Saturday, May 19, 2007


by JessicaDelfino under Hacks & DIYs

There are many resources out there to help people who want to make their own works en masse, but don't want to have to wait around to be discovered at a writer's convention, do an expensive and ill-reputed vanity press (though I have mixed feelings about that repute), pay some lame corporation to publish their poems in a book that they will then have to pay $50 per copy for, or "accidentally" meet their mentor in the crapper. Sure, you can send your uncopyrighted manuscript into Random House or Doubleday Books, and most likely, the idea won't get stolen. Yes, most likely, the idea won't get used at all. If you haven't figured out yet that artists are rarely judged on merit anymore, you are living in a time long passed. This is a generation of pay for play, and it really is very much so about who you know and who you blow. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is very lucky, very resourceful, or very full of shit.

Of course, you can spend a lifetime trying. Why not? You can work your day job from 9-5, and in any spare moments you have, I encourage you to stick your outline, your half-hashed ideas, or if you've got your shit together, a completed copy of your manuscript or what have you into an envelope and send it to John or Jane whats-his-face over at that place your friend suggested. It couldn't hurt...could it? I believe the answer is no.

But in the mean time, get to work making your own thing. You are, in my own humble opinion, 1000% more likely to sell something that the person who you would like to sell it to can hold in their hands, smell in their nostrils, and see with their eyes. I mean, think about it. If you were considering spending $10,000 on something, wouldn't you want to see it first?

You will need as many copies as possible. 50 is a good starting point, but as many as you can get is the amount that will have to do. This is your prototype, so try to make it look good. If you have made enough copies, you can sell a few and make your money back.

I can't tell you enough what a great resource a crappy day job is when it comes to making your dreams come true. Sure, you have to get up at 8 or 9 am and sit in a wretched cubicle, painted some kind of egg shell flavor of white or hospital blue. Yes, you question your existence on an hourly basis. Fine, the fluorescent lighting sucks your brain clean of inspiration, and probably gives you at least three kinds of cancer. But that photocopy access almost makes it all worth while. Every day job I've ever had has served as my "office" for my own projects. And each day job hath served me quite well. It is best not to make a spectacle of your photocopy usage. Just make some copies here and there, while you're making other copies anyway. Or stay late and use the shit out of it after most of the other employees have left for the day to go live their regular lives out as moms, dads, or people who go do things. They probably aren't writing the next best selling novel. Losers. Also do not forget to not underestimate the near limitless supply of black pens, business-y looking clasp envelopes, and if you have access to it - postage. These are important tools in the battle of self-publishing.

If you are one of those people who has some kind of "problem" "stealing" "office supplies", get a hold of your self. First of all, you are not "stealing". You are getting paid $8 per hour for every $1000 your company is making. Consider it a bonus, or a percentage of their profit. Second, they aren't office supplies. Most offices have an understanding. You work for $8 per hour while the people on top drive Mercedes and eat abused duck livers, and they don't mind if you help yourself to the envelopes and ink-jet printer usage. It's what we call a business agreement.

If you do not have a day job, chances are most of your friends do. If you ask 10 friends to make 2 copies each of your script, you have 20 right there - enough to send off to 15 "important people" and a few left over to keep as a reserve for emergencies. Say for example, you are planning to "accidentally" meet your mentor in the shitter at his favorite restaurant - not something I would recommend, by the way, though it seems to have worked for some.

If you refuse to utilize your office stash, or you want to mix it up a bit, another of my favorite resources is Staples. Staples is great in that you can go in and use their photocopiers with no hassle, using your debit or credit card. Their copies used to be 5 cents each, just a few months ago, but the price has raised, at least in NYC, to 9 cents per copy. Strangely, the copies cost 8 cents per copy at another location uptown. When you are a struggling artist making multiple copies of a publication, those pennies count. If you live in a smaller city, Staples copies are probably still 5 cents. They were 9 cents at Staples here, but when I went out of town, they were still 5 cents in North Carolina and elsewhere. You can also find a little neighborhood copy shop where they are still 5 cents each. Most of the places where there is the yellow sign hanging in the window offer 5 cent copies. Making pals with people who work at Staples, encouraging a friend to get a job at Staples, or getting a job at Staples yourself is never a bad idea. You only have to work there until you get rich and famous, and that is just around the corner, right?

Another favorite self-publishing trick I know and love is the trick of the trade. What do you have to trade with someone who owns, runs or works at a copy shop? Maybe you make great baked goods. Maybe you give a terrific back rub. Perhaps you are a computer whiz, or a Mr. Fix-It. Whatever you know how to do, pimp that skill out to get what you need.

Good luck!

Article Source:

No comments: