The crescendo of the writers’ life waltz, as I have been calling it, is yours truly making a determined end-run around the established behemoths of the literary industrial complex, thanks to contributions gratefully received from fans and supporters… and from Mom and Dad. I have been able to pull in enough to start the process rolling for “To Truckee’s Trail” with those nice people at I have sent them the formatted text, and in a short time, they will have one of their contracted artists do the cover, and once I approve it, they will include it in their website and catalogue… and there you go, Sgt. Mom’s next book. It’ll be available on, of course.

It’s not just going to stop at that, though. It just doesn’t. I will be buying a box of copies, to use to generate reviews in various websites and magazines. Once I have a nice collection of kind words, then I will use the cover art and the kind words to purchase advertising space, and to print up some folders or flyers to send to various bookstores. Do you know how many museums there are, along the Western emigrant trail, and how many of them have bookstores? You may not, but I am making a concerted effort to build a list of each and every one, and I’ll know when I am finished. I’ll also know about any independent bookstores anywhere in towns of note along the trail… especially if there is any kind of trail-related tourism in that town. All hail Google, the avatar of the DIY advertising campaign!

It’s been dawning on me, that perhaps the world of book-publishing, or as I have begun to call it, the “literary industrial complex” is beginning a slow downward spiral in the face of the POD revolution, the internet and DIY marketing, and even the availability of quality color printing at Kinkos. All those processes that were once owned by a big publisher because the technology involved was huge, complex and expensive… now they are reduced, pared down and available to anyone who cares. Once upon a time, doing a book on your own used to be called a vanity press, and it cost a bomb, but now self-publishing is within reach. The resulting books aren’t any more dreadful than what is churning out of the traditional publishing houses; so much for the sneering about vanity presses, and writers so pathetically eager to be in print.

It’s been kind of curious, to hang around in the book and publishing blogs, and read what insiders say about it: that agents are harried and harassed, and have only enough time for a tenth of the good-quality stuff that crosses their desks. That publishers are risk-adverse… and like the producers of block-buster movies, want that sure-fire good thing that is just like the last fifteen or twenty sure-fire good things that came down the pike. It’s a crapshoot for writers; even if you do grab the brass ring, and get a deal from a traditional publisher, you’re likely to be treated like dirt anyway… and wind up doing most of the marketing yourself. So, POD looks more and more like a viable alternative.

And I am wondering if the literary-industrial complex is going to start feeling the pinch of competition, and considerable dissatisfaction from the consuming public… just like the major news media is feeling now. Old news stalwarts like the NY Times, Newsweek and the CBS evening news are all beginning to tank. Bloggers like Michael Yon can do news reporting from a war zone, expert analysis comes from someone like Wretchard at Belmont Club, and the dreaded Mo-Toons o’Doom were featured on more blogs than were published in newspapers. The entire news industry looks fair to going down like that enormous spaceship in that old Disney movie that spiraled down into a black hole, emerging in the fourth dimension as something entirely different… what was the name of that flick? Anyway, I wonder if current technology is going to send traditional book publishing in the same direction.

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