A brief update on the status of my hip-hop cookbook. I am still writing and putting it together, Ih have a good amount of content gathered in the last 12 months but still would like to have more. Now, in a year’s time, one would assume that I would have more than enough, especially in a genre of music that has a million rappers, a million DJ’s, and a million producers. However, I have not received a million replies back, and that’s the reality of things. People find themselves to be interest, and then they’re not, so I keep at it, asking them to speak with me and a few of them stop the contact right there. I also have a number of submissions from people that I have yet to reply to, so if you happen to be one of those people, you will get an e-mail very soon.
My goal is to have enough content by the end of the year so I can edit and start looking for outlets to release the book. My goal has always been to release a book that can be printed and read, that’s what a traditional book is. In the last few years, digital books have become a new way to read things. While I do not have a dedicated reader, I do have programs I can use to open up a book and go at it. I have a number of digital books in my collection and like the look of the files, but it’s still a new approach to the old ways, which is “white page, black words, turn.” Nothing wrong with that at all, but you also have the iPad, which is a topic of discussion. I have not used the iPad, haven’t touched one, but would like to. I see the possibilities of releasing a book for the iPad, because not only would it serve as the perfect reader, but you could ideally make the book interactive. Touch a page, pull out photos or hear a song or interview, hear “natural sound” that pertains to a scene being described. My question is, will those interactive “extras” hurt the reading experience, and does that still make it a “book” if it involves doing more than just reading? Then again, there are picture books where you are viewing and depending on the topic, you may be reacting to it, just like any form of media.
As for publishing, ideally it would be great to find a publisher because in my mind, a publisher was beneficial in getting my product into stores. But this is 2010, not 1990, or even 2000. About ten years ago, I looked into taking book projects seriously, as people who have read my work have pushed me to do more than just music reviews and articles. I would send project submissions to publishers, which I was told is not the wise thing to do. The preferred method of publishers is to submit my project to a literary agent. As someone who has dealt with the music industry for many years, this sounded too familiar to me. An agent? Really? So in other words, I would be dealing with a middle man? In music, independent musicians have promoted the do-it-yourself (DIY) way of promotion for years, but going DIY means the artist has to make an effort to not only produce the music, but create it, press up copies, promote it, sell it, distribute it, and everything else that is normally done by other people in the publishing industry. A self-published writer will tell you that going DIY is more beneficial,even though you may shed five years off of your life from each project. I eventually bought a book featuring literary agents, the proper procedures on how to prepare the idea, what to send, what not to send, and the guidelines that each agent prefers. To me, this sounded exactly like what I had read for years in music industry books: send demo tape/CD, place three and only three (maybe five, but check first) on the CD,make sure they are the best songs. Include a biography, a photo, self addressed stamped envelope, and wait. You may have to wait six weeks or months, so in that time, get a real job. The rules and regulations of the publishing industry was not that different from the music industry, which meant that even if I were to get published or received a book deal, I’d still have to deal with “someone else”.
Early on, websites like Amazon were offering writers a chance to self-publish. If you wanted to press up 50 or 100 books, you could. You would receive what you paid for, no extra boxes of unsold books in storage or a garage. If you want to promote/publicize your book,then your budget would have to include x-amount to send to the media, but that’s your means of promoting your product. One can do enough research to know which outlets may or may not be interested in your book. You can send a self-addressed stamp postcard and have them fill out a questionnaire or send them an e-mail to see if there’s interest. If there is, send the book, and keep tabs.
Of course in a better world, I could get a book published, send it to a publisher or literary agent, and let the money roll in. That is not going to happen. Yeah, there are times I’m upset when I see people who have no writing experience behind them, specifically entertainers, have publishing deals. 3-BOOK PUBLISHING DEALS. That only makes me want to work harder, because if I see someone with no talent write 150 pages of fluff, someone has to find interest in my intellectual fluff.
The hip-hop cookbook project continues, and it will be released as hard copy. I am still looking into using Kickstarter as a means to raise funds for publishing it. I am looking into knowing more about how to adapt book projects for the iPad.
Today, I listened to the Redoing Media show on Cascadia.fm which touched on the demise of hard copy books and the importance of digital books in this digital society we live in, and this is what prompted me to do this update. Download the podcast for October 21st when it is posted, and listen to what they have to say about the pros and cons of digital books. One thing co-host Robert Wagner spoke about is how the traditional ways are dying out, if they’re not already dead, kind of like how vinyl records were taken over by CD’s, now taken over by MP3’s. Of course as a vinyl junkie, I’m thinking “those are fighting words” but maybe that’s my elitist and defensive reaction to something I’ve dedicated my life to, even though I’m finding myself wanting to change that. I’ve been dealing with MP3’s for 15 years, have made music on a computer for 16, and embraced lossless files for 10. The benefits of vinyl are a sound issue, although I’m also able to digitize my records. I now have boxes of CD’s I no longer want, I’m happy with being able to archive them and keep them on a hard drive so I can transfer them every now and then on my iPod. Digital books are becoming the new habit, and one that I like because I’m still able to absorb that same information, it’s just a different method of doing so.
My first writing experiences were written and printed for fanzines. Today, I write for websites and blogs, but fanzines still exist. Blogs are the fanzines of the 21st century, and you would not be reading this if I stayed back in 1994 with papercuts, Liquid Paper drippings, and Scotch tape on me, creating my next issue. I have a much greater readership now than I ever did before I came online, so now there are a few more new toys to play with and I want to play.
(If anyone knows of any sites or blogs from people who are doing books using the iPad, get in contact with me, as I’d love to read them and get familiar.)