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March 13, 2007

POD-dy Mouth
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 04:01 PM *

Two years ago, Girl On Demand started with the mission to find the unknown masterpieces lurking in the world of POD publishing. Today, she’s ending it.

The folks I have met through here (agents, editors, publishing pros, writers) have been the absolute best, and I certainly do not regret any of the time and effort I have spent here. But … I’m afraid the time has come for POD-Dy Mouth Industrial Clothing and Fine Baked Goods to close its doors. For good.
It isn’t because she didn’t find worthwhile works in among the self-published ranks, but after reading 1,600 books she’s burned out. She sketches out the varied reasons:
To begin with, this blog became something completely other than what I had originally intended. If you look at my original posts (and the survey I conducted ages ago), the majority of visitors were readers. It was supposed to open up the eyes of the reading community to untouched, unfound, and unknown books. It didn’t take long (say 7 - 8 months) for it to become a literary hideout. And I gotta tell you, the weakest group of individuals to target for reading is writers. They’re (we’re) already broke, and having (yet another) incestuous place to read about books is as useful as … whatever, it’s not useful.
Farewell, POD-dy. I recommend your archives to all.
Comments on POD-dy Mouth:
#1 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2007, 06:38 PM:

I learned as much from Girl-on-Demand as I've learned from Miss Snark, the Grumpy Old Bookman, and here. I'm sad to see her go.

If I know anything about publishing and writing and books, it's only because I've learned from giants.

#2 ::: Rich McAllister ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2007, 03:03 AM:

(please add "weird" to Spelling Reference.)

At Potlatch last weekend I ran into an Author (anonymous here because I don't remember his name) who had a fairly large inventory of novels he was not submitting on his agents' advice. His agent's theory was that publishers might buy his novels now at the same price they bought his first, but if his first (not yet published, but bought, and out "soon") does well he could sell the current novels for more money. All that sounds reasonable, but it seems that a prolific author could definintely write 4-6 novels a year while the Big Publishers could only consume 1 or 2. It seems to me that PoD could be a way for a reader like me who liked the 1 or 2 novels from that Author to get at those 3-4/yr excess novels...

#3 ::: jane ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2007, 07:52 AM:

Rich--a prolific author (I R one!)gets several or many publishers instead of waiting on their time table.

Jane Yolen

#4 ::: Will Entrekin ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2007, 11:35 AM:

Considering the question of prolificity (is that the word?):

I've heard of that issue mainly with musical artists before. Like Tori Amos, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Prince (who are all blinking at each other confusedly at the realization of being in the same sentence together): all apparently produce dozens more tracks than their labels are ever ready to print a CD of. But now, iTunes, MySpace, and digital distribution are making it so they can release tracks on their own via the Internet. Sometimes new stuff, sometimes alternate versions of fan favorites.

Sometimes, admittedly, stuff that should never be heard?

(I like hearing them, and seeing "process")

I actually recently went with PoD. I went through Lulu for a short story collection. Mainly because, after careful consideration, I realized I wasn't sure I actually fit into the short marketplace.

It's only been a couple weeks, but I've already learned from the experience.

Interestingly, I wrote to PoD-dy Mouth last week, because I thought she would be interested in the way I'm distributing content (it's kinda like iTunes. Individual downloads, some of which are free, others of which are actually viewable on iPods, all of which are viewable on portable devices).

I'm sorry she left before I got to talk further with her.

But I understand her position.

My first thought, on reading it (just before Jim posted this, in fact), was: "Oh, darn. But good for her. She gets to write more, now."

#5 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2007, 01:17 PM:

Rich - to give another example of one author with multiple publishers - Charlie Stross. Off the top of my head he currently has books out with Tor, Ace, and Golden Gryphon.

#6 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2007, 06:49 PM:

Folks might not have noticed, but POD-dy Mouth had the highest recommended rating of all listings on P&E.

#7 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2007, 01:37 PM:

It was Stewart Brand's intention, when he began publishing The Whole Earth Catalog, to do it for a while and then stop. He reasoned that someone else, following the WEC's example, would probably be doing a better job by then.

Didn't quite work out that way, and Brand and his pals were still publishing editions of the Catalog twenty years later. (I believe they have stopped now.)

Still, nothing is stopping anyone else from picking up the Girl on Demand gauntlet, and starting another site that reviews good POD books.

#8 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2007, 02:18 PM:

Rich, #2: Good catch. Done.

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