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Economic Apocalypse of Publishing with Lane Heymont
The Freedman and the Pharaoh's Staff
by Lane Heymont
Heymont was born in Pennsylvania. He earned a BA in Liberal Arts with
a focus on literature and history. He also holds a double minor in
psychology and business. After college, he turned his focus back to
writing. Lane has several short stories published, one of which was
recommended for the 2012 Bram Stoker Award in short fiction.
a former slave, rescues his brother-in-law Crispus from the
Ku Klux Klan, pulling him into a world of Creole Voodoo, hatred, time
travel, and redemption. The two brothers-in-law set out to stop
Verdiss and his Klan followers from using the Pharaoh's Staff, a
magical artifact from ancient Egypt. Soon, Jeb and Crispus learn
Verdiss’ diabolical plan and discover that he is working for an
even more evil force. In the end Jeb and Crispus must stop the
eradication of an entire people and each must find redemption for his
own past sins.
flashed in Jeb’s head. Bodies burning, people tortured and
brutalized in the streets. Somehow he felt the same thoughts in
Fallon. The way his slender hand tightened around his when he’d
said the word. He imagined hatred blistering inside the boy. Maybe
the need for a father blinded him. Thank
the Lawd–that ain’t the case no more…I hope.
“Jeb. Fallon. This
way. I found a mambo a few blocks away on Laurel Street.” Crispus’s
voice broke through the crowd.
“Come on!” Fallon
pulled Jeb through the throng of people. Crispus’s voice always
sounded just beyond them, amidst the night madness of Baton Rouge.
“Where’d he go?”
Jeb tugged on Fallon’s hand, pushing aside a doughy man.
“He took a right
down Nacadian Road. Wait, Crispus!” The hideous ensemble of
vendors, farriers, knackers, and other merchants crying out their
goods seemed to drown out the boy’s call.
One moment, mayhem
wracked the market, the next it fell silent. Fallon stopped, so Jeb
did. He couldn’t move, the herd seemed to stop stampeding.
Footfalls echoed in the street. The crowd spread. Then came the heavy
clacks of soldier’s boots on the flagstones. A band of men, too
many to tell. But Jeb knew them by the procession’s
cadence–Confederate soldiers. Men clad in gray uniforms marching
through Baton Rouge. No doubt, they’d be Klansmen too. Shouts of
jubilation spread like wildfire among the townspeople.
carpetbaggers!” came a woman’s elegant voice.
“Long live the
“The South shall
rise again!” shouted a boy.
Jeb felt the panic in
Fallon’s hand, his heartbeat racing as he pulled him away. “What
general? I know that cadence like I know my field.” Jeb focused on
dodging whatever lay in his way, stumbling over garbage and bumping
Fallon stammered over
his words, “Not–not–nothing. Nathan Bedford Forrest?” He
gasped, tightening his grip on Jeb.
Somehow Jeb overcame
his instincts, keeping his head bowed. Not daring to look up in fear
that monster of a man would see him. Though blind, Jeb saw Forrest
clad in the gray Confederate officer’s uniform, adorned with
medals. He’d seen photos of him. Tall, in his fifties, a receding
hairline and a curly mane of black hair. A well-kept goatee tinged
gray like his uniform.
I can end it all.
Fight through the crowd. A single shot to the head. To hell with
being blind, I can do it. For a
moment Jeb meant it, caressing his pistol. It’d be easy. Instead,
he listened to the Ku Klux Klan founder, savior of the white race,
and ender of Reconstruction, parade along the street. Celebrated by a
throng of who knew how many people. They were closer now, close
enough for Jeb to count them. Four guards following him. Plus
Forrest, that’s five. Six shot pistol. Just enough for one miss. He
gripped his pistol. It didn’t matter that the crowd loved Forrest,
even cheered him on. Six rounds is
enough. Jeb edged his pistol free
from its holster.
There’s been this sort-of war of words, statistics, and
articles across the blogosphere and news about which form of publishing will
survive the economic apocalypse. Print or e-books? Which is more popular, which
is dying, and which is extrapolating as if it’s taking a gulp of ambrosia.
For me it’s a
moot argument. Sure, there are a lot
of articles, facts and indicators I could throw in here to try to “prove” which
is succeeding, but that’s been to death. This is about my thoughts, and
annoyance at the whole thing.
My debut novel The Freedman and the Pharaoh’s Staff was
released this past February and I often wonder which format will earn more
sales. Print or e-book? Partly, because—and mind you I’m a complete failure
when it comes to math—I wonder which I earn more royalties off of.
Most folks in
media outlets following the publishing business report declining sales in print
books. But, it seems people actually in
the publishing business profess print book’s conquest over e-books. Let me clarify,
that comes from big publishers—the big six, and those small presses large
enough to have their books stocked in brick and mortars.
It’s usually the
small presses—niche or those without actual distributors selling to stores—that
insist print is dying and e-books are the superior creature. Some go as far as
to say print will actually phase out altogether. You see where this is going?
It’s a pointless battle over the supremacy of two formats, which will never
However, I hate to admit I buy more e-books than
print. Why? For the same reason most people do—it’s more convenient. So, I see
the growth of e-books only skyrocketing, which of course, it has been. But I’m
also of the mind that print books must
survive, and that they will. There is something magical about browsing a house
lined with bound sheets of words boasting stories of all kinds. And to hold a
book in your hand, feel the soft or firm paper on your skin as you turn each
page. That will never die.
especially authors, will always want books in print. Sure, stores are closing,
sales are lacking, but print will go on. When I first held a hard copy of The Freedman and the Pharaoh’s Staff in
my hands it made me remember why print books are so wondrous. Not to mention if
any far-fetched apocalypse happens where all electronics on the earth die what
the hell would we read?
I’d like to thank Patti for letting me come on her fantastic
blog to discuss the changing facets of the publishing world.