Interview With A Vampublisher (First Bite)

Interview conducted on March 22nd, 2007.

Rosenthal (M.R.) Let's start at the beginning, Count.

Vampublisher (C.V.) One, Two, Three, Four,...(Rosenthal interrupts)

M.R.) That wasn't a request, Count Vampublisher, and this isn't Sesame Street.

C.V.) Just a little joke I picked up at the London Book Fair.

M.R.) Getting back to the subject, how did you come to be a Vampublisher?

C.V.) I was bitten by the publishing bug at an auction when I found myself the proud owner of 1989 IBM Laser Printer and returned home to find I had nothing to print! I've always been something of a night owl, and there's not much to do when the world is asleep, other than read and feed, er, the mosquitoes, which are attracted by the, um, light. Moving from Reading Street to Writing Ave is just a stroll down Education Lane, if you happen to live in York [worth the visit]. But the journey from Writing Ave to Publisher Highway typically requires bonded servitude to a whole new York, which is more of a sacrifice than some are willing to make.

M.R.) So you exist in the shadows, feeding off the leavings of the great New York trades?

C.V.) I wouldn't put it so colorfully. Let's just say that I have my niche, and I'd rather be the master in a cottage [industry] than a slave in the castle. Vampublisher titles rarely seek out the harsh lights of chain store shelves, they prefer to glow in the gentle backlight of a hundred million computer screens.

M.R.) That sounds a little like an excuse to me, Count. Are you sure your "preference" for online sales isn't because you couldn't make it in the broad daylight?

C.V.) It's purely a question of economics. There's an unseen war in the publishing industry, between the online world and the brick-and-mortar mausoleums. Of course, some of the books entombed in the chain stores sell in great quantities, but others serve as mere wallpaper, and are speedily returned to their maker. For a publisher like myself, who frequently moves from place to place on short notice, being weighted down by an inventory of books can be like a stake through the heart.

M.R.) Speaking of heart, don't you feel bad about charging people for your words, ephemeral as they are? Don't you believe books should be free?

C.V.) GET BACK! (raising his arm up over his face as if shielding it with a cape:-). If you want a free book, visit a library or Project Gutenberg. I positively haunted libraries as a youngster, but those books didn't grow on trees. Somebody had to butcher the trees, turn them into paper, add ink and advertising, not to mention composing the words. When your sole income is derived from publishing, free books don't make a whole lot of sense, though I do have several books online in their entirety, and several more in excerpts.

To Be Continued [sometime]

No comments: