Literary Lion Chooses Lulu
Award-winning author John Edgar Wideman breaks from
the traditional publishing model to gain more control, reach new readers.
March 3, 2010 (Raleigh, N.C.) — John Edgar Wideman, a fixture of the American literary establishment and two-time winner of the prestigious Faulkner Award for fiction, has chosen to publish his latest work through Lulu, breaking from the traditional model he has used to successfully publish more than 20 other works.
Briefs, Stories for the Palm of the Mind, will be available exclusively on Lulu.com beginning March 14. It is a collection of “microstories” that unveils an original voice and structure, with storytellers who are eavesdroppers, diarists and haiku historians. Selections from the work already have been chosen for the O. Henry Prize Stories 2010 and Best African American Fiction 2010.
Wideman decided against a traditional publishing contract — and royalty advance — for Briefs because he wanted more control over the publishing process and to develop a more direct connection with his readers. He also wanted to experiment at a time when the publishing industry is undergoing more revolution than evolution.
“I’ve been thinking about alternatives for a long time,” said Wideman, whose works of fiction and non-fiction include the award-winning Brothers and Keepers, Philadelphia Fire and Fanon. “Lulu seems to represent a very live possibility as the publishing industry mutates. I like the idea of being in charge. I have more control over what happens to my book. And I have more control over whom I reach.
“I have a very personal distaste for the blockbuster syndrome,” Wideman continued. “The blockbuster syndrome is a feature of our social landscape that has gotten out of hand. Unless you become a blockbuster, your book disappears quickly. It becomes not only publish or perish, but sell or perish.”
Wideman, who is also making several backlist titles available on Lulu, is the first client of a new Lulu VIP service that is highly customizable and takes care of most pre- and post-production work, including design, media outreach and marketing. The service is the latest addition to Lulu’s open publishing solution and reflects the company’s commitment to helping anyone — from amateur authors to experienced ones, and traditional publishers to upstart businesses — reach the world and profit.
“We welcome John Edgar Wideman to the Lulu community,” said Bob Young, Lulu’s Founder and CEO. “More and more, content creators big and small are seeking a next generation publishing solution, and they’re finding success at Lulu.”
For more information about Wideman or his new work, Briefs, visit www.lulu.com/johnedgarwideman. The book will be featured at exclusive events in New York and Los Angeles on March 14 and March 21, respectively, produced by WordTheatre. For information about those events, visit www.wordtheatre.com.