Thursday, April 10, 2008

ballard: a man of words

man, do i miss the accidental mayor blog. last night, mayor ballard gave his first state-of-the-city address, yet i'm having a hard time finding any quality analysis of the speech. the indystar article has a highly misleading headline—the mayor's suggestion that he would repeal the income tax increase was smothered under a mountain of ifs. this advance indiana post is a good start, but doesn't go far enough—it's only about the COIT increase. abdul's posts are little more than a blogospheric blowjob, as is typical whenever abdul writes about the new mayor. and jason at x-tra rant probably won't have anything on the speech, because he's already written his two blog posts this week.

so where's a guy have to go to get a good critical analysis of the mayor's speech? i suppose i could do it myself, but i was hoping to spend most of the day working on my next musical project.

anyway, while writing about mayor ballard, i feel obliged to mention this: here is an article in the star's business section about a firm called author solutions. author solutions is a self-publishing company, also called a vanity press. when a traditional publisher puts out your book, they pay you for the right to do so... and if you sell a bunch, they pay you more. with a vanity publisher, you pay them... and if you sell a bunch, you get your investment back, maybe even make a profit.

there are advantages to working this way: as an author, you can make decent money if you sell a modest number of books. so these publishers do put out some good stuff. but, because any tom, dick, or weirdo with a thousand bucks to burn can get his book published, they also put out a lot of crap—think song-poems.

with that in mind, read this quote from the star story on author solutions:

"There's not much of an appetite among mainstream publishers. They deal with known people and agents," Andy Tate said.

But "known" authors increasingly are shunning traditional deals in favor of self-publishing. Author Solutions has published books by Sen. Richard Lugar, Mayor Greg Ballard, comedian Rita Rudner and others.

that's right, the mayor's book, the ballard rules: small unit leadership, was published by author house, a subsidiary of author solutions. not that there's anything wrong with that—i'm sure he's made his money back and then some.

but here's the thing: greg ballard wasn't a "known" author when he published the book! on the contrary, back in 2005, nobody knew who the guy was. he didn't run for mayor, and thus become famous, until two full years later! portraying him as a "known" author who chose to "shun" traditional publishers isn't merely false, it's downright backward. the man ran a training program for middle managers; he was no rita rudner.

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