By Steve Weddle
As the Philip Glass song goes, "These are the days, my friend."
The folks at Tyrus know it:
We all know it.
Sure, if you're a writer, Janet Evanovich has probably taken all your money, but who cares?
You remember a million years ago when James Joyce would publish his books out of Shakespeare and Company? Now that was an indie press. Small press runs. Word of mouth. Buy some whiskey for a writer and you're hanging out all night? The more things change...
So the publishing world is collapsing. Alright. TV is still killing radio. The internet has shut down all newspapers. According to Wired magazine's website, the web is dead. Er, yeah.
Here's where we are now. Writers can interact more directly with the readers. Good for some, crap for others. Don't want to interact with your readers? Fine. Stay off twitter. Move to the woods, grow old writing letters to teenage girls and drinking your own pee. Fine.
But if you want to interact, you can. If you want to muck about, you can.
I'd wager the "publishing world" or "writing world" or whathaveya is much more open today. If I want to contact a writer I admire, I search online and within 10 seconds I'm emailing the author. (Sorry, Richard Powers. And yes, I understand what your attorney said. Though, you know, seriously, if I could just explain how you and I think exactly alike, you know, like how I totally get what you're trying to do, you know, then I think you'd understand.)
So on Saturday night, the folks at Tyrus start spreading the word about Bill Cameron. The next day Bill posts pix of himself eating pig. Honestly, can you imagine Hemingway tweeting from a fishing spot? I'm sure there's been a goofy Hemingway tweet meme already, but that's kinda the point, ain't it? This community of readers and writers. Not just the book readings in which you go to a bookstore, sit down for a bit and listen, then get a book signed and leave. No, you can interact with some of your favorites. I dunno, I just think that's pretty cool.
And you can get things done over the internet, the sort of thing you never could have accomplished 10 years ago.
The summer issue of NEEDLE just came out and you find out right away how people enjoy your story. Sites such as DBK have even started looking at short stories only. Can you imagine a magazine coming out that reviews short stories? Me neither. The lead-time would be a killer. Online works, though.
This issue of NEEDLE includes work from Ray Banks, Nolan Knight, John Stickney, Frank Bill, Julie Summerell, Nigel Bird, Sarah Weinman, Allan Leverone, Chris F. Holm, David Cranmer, Stephen Blackmoore and Mike Sheeter.
And Mike Sheeter was just featured over at Jedidiah Ayres's web site. And, in addition to having a fantastic novella in the first issue of Needle, Ayres has a stellar piece in PWG. And PWG is run by Neil Smith, who had some great work published by Bleak House Books, whose brains went on to form Tyrus Books, the folks who said how cool these days are.
Five degrees of Kevin Bacon, nothing. Oh, and speaking of Bacon, that's exactly what started this whole thing off in the first place. Tyrus Books asking what Bill Cameron had stuffed his face with. And readers responded. Because that's what readers do. They read. They respond. But these are great days, my friend. Because writers are responding, too.
Tell ya what, share an online connection about how cool these days are and I'll draw names and send someone a copy of NEEDLE's summer issue. Deal?