Friday, April 12, 2013

Good Story Escapes and He's Pissed!



Part 3 of the article series: Good Story and the Lie

The advent of technology brought a new entrepreneur. The Indie and Self-published. Those of us who had endured the rejections may not have known the Marketability lie, but we knew something didn’t make sense.

Then we learned our hero, Good Story, yet lived. We rejoiced, we gathered to free him, and resolved he would lead us once again. We swarmed the dungeon and joined together we succeed as a group where we failed as individuals. Writers and Readers freed Good Story. He slipped the chains that trapped him for generations. When he thought he would weaken and die, forgotten and unloved...quietly...gently...a new power crept onto the stage.

The power appeared as young powerful gods. Who were they? What was their purpose? They had been neutral for so long but now they took decisive action. The current altered so quickly, not many truly absorbed it's impact. These gods remain shadowy even now. Many fear them, no one knows their true desires and goals. People fear to whisper the name...do not draw the attention of these new gods. All wonder, are they benevolent or destructive? Will they replace one corporate tyrant for another?

The young ones are of course Amazon. Their whispers echoed, digital voice spoke. Amazon built and the readers came, the market and audience gathered, firmly established. The technology awaited, the stage was set, the players ready, the die was cast.

Amazon unbarred the gates. They did what no other company in the publishing industry had ever done. They gave the lowest unpublished author a contract that was exactly equal to the one they presented to the most well known author. The contract started out the same - the author's individual choice changed it. 35% Royalty? I set my own price? 70% Royalty? Surely, all those pigs wearing the lipstick - they're flying like mad, right? The Devil had to move back to Texas because Hell has frozen over, huh?

One by one, the indie author and small press gambled. Thinking back now, at least for myself, it really wasn't much of a risk. My manuscripts were completed, they had been rejected. I no longer was able to submit them to any traditional publisher. 7 full length novel manuscripts, sat on the shelf with over an inch of dust on them for the past 10 years.

I had absolutely nothing more to lose. Failure had been achieved, i would be no worse than it was at that moment. The only place I had to go was up. 

I was not alone, many authors exactly like me, with histories so similar I wonder if we were separated at birth, did exactly the same thing.

And just like that, Good Story broke out of his prison, revitalized and strong. The untrusted gods had granted him strength with their technology and an inexpensive (at least compared to the past pricing) self-published print book. Good Story was revived and feeling fantastic. He escaped and found its way directly to the reader. 

Was he a kindly hero who took everything in stride, held no grudge and rose above the flotsam and jetsam. Who am I kidding? Good Story was free and he was pissed. He threw a bloody fine haymaker at those who had imprisoned him for so long. He beat Marketability senseless until everyone realized it was an imposter. Good Story hit his jailers square on the nose and enjoyed every minute of it. He seized his freedom, surrounded by his allies, the newly empowered indie movement, the army that no one saw coming and took everyone by surprise. Good Story defied the old world and dared his jailers to try to stop him.

Good Story, while imprisoned feared that if others forgot him, he would be forever lost in the morass of the corporate thinking that said: "we have to guarantee making a profit on this." When corporations want to guarantee numbers, they look to numbers to solve the problem. They can’t look at something as subjective as story and expect it to translate directly. There are formulaic stories, but no guaranteed formula for writing a bestseller or something that will take the public by storm. Good Story sells, but no one will know for certain if he will sell enough. Because corporations need to guarantee profits, they stick to their number models and marketing experts. They don’t take the risk that comes with a work that doesn’t fit their known marketing profile. It might do great, or it might not. Instead they go with what they know as it has been the past 50 plus years. And while they were doing that, they forgot Good Story in his dark, dank dungeon.

But Good Story also knows, even though he just beat the crap out of the Marketability litmus test. There is one thing Good Story is powerless to control. The market have the last say, no emotion, no hidden agenda. The Market operates on only the physics of economics. It will decide who succeeds and who fails.

To be continued - Stay Tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave us a comment!