I figured I would, for the moment, give a very positive example here of how this new world of publishing can work out.
My best friend, Jim Kiser, is married to a wonderful person named Judy Joyce. This last August on the way to the World Science Fiction convention in Reno, Kris and I were in Boise visiting them and my mother and sister.
After a great day with my family, Jim and Judy and Kris and I headed out to a relaxed and fun dinner. Jim has been my best friend for fifty years now and I’ve known Judy since 1984 when Jim first met her. Fun conversation is always at hand with them.
And at one point the conversation turned to publishing, of course, even though Jim is an attorney and Judy is an astrologer, one of the best in the country, actually.
Judy had a class in October she was thinking of doing some individual astrology reports for. Both Kris and I suggested she also put the reports up electronically as books to sell, since her writing is wonderful and always positive. I kept saying it would be easy and I would help her.
So after dinner we dropped Kris back at the hotel to write, Jim went to his office in their home to work, and Judy and I went into her office so I could show her how “easy” it was. We spent about an hour and honestly I don’t think I helped much. I just kept repeating over and over how easy it was to publish electronically, even though we were working on a PC and I’m used to Mac computers. (Honestly, I was lost most of the time on her computer.)
Also, Judy was familiar with a couple of programs I didn’t use as well, so I left feeling like I hadn’t helped Judy at all and actually made it seem harder. But I told her to read my “Think Like a Publisher” series and call me if she had a problem if she wanted to try it. She wasn’t sure and besides, she hadn’t even finished writing the first one yet.
Off Kris and I headed to Worldcon after a failed side adventure trying to get to an old Idaho ghost town. That is yet another story for later. Let me just say that not even a Jeep could get us in there.
My friend Bill died at Worldcon and I have spent the last three months dealing with his estate as many of you know. A couple times after Worldcon I got an e-mail from Judy asking a question that I answered, but gave not one ounce of thought to what she was doing. My mind was elsewhere.
Then on one of my rare nights at home in October, this package arrived from Judy. Inside were two nifty and very professional-looking books signed to us. PAPER BOOKS.
I just kept staring at them, then looked up at Kris and said, “Holy shit, she did all twelve as paper books.”
That was the first time it had ever occurred to me that Judy might try doing paper books. I had been thinking she would get them up electronically, which she has as well. But she went ahead, under deadline of the big workshop she was holding in October, and did all the books also in trade paper editions.
Stunned didn’t begin to describe how I felt. Not that Judy isn’t very smart and very, very capable. She is. And she’s a wonderful writer as well.
But let me give you some perspective.
— She published twelve books, all very professionally designed and laid out, in under two months, an average of six per month.
— There are entire lines of traditional published books that can’t manage six books in a month with numbers of editors, art departments, design departments, and production departments.
— AND…she had not only done all the production on these books, but she had written all of them as well. In the same two months. Her only help was her husband, Jim, doing the proofing on the manuscript and then the final book form.
Now I don’t suggest anyone try what Judy just managed to pull off. In fact, she admits she did nothing else day and night for those two months. Jim agrees, saying he barely saw her.
Judy gave away at her large workshop a book to each participant (and sold a ton more for gifts).
What she did is a wonderful example of this new world of publishing.
What she managed to do was not possible just two years ago.
What Judy did (and the possibilities that her feat illustrates) is one of the many reasons I am so excited all the time about this new world of publishing. Writers can control their own fate, and with enough work and drive can even outshine entire publishing departments of traditional publishers.
You want a great stocking stuffer for your friends who like astrology, these books would make a wonderful gift. You can get them at Amazon for $9.99.
Congrats, Judy, on an amazing publishing feat.
And on producing some wonderful books.
Have I said lately how much I love this new world?