people, let’s not forget this…to bring works created by those like me to the public. That each individual in this entire ofttimes confounding process is doing their very damnedest to do the best they can each do to deliver a product of which not only a company can make some riches, but can be proud. Yes it can be brutal, yes exhausting, but the end result is that there are all-kinds-of-smart publishing professionals out there ready willing and able to help those of us who are writing books.
And you know?
That is what I really, really love about publishing.