Rest In Peace, Createspace
TURN ON THE CLUBHOUSE reading lamp. Adjust it just-so and light up the dozens of books in the old rough-cut oaken bookcase. On the third shelf, far right, you may see my eight books: three novels, and five collections of essays, short stories, and poems. All are self-published though Createspace, the online publishing house that welcomed my work after major publishing companies and literary agencies declined to put in print the genres in which I write: stories about the blood sports, and novels that are character-driven, male-market adventure tales.
Createspace is going out of business, subsumed by (or consumed by) Kindle Direct Publishing. Reading the announcement of the demise of Createspace was, for me, a melancholy moment, a time of sadness and loss similar to the day I learned of the death of a baseball coach of my youth, a man who had given me opportunity to play when others told me, “you’re too small.” If it were not for Little League Coach Mel Waples, I might never have played on four league championship teams and two all-star teams. If it were not for online publishing house Createspace, I might never have seen in print Hunting Birds, Ivory and Gold, The Executioner’s Face, Crazy Old Coot, Old Coots Never Forget, Coot Stews, A Limit of Coot, and North Country Tales.
The literary world would not have suffered grievously had those books never been published, but I like to think that a few thousand readers of that niche enjoy these stories that speak to their enchantment with and affection for a way of life, and an era of America’s history and culture, that is fast disappearing. The telling of those tales was reaffirming and cathartic for me, too.
Although I will continue writing as long as I can hold a pen point steady on a sheet of lined paper, and I will find a self-publishing house that will agree to print my words in hard copy, I regret the passing of Createspace, a firm which was true to its slogan “Publish your words, your way.” For my first book, Hunting Birds, I struggled mightily to achieve that goal because my learning curve for online applications is ragged, interrupted by frequent peaks and valleys. Mostly valleys. But the Createspace staff coached me through that initial adventure, and the seven subsequent books were uploaded, formatted, edited, proofed, and printed with a minimum of fuss and angst.
Curmudgeon that I am, I question whether my publishing experiences with the next firm will proceed as smoothly and with as much cheerful cooperation. The capitalist world is Darwinian; I admit that, but I don’t have to like it. I never wanted those beautiful Louisville Slugger wooden baseball bats replaced by ugly aluminum cudgels, the exciting “crack!” of horsehide against ash replaced by an annoying metallic “ping.” And I don’t want my Createspace team replaced by a robot. I’ve already dealt with Kindle Direct Publishing’s form of customer service which consists of a robot’s response: “From the list below, choose the topic which describes your problem.”
Nostalgia is not on the robot’s drop-down list, and that’s my problem.
There’s no going back. But going forward does not necessarily mean going upward. I’ll hope for good publishing experiences ahead, but I regret my days with Createspace have ended.
Rest In Peace, Createspace. You were there to offer support and reassurance when my writer’s neurosis most needed help. I will miss you. I will never forget you.
More stories about life in the North Country are published in collections of essays and novels, all available through Amazon.com at Jerry Johnson Author Page