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Friday, September 09, 2005

My Name Is Steve Karmazenuk And I Am A Writer

Today, I'd like to take the time to tell you a little more about me, and about my reasons for starting this Weblog.

I've been writing for more than twenty years. It's scary to think about how long I've been at this; two-thirds of my life thusfar! Writing has always been my passion, my pleasure, my obsession. Over the years I have not only practiced the art, but I have also studied it in order to hone my skills.

I've had some successes, many failures; I've written things that are almost embarrassing to read over when I open the Storage Drawer in my desk. I've written other things that I'm quite proud of, too. Mostly, I'm happy with what I've done.

I've written poetry and op-ed pieces, articles and reviews that have been published on a local level. In the last ten years of "serious" writing that I've done, I've written six novels, one of which was actually published online a few years ago on a web portal called Jumpgate. You can link to the web portal (but not the novel--long story) from WTL's Weblog in my "links" section.

So, why have I decided to expose my writing here instead of getting published by a "real" publisher?

The fact of the matter is, traditional publishing is no longer about literature--if it ever was. It's about the bottom line.

Mass market publishers want to make as much money as they can, printing and selling books that are geared to the lowest common deonominator. This is why only a handful of new writers are seen every year, and it is also why a majority of the bestsellers are written by authors hung up on formulaic writing. As much as I enjoy Dan Brown or John Grisham, Nelson DeMille or Greg Iles, their books are essentially all interchangable:

Ordinary Man becomes Reluctant Hero placed in Extraordinary Situation. Bystander Woman gets swept up as Events Unfold, Casting Her Lot in with Ordinary Man. Shocking Plot Twists make Ordinary Man and Bystander Woman question Who They Can Trust. Last Minute Race To The Finish makes for Reader Excitement. Book Ends with Ordinary Man and Bystander Woman either Getting Married or Getting Laid.

Small and Mid market publishers only print a few titles a year, so simply can't afford to take chances with new authors if they are to ensure their survival. While often far more original and innovative in their storytelling, their authors tend to be less accessible to the most readers.

Yes, there are exceptions to both of these cases. But even the Great New Voices of writing have to play by the rules.

Canadian SF Author Robert J Sawyer states things a little more clearly: Less than 1% of all new writers will ever get published.

Does that mean that the 99% of new writers out there don't DESERVE to get published? Does that mean that if you don't get published you're just not GOOD ENOUGH?

Fuck, no.

I've come across too many unpublished gems in my time on sites like the Free Writer's Forum (see my links) and other places to know that this is not the case.

Again, Robert J Sawyer states the following:

"Online publishing" is an oxymoron; don't do it. If you can't make it in print, you're not yet good enough. Become a better writer, and continue to try to crack the print markets.

But you know what? He's wrong; dead wrong. Like I said above, "Traditional" publishers either don't give a fuck about new voices or new works or they just can't afford to gamble on something that hasn't got a proven Marketability.

I don't think I'm the first to turn to Online Publishing, and I won't be the last. I don't give a good Goddamn if I'm able to make a career out of this or not. I am here because I want people to read my writing. I want people to discover the stories I have to tell.

Anything more than that is gravy.

My name is Steve Karmazenuk, and I am a Writer.


Anonymous said...

Truer words were never spoken

Steve Karmazenuk said...

Well, Anon, if you liked this article, please keep reading, and tell a couple of people about it!