I posted this in the Facebook Group for the Indie Authors Table I’m putting together for Archon this year. I liked it, so I wanted to repost it here and also to expand on it a little bit:
I’ve been working on the Kindle Cards tonight.
Right now I am copying the covers from Amazon, converting them to grayscale and resizing them. It’s repetitive, mechanical work, but I’ve gotten into a kind of rhythm.
Next I am going to plug the URLs of the sales pages into my QR generator and save a code for each book as a jpg.
After that I am going to start assembling the cards, working in an Open Office document table and then saving it as a .pdf.
Now, I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, because I’m not. And I’m not fishing for people to tell me how wonderful I am. I know I’m wonderful. The fact that there aren’t daily parades to my honor and glory through the streets of every city on Earth is one of the world’s great mysteries.
I am saying this to make two points.
First, I believe in you. I believe in all of us, the outlaw artists, the rouge writers, the penslinger mercenaries of the literary wild west. You are my tribe, my people. We make art because it is what we do, without looking for approval and without asking anyone’s permission. This is between us and our audience, a dance as raw and merciless as courtship.
Some were born to listen and some were born to play. If you’re here, you’re one of the players. Sit down, shut up, and let’s jam.
Second, I am doing this in an evening, using software that is all freeware. I am spending some sweat equity and a few hours of fiddling.
Can you imagine what it would take a traditional publisher to come up with these? A focus group. A planning meeting. A customer relations consultant. An art director, a design consultant. Three interns to get coffee for everyone else. A representative of the printer. A representative of the printer’s union. Some guy who nobody knows who gets cc’ed on everything because it’s always been done that way.
We don’t need all that crap. All we need is an idea and some free time and a few gallons of high grade chutzpah. I may be wasting my time. Nobody might buy a single e-book as a result of these cards.
So what? I’ll try something else. I’ve got no overhead, no board of directors, no 5th Avenue frontage, no secretaries, no brothers-in-law of important people who need to be given a job someplace.
It’s me, it’s you, our muses, and our readers. That’s it. Amazon gives us a marketplace, but we don’t need them. The technology has given us the ability to reach our public and if Amazon fails someone else will step up. The genie is out of the bottle now and it’s never going back in.
Welcome to the future. You’re going to like it here–we own it.
When I talk about something I’m doing, some project or other, the response that I really want to get from people isn’t, “Wow, he’s wonderful!” it’s “Wow, I could do that!”
I mean sure, I have the usual human measure of vainglory and a bit more, and I never turn down the ego strokes. But that isn’t the point.
I never feel better than when I am encouraging someone who needs it. The word itself means “to give courage to” and that’s how I see it. Making art requires courage, and it requires fortitude, and discipline, and no small amount of hubris. Art is war, it is war against the creeping dead, the soul-crushing lifeless tide that swirls around our legs and threatens to drag us under at any moment.
Art isn’t something given to a chosen few, it is a spark that glows in every human soul. It is the hand of the Ruach HaKodesh, the breath of God. You can dampen that spark, bury it with doubt and fear and exhaustion, but I don’t believe that it can ever be fully extinguished.
My purpose, my reason for being if I have such a thing, is to fan that spark into life in as many souls as I can.
Because in this dark world we need all the sparks we can get.
Because if I don’t do it, who will?