Throw Mama From the Bates Motel: Publishing 2010

Jane Henderson, a reporter with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, published a story on the front page of today’s paper about new options for publishing—thanks in large part to innovative publishers such as Blank Slate Press (who will bring out my forthcoming novel) as well as the tremendous advances afforded by technology. Ms. Henderson interviewed me as part of her story, so I was particularly interested in her article. As I read the piece, however, I couldn’t get over the numbers she cited: More than 1 million books were published in the U.S. last year. Of that number, 764,448 titles came from non-traditional publishers, while 288,355 titles came from traditional presses. In all, industry sources say there are some 70,000 publishers in the U.S. today.

These numbers overwhelm me: How will my voice be heard among so many others?  But the numbers also give me a new appreciation for possibility: Rather than believe there is no room for another voice, I am excited about the opportunity to add my unique perspective.

I am an adjunct professor at Webster University in St. Louis where I teach a course on scriptwriting. The topics of voice, of unique vision, are often discussed. Here’s an exercise that I often do with my students: I’ll suggest a story idea, say “a man has conflicts with his mother” and I’ll ask my students to name works that address this topic. Together, we’ve filled several white boards with works ranging from Oedipus Rex to Hamlet, Psycho to Throw Mama From the Train.

Not everyone is John Grisham. Not everyone wants to be. I’m even willing to bet that Mr. Grisham enjoys reading voices other than his own.

To read the Post-Dispatch article (and see photos) go to the link below:

http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/books-and-literature/article_a53f72cd-28df-5d1e-8f77-265422a378c3.html

You can also download the article (without photos) from this post: It’s easy to publish a book these days

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