The Great American Novel

If you’re being honest, you’ll admit that somewhere, deep down, you’ve always wanted to write The Great American Novel (TGAN). Something like Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises or Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Come to think of it, you’d settle for Watership Down, The Corrections or any of Douglas Adams’ books. You’re a realist though, so you realize that your blog might be your only foray into published “literature” and that makes you cry a little inside. *Sob*

Then along comes Seth Godin and really just completely crushes your soul. His stark take on the world of publishing is refreshingly straight-forward, if a bit depressing. Books are expensive, slow-to-market and slower to gain popularity enterprises at best. But he’s talking about non-fiction books, mostly business tomes, not the kind of creative genius you’re going to (soon) spew forth onto the page. There’s still hope!

His best advice to you:

Printing your own book is very very easy and not particularly expensive. You can hire professional copyeditors and designers and end up with a book that looks just like one from Random House. That’s easy stuff.

Yeah, that’s the ticket. You could be the next Cory Doctorow. Writing creative science fiction and putting out free versions of the text online via various Creative Commons licenses. You’ve even got the cool glasses. You’re all set.

Now all you need are supplies and a story. Yeah, a story. That’d be a good start.

In the absence of that, though, you should probably run out and get paper products. Every author needs pens and paper. And you’re an author now, by God. Just not a very good one.

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