Vanity, oh queen of sin! Yeah, well.

My mom told me about vanity publishing. Out of your own pocket you can produce as many copies of your book as you please. Now, if you are of the mind that genius goes unrecognized, and indeed your work is genius, then I suppose vanity publishing is the way to go.

There are many services at varying costs that will produce your chapbook, novel or poetry collection. After you produce that, you can go about distributing your book, which, if you are a fantastic self-manager, should come easily. After that, what? Book signings, readings at local bookstores, Letterman, who knows?

I mean, the top selling books of today are just pulp romance and brainless action, right? They all just follow the same old tired formula, right? You, on the other hand, are making timeless masterpieces, RIGHT?

But there’s something of the old life of the writer that seems to me pure, untouchable. The old school writer is so good at writing only because s/he is utterly inept at everything else. This archetypal wordsmith is not a self-manager. This person isn’t really good at anything, and is very good at nothing. So good at nothing that s/he sits around for hours each day, simply jotting down ideas. Those ideas become an outline. That outline becomes a book. After an author representative sends the book to press and it enters the universe of thought, the second-order minds involved in criticism tear apart these works, abusing them with their own schematic knowledge they hold to be conservatively the keystone of art appreciation.

A story written by Huxley, After the Fireworks, tells the tale of a fifty year-old writer being courted by a twenty-year-old fan. Sound a bit like Coelho’s Aleph? And similar enough to Lolita, or for our South Korean readers, Ung Nyo? Yeah, not exactly a one-of-a-kind plot, but anyway… He gives a neat impression of a writer’s weird, pan-theistic, sub-moral life. At first the main character seems vain (ha!). If you’ve read the Perennial Philosophy, the character Huxley creates and Huxley’s mystical philosophies could hardly have come from the same mind. Soon this character’s antics seem permissible and even justified. Unlike Coelho’s self-portrait, however, the writer is buried in debt and relying on the kindness of friends as he wanders about Rome and writes as much as he can when he can in between fornication. Huxely and Coelho both give us an interesting look into the life of a published author along the same theme: an author dwells neither entirely in hell, nor in heaven, but lives fully in this world and records the experience. Nothing less will do.

Now, if I could just front my own money and have a book made for me, I would feel as though I’d failed to pass the insanity test illustrated in Huxley and Coelho: the complete willingness to publicly disgrace myself the way an author ought to and accept the strangest of experiences from the faerieland of the cosmic periphery.

Vanity publishing seems too safe, too bourgeoise, especially after all the stories I have read about authors who cannot even afford to buy their own books. I don’t self-manage. I barely even believe I exist, how can I represent myself? Hey, buddeh, wanna buy a chapbook?

Ugh, I know it’s a cliche, but I find the bourgeoise ink to be too gross, and prefer not to be handed a book dripping in it. The web is vast and wide, and filled with bad poetry (mine included) and boring dramas. I can read all the unskilled fiction I want at no cost, which out of boredom I do although I should be reading something far more thought-provoking.

The hounds guard the gate for a reason. Meanwhile, search for the Original Librarian if you would like an extensive digital library. You will not regret it.

Yours,

Leif Sturmanis Nordholm

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