Tuesday, August 12, 2014

If Stone Were Paper



I just read another wonderful novel—so wonderful I sobbed though literally half of it.  Such rich, full characterization. Its sadness was palatable. Its happy parts warmed my heart, revealing and funny in some places. I fell in love with the beautiful characters, I lived their lives, felt their suffering, ate their food; even shared their beds and their heartaches.

I’m a publisher. I want to add this book to my list. I want to publish this book. But…but and there’s always a big, big, fat hesitative BUT.

I probably shouldn’t have Googled this author’s name. I should have gone with my initial gut feelings and blindly offered on it. Now I’m skeptical. Why?

When I Googled I found nothing—a big flat empty nothing. No Facebook, no Twitter, no MySpace, no blog, no Web site, no LinkedIn, no Pinterest—nothing. A few years ago this would mean little.  Even today this means nothing to the average author, BUT HOW ABOUT HIS OR HER READERS? 

Does it matter to them? No. Probably not at all because there are plenty of books to read. What matters if one grain of sand is missing? So if a reader can’t find this wonderful book among the masses of other wonderful books…?  To the reader with plenty of books, it matters not a whit.
So how does an author whose name is a vacuum rise out of this nothingness? Can it be done? How was it done in the past? How many authors fail because no one knows who they are? Not as many as today, I’m thinking. Today there’s no shortage of amazing books to read.   

There are million upon millions of books on Amazon, many of them free. Barnes and Noble has huge numbers as well, as do many other online bookstores—and most are amazing reads. An average big box bookstore has around 80,000 books on their shelves, and there are thousands of big box bookstores. Of course, not as many before.

What am I getting at here? Where am I going? What’s the concern if I loved the book? That’s just it, I—love—this—book. I love it so much that I want others to experience what I experienced.  Is that selfish? Should I say the hell with it and forget it—or should I publish it, promote it as much as humanly possible—take the risk and hope for the best? Every publisher has faced this dilemma since stone cutters hacked pages out of stone.  But stone was hard to hack, so there were not many pages.

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