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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One Year Later

So one year ago, while doing a search on Amazon, I found this listing and felt so excited. Thrilled might be a better word, but I felt such a rush of happiness through my veins when I realized that I had a book out. I had waited for this day since March 1st, 2004, and here it was.

Now that a year has passed, I have quite a few things that I'd like to share.

If there's only one thing I wish POST had more of, it would be a stronger word-of-mouth buzz. Sales have yet to reach the 1,000-mark as of this writing, but it seems like there's always a handful more people that buy a copy each month. I didn't set out to write a book that would instantly sell like hot cakes, but when I looked at the concrete numbers of how many copies were actually sold, there was a feeling of deflation. It was definitely not a sense of failure though.

I was approached by a small independent press to reissue the book and supposedly give it more distribution. The deal was, I had never heard of this place and didn't exactly believe what was being pitched to me. I asked my agent what he thought and we both came to the same conclusion. Especially on the angle of collecting royalties, this place didn't seem the most inviting. So I politely passed.

(I should add that since I've published the book, I've received quarterly royalty checks. These sums are definitely not the kind where I could retire now, but they are coming in. If I went with this other place, maybe I'd receive a royalty check once or twice in a year, if at all.)

I was also approached by a publicist who wanted to do a small marketing campaign for the book. Basically the plan was to do what I had already done marketing-wise myself, only I would pay somebody $500 to do the same thing. As much as I appreciated the offer, I politely passed on that as well.

Maybe those were the "wrong" things to do, but I'm very protective of this project. It's not like I want to keep the book a secret. Far from it. I just didn't want to hand important things over to a place that I didn't firmly believe would do a better job than what my publisher was already doing (or I was doing myself for free). I might have been laughed at for wanting to hold the copyright for my book, but that's a very important thing to have in the long term.

And in regards to the publicist issue, I had a really good talk with a writer friend and a publicist friend about this proposed campaign while we were hanging out at South by Southwest. When I laid out the possibilities to them, they both told me I did the right thing with passing on the offer. What was funny was that, literally fifteen minutes later, the said publicist was standing about five feet away from me while a band played. Due to several reasons, I did not introduce myself.

So maybe my stubbornness is to blame for how POST turned out the way it did. But as I've said before, the book is out there how I wanted it. I'm still very proud of the book's content and have no problem talking about it with people. Be it the person lives down the street, in New Jersey, or in Indonesia, I have no problem talking about the book and its contents.

What's been funny is how the book has been cited quite a bit on Wikipedia. Be it on the page for Sunny Day Real Estate or the page for the Get Up Kids, I find it funny because Wikipedia banned me for updating my own page due to their conflict of interest policy. Plus, there's always a question of relevancy for anyone to have a page devoted to him or her. I wonder if that's enough to get somebody else to resurrect the page from web oblivion.

Though there is a temptation to do an updated version of the book, given how Hot Water Music, the Get Up Kids, and Sunny Day Real Estate have reunited in some form or fashion since publication, I stress the beginnings and middles of the band chapters are more important than the ends of the chapters. I'm not opposed to the idea of an updated version, but I wanted the book to be a snapshot of where things were all the way up to 2007.

What's been nice is covering these bands' current activities for the Dallas Observer. I have no problem being called an emo nerd or an emo expert by my editor. Frankly, I take those as compliments. There's nothing wrong with emo, and there's nothing wrong with being somebody who knows a few things about it more than the average person. I'm not better than the people who know less than me about the subject, but I'm more than happy to share what I know with people who actually want to know more about the subject.

1 comment:

Rj said...

It's an awesome accomplishment for anyone, and I think that having these bands playing again should potentially help with selling copies. You da man...don't forget it.