Anyone who's taken the time to look will see all of my work is published by Halogen Press. I know the Editor-in-Chief there very intimately. In fact, I even sleep with him.

Now, before I give my wife cause for concern, I should point out that I am the Editor-in-Chief as well as the CEO, CFO, Lead Designer and the dorky guy who empties the wastebaskets every night. Halogen Press is a company I own and operate for the purpose of publishing my work. If asked, I would consider taking on other clients, but for now I'm the only one.

I admit it. I'm self-published. Or rather, as the fashion du jour would have it, I am an indie author. An indie. I point this out because I recently saw something that stuck a burr in my britches and I've been trying to get it out. I've known about the burr for years now, but it's usually on the ground at my feet where it doesn't bother me. Every so often, someone who doesn't know any better comes along and picks up the burr and decides to shove it in my back pocket, way down into the bottom seam where it sticks into the fabric and jabs me in my rather meaty butt every few minutes to remind me I'm alive.

About a week ago, I popped on over to Netflix to do a nightly session of "10 and 10" (more on that in next week's post) and I decided to watch a movie called "Authors Anonymous". On the whole, it wasn't very good, but the acting was commendable considering the weak script. Basically, the movie deals with a group of stereotypical oddballs who are in a writing group. One day, one of the oddballs (the lovely Kaley Cuoco) hits it big and nabs a bona fide agent and publishing contract (as well as a movie deal). Naturally, being the pack of selfish jackwagons they are, the rest of the group turn on her and one another in mildly amusing, though tedious, fashion. Now, while most of the movie will make real-world indies roll their eyes at the dumbed-down interpretation of their lives (and giggle at the surprisingly accurate portrayal of people who think they can write, but just can't), one scene is sure to make those same folks boil-over with indignation.

A character named John K. Butzin (played very well by the late Dennis Farina) decides to one-up our heroine by contacting a Chinese vanity publisher "U R the Publisher" and getting his book into printed form first. Now, this is a reasonable behavior considering he is insufferably full of himself and painfully unaware that his writing is the literary equivalent to William Hung. However, at the moment he tells the group of his decision to go with "U R the Publisher", he is met with a tsunami of contrived smiles and groans of "eeew...self-published..."

In a word, this is crap. What John K. Butzin did was publish through a VANITY publisher, which is as far from self-publishing as Cocoa Krispies is from Amedei Chocolate. And it's doubly crap because most every writer serious about his work would know the difference, including the celluloid bunglers of "Authors Anonymous".

A vanity publisher is a firm to which you pay a bunch of money (a bunch...did I mention a BUNCH?) upfront to perform the necessary tasks needed to get a manuscript into finished, readable form. Vanity Publishers have zero (zero...did I mention ZERO?) incentive to sell your book because they already have your money.Vanities don't really care about content, editing, artwork or anything important.Consequently, the vast majority of vanity-published works are neatly printed poo and nothing more. They satisfy the ego (hence the name 'vanity') of the writer and little else. I won't go so far to say they are scams because they generally make it clear they are selling gullible dopes a slice of blue sky. If you're a gullible dope, that's not U R the Publisher's fault.

Self-publishing on the other hand, is an honorable and worthwhile pursuit for anyone willing to do the work. Sure, you can hire specialists to design cover-art or edit your final draft and that will cost you money, but you have total control over what happens and when. And, unlike a vanity press, you are absolutely committed to selling your work. Publishing through one of the "Big-5" publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, & Simon and Schuster) is often referred to as Traditional or trad-publishing, but many people never stop to think that most literature was self-published prior to a hundred years ago and is more accurately described as traditional. Hollywood is partly responsible for this perpetuation by constantly shoving the cliche of the struggling-author-and-his-rejection-slips-pasted-on-the-wall in our faces. Go to Amazon and buy a book I've written. You'll get it in the mail just as you would anything written by Koontz or Clancy or King or Garwood. It will look just as finished and it will be just as free of errors because I spent countless hours and dozens of drafts to get it right. My eBooks are just are good too and are generally less expensive than their Big-5 cousins.

And another thing...physical copies of my books are POD. POD-printing is a method of self-publishing that causes consternation in hipster coffee-house authors (mostly because they are idiots). POD stands for Print-On-Demand. Basically, when someone orders a book, a single copy is printed and made right then and there. This is not the cheapest method, but it is the most efficient method when you're only selling a few physical copies at a time. POD-printing in no way reflects on the quality of my work or anyone else's. And as technology develops, POD printing may very well become as economically efficient as bulk-printing...so the Starbucks knuckleheads can stick it up their collective ventis.

Anyway. I hope everyone has a great week.