Rich Shapero is a former venture capitalist with entirely too much money on his hands and a sick desire to royally piss off those talented authors who legitimately desire to buck the endangered gatekeepers in order to traverse the route of self-publishing (whether through e-books or in general). Not finding many takers for his book Wild Animus--a story about his life--Shapero has taken matters into his own hands and pocketbook. Singlehandedly, he's launched his own publishing company, appropriately dubbed Too Far, where he's printed off several thousand books for distribution. Now, if Mr. Shapero were to have stopped there then, despite Wild Animus' piss-poor reviews, he may have been able to garner the support of those authors who don't believe agents are necessary. But no, oh no, he didn't stop there. The books are printed, so what else does he need? Why a way to get the word out about it, of course. And what's the best way to get the word out? Why to hire actors to dress up as rams and parade around like a bunch of idiots to market your efforts, of course. Now why didn't the classical authors of yesteryear think of that? I mean, just think of how much more successful Jack London's The Call of the Wild would have been if he'd hired a gang of Saint Bernards to maul the heck out of unsuspecting readers.
For many people, Shapero's antics are amusing, perhaps somewhat comical. In fact, there will be people who purchase his book based solely upon its negative press and the desire to take part in a literary trainwreck. For us more serious authors, however, people like Mr. Shapero are the bane of our existence. They are the reason why this industry is a closed one; why agents and publishers are afraid to take a chance on new, unpublished authors. This is also exactly why new authors who choose to publish their works on e-readers may not find the success they crave. Mr. Shapero has opened up a Pandora's Box of stupidity which will inevitably call others like him to action invariably creating a domino effect that will only serve to topple new authors in the views of society.
It would be a completely different scenario if Mr Shapero had the talent to go along with his wallet, but, if the reviews have any grain of truth to them, that's not the case either (although one person's crap may be another person's Twilight). Indeed, Mr. Shapero has gone too far.
One highlight in the article--blink and you'll miss it-- is the following excerpt:
"Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Jeffrey Marx's book was turned down by a half-dozen publishers. He self-published the work, called "Season of Life," about a former professional football player turned minister. After he sold 14,000 copies out of his car and home, the book was picked up by Simon & Schuster. It was No. 10 on last week's New York Times nonfiction best-seller list."
This is a classic example of why e-publishing is currently such a huge success. A Pulitzer Prize winning reporter can't get published conventionally yet Snookie from The Jersey Shore had no problems landing a book deal. What the F***.