Friday, September 26, 2014

The POD question

To POD or not to POD

Last night I attended the Beaufort writers’ workshop and met several interesting writers. Because of another local author event, the group was small, but the dedication to writing was there.

The question of whether to pursue an agent or self publish came up, confirming that it’s a common issue for writers everywhere. We don’t want to give up hope of securing an agent. On the other hand, when we spend more time trying to get one than on writing, the merits of self publishing become more interesting.

Self publishing isn’t an option on par with traditional NYC publishers yet mainly because there’s a lack of quality management regarding the manuscripts that are published. If POD publishers could fix that, it would challenge the establishment in a major way.

In fact, I hope the day comes when POD publishers realize a benefit from specializing, such that they become high-end and low-end. If a POD publisher sets quality standards for what it accepts, i.e., refuses inferior manuscripts, why couldn’t it build a reputation with clout comparable to Random House or HarperCollins?

In workshop we critiqued a couple of autobiographies in progress. I’m not accustomed to critiquing work presented orally without a hard copy and had to pay close attention. Anyway, one excerpt was by a writer who traveled in a yacht with her husband for eight years. Another was by a writer who has experienced miraculous healing with meditation.

Before I sign off, I was impressed with the hospitality of St. John’s Lutheran Church on Lady’s Island. Parishioners who were there for reasons other than writing ushered me past the locked and coded door and into the conference room, which I couldn’t have found by myself.

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