The above post by my friend Henry Gee is about whether it is best to write to please oneself, or to please others. Henry writes about an author who has published many books and stories, all in print, but who cannot now find a publisher for his new work. What hope for the rest of us, wonders Henry? "I think that with very few exceptions, the only people who can get their books published have to fulfil at least two of the following criteria:
1. They are well-known for something other than authorship, especially if that activity is ephemeral (sports ‘personality’, pop star, politician);
2. They have appeared on TV in any capacity whatsoever (TV presenter, contestant on reality show, pundit);
3. They are very good-looking;
4. They are under 25.
One can only check off these boxes to see what happens. For me, the results look like this;
1. Does being an editor at Nature count?
2. I’ve been a guest on Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman, so that’s probably far too worthwhile;
3. My daughters think I’m terribly handsome, but they are only small and to them I’m a superstar. To the rest of the world I look like the results of a collision between a number-nine bus and a stegosaurus, especially if compared with Myleene Klass, or even Alan Titchmarsh;
4. I am indeed approaching 25, although from the wrong direction."
Read the rest of Henry’s post for reader statistics, some publishing initiatives and for his views on POD (print on demand). As Henry points out, POD is becoming "less sneered at" and, via his back of envelope calculation, perhaps even not so bad financially either.
An update on the much-discussed Espresso machine is here, on O’Reilly Radar, together with various comments on its practical usefulness for printing and, crucially, distribution.