Thursday, March 31, 2011
Lemmings are cute, but sometimes they just don't think...
Twice a decade, these rodents have a population explosion when food is plentiful. Then, en masse, they seek new food and lodging. Their behavior isn't all that understood, but in their extreme efforts to scatter and rabidly hunt new locations to live, they drown, fall off unexpected cliffs, and run into disaster, thus depleting much of that excess population.
We are in a time of the lemming.
But we're in a horrendous economical period, you say. Well, that has nothing to do with lemming behavior. Let me explain.
1. We lemmings have an abundance of means to publish. We can publish for nothing or pay thousands to do it, but we can do it when we want to. We have traditional, self-publishing, electronic publishing, pubbing on iPads, Kindles, Androids, and anything we can hold, put a battery in, and read. The environment is lush, and we are feeding like crazy, reproducing like crazy, thrilled that we have so many avenues to throw our work into the public setting.
2. There are way more than enough of us. Worldometer shows that a million books are published annually world-wide. I think that's a very conservative number and could actually be closer to two million with the explosion of electronic publishing the end of 2010 to the present. Still...how many books do you read? While there is no absolute source, most online "authorities" estimate 8-11 books per person in the US. Put it this way, if no more books were added to your local library, how long would it take you to read what's on the shelves now?
3. We're anxious to make a move. A week doesn't go by that I don't advise someone to stop worrying about publishing and finish the dang unfininshed book. All the hand wringing, shouting and drama in the news has writers jumping around like fleas, looking for a place to land, assuming it means a book in hand. So many are thinking how to publish more than how to write. They're flustered as others are darting, advancing, slinging ebooks up on Amazon faster than seems humanly possible. They must make a move, even if it might be wrong.
But . . . just because the grass looks greener on the other side of the river (or canyon), just because others are making their move, just because others are making quick moves, doesn't mean you are ready to follow the masses. What the blogs and headlines don't tell you is this . . . a lot of lemmings are running off cliffs. Trouble is, they don't live to tell you about it. They just disappear.