Playing the publishing game

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Last night I participated in Smallpressapalooza, Powell’s Books’ annual celebration of super small scale indie publishing. Out of a breathtaking variety of readings, most of them awesomely good, I was the token non-literary reader (my rendition of this essay was surely informative for all, if comfortable for few).

The guy before me had a multimedia presentation about his multimedia book about his time teaching in rural New Zealand. His combination of homemade and high tech made me feel excited to be in the publishing industry right now. When it was my turn to get up I said so and told the story about how when I promote my ebooks a bunch of people come to my website and buy … my print zines, of course. Ebooks, I said flippantly, are great for marketing, but that’s it.

But on the rainy ride home I thought about it some more. I haven’t really given my growing collection of digital editions the same airtime as the print versions. To be honest, I don’t really get e-books. I don’t even have an e-reader. And the whole supposed “death of print” irks me not just because of its faux environmentalism and blatant ploy by Amazon to take over the entire industry, but because it just doesn’t seem to be happening.

But of course, I realized, if I set these things up to fail that’s exactly what’s going to happen. So I’ve determined to give digital publishing a chance. That means playing the game — including the Amazon game.

Taking the Lane e-zines will remain available alongside the print versions on my own webstore. But I’ve cast the Bikenomics e-zine as a sacrifice to the great Amazon, giving them exclusive electronic publishing rights for the next 90 days. Amazon really does turn publishing into a video game, and so in the interest of playing it to win, I’d love for you to buy or borrow a copy, write a review, link to that page with your affiliate account, and whatever other magic tricks you have up your sleeve.

Don’t forget to read and enjoy the contents while you’re at it, and to call your local government about fixing up your nearest bikeway.

Thank you! It will surely be exciting to see what the future of publishing holds. Thanks for joining me as I try to suss out my best niche in it.