Sunday, October 31, 2010

Steve Almond's This Won't Take But A Minute, Honey

I ordered a copy of Almond's book through the Harvard Book Store, and like what I see (I got it quickly, too). I was curious about why he chose to go the self-publishing route and discovered that he has articles in recent Poets & Writers on that very topic. The articles are definitely worth reading. I was only vaguely aware of the EBM industry and Almond's article helped me understand a lot more about it along with help in understanding the potential in such publishing

In the July/August issue, he cautions,
"Unless you are already a famous author, it's highly unlikely you'll reach a huge audience with a self-published book." That stands to reason. BUT...

Almond also says (in that same article), "I foresee a day when writers will prefer to print chapbooks of the original work they read at events, and sell them for a few bucks, the same way musicians now sell copies of live performances."

As for Almond's book itself, it's filled with thought-provoking information. Part of the book contains flash fiction and the other part of the book contains essays on writing. It's amusing, too, in that the part with flash fiction has its own cover and table of contents. Then you have to flip the book over to get to the essays and that section has its own cover and table of contents as well.

I really like what Almond says on titles for our stories (from Minute, Honey, in his essay titled "Who Wants To Play With A Headless Doll?"):

"...titles are not an afterthought, or an indulgence. They are a signpostto the story's crucial ideas and motifs, an initiation into its tone, and an inducement to keep reading."

Then toward the end of the essay Almond says: "The search for a title should
force you deeper into the mysteries of your work. It's an invitation to
distill what Graham Greene called "the heart of the matter.""

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