The Runaway Bridegroom Publisher Tour Of 2007

My sister just sent me a diagnostic flowchart for achieving matrimony. It's her take-off on the education reform flowchart I gave her a copy of last week - we work fast in my family with whatever tools are at hand. I mention the tools because she didn't have a copy of Visio and did the marriage flowchart in some Adobe software, maybe InDesign, which really isn't designed for the job. Unlike my education reform flowchart, her matrimony graph (it's not exactly a flowchart) was prepared especially for me, so I can't guarantee it suitability for other users.

The point is, having carefully considered my options, I'm leaning towards running away. My lease here is up in a month and my house hunting efforts have taught me that there are a lot of really bad houses available, so I'm thinking it might be a good time to buy a tent and see the country. I tried seeing the country on a camping trip after graduate school fifteen years ago, but I mainly saw the highways as I drove as much as sixteen hours a day in a hurry to get nowhere in particular. Given the cost of gas and the fact that I'm older and slower, it might make sense to go with a hard limit of 200 miles a day, maximum, and actually stop and visit places.

Many authors go on extended tours of speaking engagements (did he say engagement:-) and book readings at least once in their lives. But has anybody ever gone on a cross-country publisher tour, visiting self publishers and writing about them online? I don't know that I'd be the right person to do it, but it sounds kind of interesting at first blush, and could give some structure and meaning to my midlife crisis. I have standing invites from a couple of self-publishers around the country to drop in and say "Hi" if I'm in the area, but I'd have to run the quantity up quite a bit if I was to have any chance at getting good at it, much less coming up with some useful prose. I suppose some new self publishers wouldn't mind getting their photo and titles listed on my website, but I may be too honest for some people's taste.

How would something like the Runaway Bridegroom Publisher Tour work? I'd have to line up some publishers interested in meeting me ahead of time, call them when I'm going to be in reasonable driving range for a day or two, and plan to meet somewhere for a coffee. I've corresponded with too many "interesting" authors to have any inclination to meet them in their homes, invariably located on isolated country roads, complete with a kid playing the Deliverance theme on a banjo. I'd also be inclined to setting a pretty short time limit for a meeting, like a half-hour, to make sure we talk about the publisher's titles and not sit around swapping publishing war stories.

My guess is that it would be a learning experience for me and a disappointment for any self publishers who expect enough publicity to have a noticeable impact on their sales. It would also force me into a cellphone and cellular Internet service, the latter which I'd love and the former which I've been avoiding like matrimony, dating, and most other things universally adjured as good. At least, I haven't come across a cellular Internet service that you can buy without a cellphone, but I have a month to look. I'm not exactly committed to the venture, if I came across a good house sitting or sublet gig in the next month, I'd probably take that instead and just keep going as is.

In the meantime, I'm reading a biography of Darwin in which he is quoted as having written (during his bachelor days) that a wife would make a better companion than a dog for old age. I have a hard time taking the words at face value as he was famously dependent on his eventual (religious) wife, who gave him ten children and did more for his gene pool than all the barnacles he dissected. Or is it considered "not cricket" to point that out?


Mark Roy Long said...

If you find yourself in Waco, Texas, on your roadtrip feel free to stop by and visit us at TSTC Publishing at Texas State Technical College. We are not self-publishers per se but, rather, use POD for our titles and have gotten much good information from your site.

Morris Rosenthal said...


If I get down there I'll certainly give you a shot. I've fallen into the habit of writing about self publishing, largely in keeping with the name of the blog, but my real mission in recent years has been to present POD as an alternative to offset based "push" models. I'll have to do another post if I go ahead with the idea widening the scope to publishers in general.

I was fairly surprised when it turned out that most small publishers were getting pressured into ignoring POD (I blame peers and authors) at the very time the established trades and self publishers were embracing the technology. I probably hear from less "traditional" small publishers than from any other publishing segment, and when I do, they're usually in a hurry to tell me I'm wrong about everything.

Texas is one of the states I really short-changed back in 1991. I had a cousin in the university at Austin at the time, I drove in from Arkansas without stopping, spent a couple days in Austin (saw the Guttenberg), and then drove all the way to Colorado in one shot, something over 800 miles.Man, you've got some straight secondary roads!


Mark Roy Long said...

Well, I know for us that without POD we never would have gotten our publishing operation off the ground. Especially with our first technical textbooks we did, the print runs were so small--and required such constant updating--that we would have gone broke printing 2000 copies a time via offset.

I went to school at UT in Austin and making it by the HRC to see the Gutenberg (and their other holdings) is always a good bet. (There was a good article in the recent fiction issue of The New Yorker about the curator at the HRC about their author archives and how they are building those up.)Waco is just up the road from Austin but worlds away, for better or worse, in temperament.

Those TX highways . . . you are correct! Week after next we're going to the TSTC college in South Texas which requires driving straight south for 5 hours and then veering slightly to the right for another 2.