“It’s perfect. I want half an ounce. Ring me up.” It was just what I was looking for: cheap and hideous. I read the description on the jar while the kid did the paperwork.
Black Katsu: the ultimate organic herbal herb, pre-smoked over rare Tibetan incense during the drying process. Gummy asphalt palate with an astringent industrial lemon finish. Long out-of-body high. Recommended for weary travelers, people on a diet, and chronic foot cramps.
I focused on the idea of a gummy asphalt taste. It sure as hell fit my mood, and I couldn’t wait to get it home.
“Hey, you’re Reverend Jammy,” the counterboy said, handing me my cards back. “You write that relationship blog, and the weed review. That’s seriously cool.”
“Yep. Reverend Jammy Pop, at your service!” I bowed with a flourish, and signed the credit card receipt. “Weddings. Funerals. Life Coaching. Buddhist sex rituals are my specialty.”
“Wow! I read your review of the Tai Hei Luong bud. That was on the money, dude.”
The gang of us who are published by Permuted Press are an excellent example. We throw around ideas. We cross-market. We collaborate.
I’m going to pimp my publisher for a moment, so forgive me in advance. I have not met a group of people that better exemplifies “We all succeed together” before, and I’m very grateful to be a part of such a great group of people. Done.
Back to the original reason for writing this… There will always be a sub-genre of horror that includes zombies, much like there will always be one that features vampires. The zombie world is pretty crowded, as is the realm of vampires. Our market share shrinks, but doesn’t disappear.
How do you win back a larger share of the market? You do something different.
The chances of independent authors doing something different, I feel, is higher. Why? We write what we want to read, perhaps a smidge more often than we write what the market wants to read. This is where you get innovation. This is where you get interesting storytelling.
I don’t want to sound like I’m pimping again, but… oh well. The more titles I read from my publisher, the more I realize that good storytelling, and interesting variations on a theme, are NOT the providence of the Big Six publishers.
Follow the logic for a moment. I’m going to ask you a question.
Do you go to Walmart if you want to buy someone an unusual or creative gift?
Walmart does not take chances on products. They know what you want to buy, and they stock a lot of it. Is it so strange to think that big publishing works in the same way?
Don’t go to the Big Six for your interesting and creative fiction. They don’t stock it. Go to the “Mom and Pop” store, or straight to the artist, for that distinctive product.
I feel as though the same logic applies to why independent authors have a hard time breaking into the larger Big Six market. To offer us a contract is to take a chance. Make no mistake, large companies are there to make SURE money.
Why offer me a contract when they can spend X amount of money on Laurell K. Hamilton’s next Anita Blake book and be SURE to sell thousands of copies?