In an unusual move for an established author, critically acclaimed novelist, memoirist and National Book Award finalist John Edgar Wideman is teaming up with self-publishing and print-on-demand service Lulu.com to release, Briefs, Stories for the Palm of the Mind, a new collection of his short stories. The new book will go on sale exclusively through Lulu.com beginning March 14 and will be launched at a series of live readings from the book that will be held in New York and Los Angeles.
Does this whole vanity press thing stink less when it’s done by an established author? Something says it does.
Perhaps it’s because when it’s a first-time author who is doing the self-publishing, there are essences of failure and rejection and a lack of ability, or even just plain bad luck. Package all that up, there’s still the stench of forking out great piles of cash for something that will receive little or no coverage, despite what those imprints advertise. So in this instance, the vanity press is only good for the companies who are filching cash from struggling, jaded writers.
When you’re a pro, with a track record and a fanbase, and years of writing experience behind you, things seem a little different. But we might want to look between the lines here: it could be that the author wants to push some experimental stuff that his traditional imprint shuddered over in their sales meetings, and that’s cool too, right, because art is getting out there, and the fans exist to buy into the project.
Any thoughts on this?