I was sitting on a plane on my way to London. I had the good fortune to have a sister living in England at the time, and I was flying in to see Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Sitting next to me was a handsome young man wearing jeans that were too skinny even for his skinny frame. He was a Londoner returning after a conference in New York City. When I mentioned I was a writer, he became enthusiastic. I reminded him that I was an unpublished writer. This didn’t dim his excitement. He was in marketing, and he loved start-ups. He loved that I was doing what I loved. He had even started a website on how to become a start-up company. This led to a discussion about the changing publishing industry and how, like the music industry had done in the 90’s, it was becoming increasingly easy, and even viable, to create on your own without the help of the big companies. There are pros and cons to this change (I know I would rather have a nice fat check up front and somebody else doing my advertising), but change is the reality that must be embraced. My skinny-jeaned friend suggested that I read my book on YouTube. He said it would be a unique way to “publish” that would get a different kind of audience and attention, and a way to get the attention of the industry that was largely ignoring me in my current efforts of query letters and synopses.
I smiled at him at first, wondering if the jeans had cut off some much-needed oxygen from his brain. And then I realized two things: 1) this is a marketing guy giving me marketing advice, and 2) this is a younger person than I am. I recognized that while this method of publishing would never have crossed my mind, it had crossed his, and within a short time of hearing about my novel. What could it hurt to give it a try? I certainly have nothing to lose.
In the next few weeks, I will be putting into practice this different approach to publishing. I will be “publishing” my book on YouTube by reading it aloud. While this might not be every writer’s best approach, I think it might actually work for me. In college I had two different English professors tell me I should “read for a living”, a strange way of suggesting that I go into television journalism. I also spent the first two years of college at the Florida School of the Arts studying acting before I realized I was not the next Meryl Streep. So boring it will not be! I hope you will join me as I break through the restrictions of the old publishing box and create my own oddly-shaped creative endeavor.