Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What Goes Around

A Timeline of Publisher Evolution

1450: Gutenberg invents movable type, which allows the Holy Bible to be massed produced in Germany. Jesus heard weeping.

1834: The world's oldest continuously published magazine releases its first issue, which contains the first hatchet job of The Pilgrims of the Rhine by Edward Bulwer-Lytton.

1864: The telegraph is used to send out unsolicited SPAM for the first time, reported to be an ardent plea for the public to buy Jules Verne's latest novel or the author may have to get a day job.

1896: A prominent American university publishes its first independent student newspaper, which it calls a news-letter. Slipped in among the medical articles is a bootlegged copy of the first chapter of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard.

1922: Radio advertising begins. Publishing decides to hold out for NPR to be conceived so it can pimp obscure literary authors on Fresh Air.

1941: Television advertising begins. Publishing can't afford it.

1950: Telemarketing begins. Publishing can't afford that, either.

1970: E-commerce begins. Publishing perks up.

1971: The Gutenberg Project gives birth to the e-book. Publishing believes no one will ever read an electronic book and yawns.

1980: Computerized SPAM begins. Publishing thinks, "Well, if we're not seen doing it directly . . . "

1984: Guerrilla marketing begins. Publishing misreads the announcement and does nothing because it can't figure out how to connect gorillas with books.

1985: Desktop Publishing begins. Publishing grows vaguely suspicious.

1994: First weblogs appear on the internet. Publishing thinks, "Hey, authors could do some of those . . . "

2000: Tired of trying to keep up with the changing technology, Publishing decides authors should do more self-promotion.

A Timeline of Author Evolution

2000: Authors begin keeping regularly-updated web sites.

2004: Authors begin keeping daily weblogs along with maintaining their web sites.

2005: Authors begin sending out monthly newsletters along with maintaining their daily weblogs and usually-updated web sites.

2006: Authors begin keeping daily MySpace pages along with sending out monthly newsletters and maintaining their weblogs three times a week and occasionally updating their web sites.

2007: Authors begin keeping Facebook pages along with sending out monthly newsletters every couple of months and maintaining their MySpace pages when they feel like it while making excuses on their weblogs for not updating them and crashing their web sites because they forgot the codes and stuff to use while updating them.

2008: Authors begin releasing free e-books while sending out monthly newsletters twice a year and forgetting to maintain their Facebook and MySpace pages while letting their weblogs and web sites go static.

2009: Most authors begin keeping Twitter accounts with hourly updates, in which they bitch about each other, the free e-books they're supposed to be writing, the monthly newsletters they haven't sent out since 2008, and the idiots who have hacked their Facebook and MySpace accounts. Some recall they once had weblogs and web sites but can't remember the URLs anymore.

2010: Most authors collectively collapse from a mysterious form of mental exhaustion combined with an irrational, hysterical fear of technology that makes them incapable of using computers or cell phones. Disorder is nicknamed "Selfpromophobia" and appears to be incurable.

The Future Timeline of Publishing:

2011: In a surprise move, the Amish purchase all of the now-bankrupt major publishing houses, install Gutenberg presses and begin forcing their new employees to shut up and print only plain, utilitarian copies of the Holy Bible in the colloquial form of German only the Amish can read. They hire unemployed authors to work in their warehouses packing boxes.


  1. That's hilarious! I think I already suffer that mysterious phobia of technology =D

  2. I hope the future of publishing is a little more cheerful than that, but then again, I have an Aztec calendar in my kitchen which says the world ends in 2012.

  3. Anonymous8:13 AM

    LMAO. Okay, so the Amish are going to take over the world? Are they baking for us? If so...I might be okay with that.

  4. I definitely have developed a phobia of some sort. I'm definitely down (or up) with the Amish taking over. They probably want revenge for the Amish romances.

  5. ROFL! I'm feeling self-promotion hysteria, and I'm not published in fiction yet. My non-fiction promotion has the hiccoughs!

  6. An uncanny prediction of the future, to be sure.

    Seriously, I'm unpublished, haven't even tried yet, but I'm amazed at what some of you authors do on top of, you know, writing your books. It just keeps getting crazier.


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