Publishing Revolution and Lazarus

Barnes & Noble

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Barnes & Noble's Union Square store in Manhatt...
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“There’s a revolution going on and we’re watching it happen.”

“You sure?” I ask.

“The old paradigm has already vanished.”

This was my thousandth back-and-forth with Josh, a well-known non-fiction writer who’d prodded me—and, no, prodded is not too strong a word—into taking the digital/indie route with my novel, The Angry Woman Suite, after my agent made a career switch. He’d convinced me that digital/indie publishing is the future. But he’d yet to reassure me that I’m prime revolutionary material.

Not to say printed books are going to vanish, or that a revolution needs me to thrive.

Just like many of us online news readers still read newspapers too (albeit skinnier ones), there will always be print books via Amazon (I hope!)—also, hopefully, Costco will keep its little book section going—otherwise, I’m just gonna have to plop myself down in an aisle and cry. And, yes, I do have a Kindle and am currently salivating over the Amazon Fire (to be released 11/15), Amazon’s answer to Apple’s ipad—

—BUT I do love the feel and smell of paper and binding—love, love, love. There is almost nothing better than a paper book, Baby Rae, and a muffin on a rainy day, all together on my bed.

Now Josh has many fine qualities, but none are patience, especially when I keep repeating the same thing over and over about going indie: “Am I doing the right thing?”

He read the opening of Mark Levine’s The Fine Print to me, over eggs and hash last Sunday morning:

“Amazon’s rolled over onto B&N and is now the largest book retailer in the land . . . Borders laid off 900 people in 2009 . . . in 2010 Borders announced the closing of 185 WaldenBooks, and Borders stores . . . Barnes and Noble closed the remaining B. Dalton bookstores . . . by the summer of 2010, B&N announced it was up for sale.”

Levine had also written, “Toss in the brewing ebook turf war between Apple, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, and wow—this industry is changing fast.”    

“So there you have it,” Josh said, also for the thousandth time, turning off his ereader. “You pacified for the next 15 minutes? Also, don’t forget, in one year alone, ebook sales went up 213% . . . what’s that tell you?”

His tone told me I was on his last nerve—but I was needing something else before my first jump off the high dive; maybe another sign?

That sign presented itself.

It arrived in the form of someone I hadn’t seen for a very long time—a Lazarus, so to speak; rising from the “dead,” back into my life. He wants to remain anonymous for now, so Lazarus will be his spy name.  

Lazarus and I met my last year of high school, when he was in his third year at SDSU. I was ushering at a theater—my first night on the job—and he was parking cars at the same theater. I saw Lazarus before we actually met, walking toward the theater, and thought—well, let’s just say it was a good first impression—and then I forgot him until intermission when he came looking for me.

Lazarus was going to become a commercial pilot—and everybody thought we’d eventually marry—and I was going to become a teacher.

But we went our separate ways, and I eventually married DDF (best decision of my life). I’d no idea what became of Lazarus, but when I did think of him, I imagined him flying off to Paris and Singapore and what-have-you. As time went on, Lazarus faded in importance, even in memory, part of another time, another me, long gone. 

Until I was standing on my metaphorical diving board, looking down into the scary waters of indie publishing (or, better, the scary waters of marketing), and Josh said to me—still over eggs and hash—

“Lazarus Bening is signing at Mysterious Galaxy (one of our remaining book stores)—you interested?”

I knew who the author Lazarus Bening was, but in a very murky, corner-of-my-brain kind of way—so murky I couldn’t come up with the title of his latest bestseller if Baby Rae’s next meal had depended on it. Bening’s niche is fast-paced adventure thrillers, and I mostly read slow, character-driven literary, so Bening wasn’t in my stack of books to read before I die. But he was Josh’s top pick, and apparently every other red-blooded American male’s as well.

And that’s when it hit me: Lazarus Bening.

Could it be? No, it couldn’t be . . . but, maybe—but how could that have happened, Lazarus and I both ending up fiction writers when he was supposed to be piloting a plane to Singapore?  

I’m running late for the office, but I’ll pick this up next time out . . . next post: more about Lazarus and Telemachus Press and Mr. Wonderful. . . .

I post on Mondays and Thursdays, and sometimes more, but sometimes less. Thanks for coming by.

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2 comments on “Publishing Revolution and Lazarus

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