Wednesday, December 20, 2006

POD Post. Skip if you're bored with the topic.

Since starting this blog, I've been insulted in many, many ways. I've been called incompetent, immoral, and lazy. I've been labeled as "too young" (because 25-year-olds halfway through their graduate degree in fiction are definitely too young to be reading whole pages of words), "untrained" (because there's a school for reading query letters), and a "virgin" (okay, that one's true). My spelling is bad (because there's no such thing as typos on the internet, especially during late-night posts). I've sold my soul to the publishing industry because I enjoy butter (actually, like any good Jewish girl, it's cream cheese with dairy and margarine with meat. Haha! I ruined your metaphor!).

I'm sure it's a coincidence that roughly 99.999981% of the people lodging these complaints admit to being writers with unsellable POD books. In the brief moments where clarity hits me, I try to stifle my laughter. Then I go back to quietly holding back the obvious comment here. As everyone knows, if you couldn't sell your coming-of-age yarn to any publishing house because all 100 of the agents you queried rejected you for some reason with a form letter, this is a sure sign of your unqualified genius. I also work at all 100 of these agencies thanks to my wayback machine, so clearly I'm entirely to blame. It was not 100 people independently making the decision that your work sucked, or was at the very least not marketable. And what do they know? All they do is analyze, edit, and sell novels for a living. That's not any kind of professional qualification! Fortunately you read this one article on this one place online about how the publishing industry is totally corrupt and the article validated all of your beliefs. You were not a fool for giving iUniverse $300 for like 25 copies of your novel. Someday, when all of the great houses of publishing are torn down by the independent thinks of the internet, your buddy list will replace the people on those committees and your Pulitzer will be in the mail. Thank you, interweb!

And now we come to the subject of Meika. I have to say, I've never met a guy like Meika. He's an old-fashioned good sport. He puts his work on my blog to be torn to shreds, and even after I make comments and then even a post where I outright insult him and tell him to stop writing, he emails me politely and praises my blog. Talk about rolling with the punches. Meika, you are a great guy. Your incomprehensible writing has been amusing to many of us, but when it comes right down to it, you're just a nice guy. Also, thanks for giving me permission to post the rant you sent to me and also posted on someone else's blog.

What's important with the new techonologies of the web, it's not that
filtering is not needed, for it's more needed than ever.

What is important is that the slushpile (the entire web?) is available to all who enquire. If large Publishing houses only recruit slush readers from certain universities then it is only they who benefit from the slushpile experience.

I don't know where this rumor got started that agencies and publishing houses go over to the IVY league schools and recruit people. Generally the entry-level people are a bunch of people with BAs in useless things like English or History (I was History) who spent a year slacking off before realizing they might need to do something with their lives or their parents would take away their PS2, so they went out and applied to stuff on Craigslist and got an unpaid internship somewhere. You know, like basically everyone else who graduates from college in almost any field that's not pre-med. Yes, there are internships for students, and for obvious reasons, these internships are handed out mainly to students who go to school in Manhattan, because, well, the office is in Manhattan. I know some Columbia interns, some NYU interns, someone from Hunter College. It's all location.

And then get snarky on the nitwits who end up heading for the slushpile, mostly because they have no experience there.

See, if you try and connect this sentence with the previous ones that he wrote, it implies that the nitwits who read the slushpile are making fun of the nitwits who are reading the slush pile, both of whom are by association the same person, then we all are just insulting ourselves and we all don't have experience doing the thing we're doing, even though we're doing it and getting experience.

This may or may not result in guild like
restrictions on entry into the trade. Not having been there I do not

Actually, if you join the AAR, you get a discount at the merchant's guild, the mercenary guild, and 20% off potions at the Mage's guild, and man are those potions expensive. Can a sister get a life potion here? Now? My elf friend is dying!

Now, the slushpile contains mistakes, its the process of rejecting
these that leads to the production of better work. In fact it is the
rejection more than selection that creates all our cultural
artifacts. (My very special philosophy is the life work of Mary
Douglas, so its not my personal one, mmmkay)

??? No, seriously, that's my whole response.

With the web its 'availability' of the slushpile, the juvenilia
(cough cough) and the cranks which changes the whole show. Not the
crap itself. This availability will directly affect the means of
production, which in publishing is actually publicity and control of
the author's name (brand).

I've made several reads through this and what I think he's trying to say is that if everyone just publishes everything all the time using the internet, we will realize that a lot of people are crappy writers and make decisions for ourselves. That or we will all become communists. Either one.

Now that more people can pick and choose and critique from the slush
there can be more approaches, more editing, and more conversations,
like this one. This conversation on this blog is part of the evidence
in support of my very special thesis. That is what other have said
about Web 2, I am merely applying it in the area of books and
writing, which appear to have the most hidebound voices in the arts.
(I'll return to that in response to self promotion).

Yes, there is something "very special" about your thesis.

I am not saying that therefore everyone should do this, nor am I
saying that this magically makes everyone good, nor even interesting,
but things have changed. The publishing houses have lost control of the slushpile.

I know! It just grew and grew and now it's actually gained self-awareness and lobbied for its own desk and zip code. As soon as it reaches the side of the room with the computer, we're all doomed. John Connor, save us!

And books like my "Doric Column" of old juvenilia will pop up before the
solution of an arch is arrived at. My book is not the solution, its
part of the conversation that will find solutions.

??? Not the grandstanding; the part about the arch. Does it have something to do with columns? Is this an architectural argument?

Indeed I have used this little gem of insight into the new domain to
structure my SF book .before Country. It takes place on a world
called Country built out of a slushpile of manuscripts, mostly pre-
Raphaelite, and earnest Hippies' blogs wishing to go back to nature.
I used to think of it as a library but the slushpile metaphor works a
lot better. Why use this? Perhaps because real life is more like a slushpile than
great literature.

Yes, that is true. Real life is actually quite boring and poorly-planned, without proper climaxes and conclusions to storylines. You're better off with the great literature.

But they are also near the publishers because audiences don't want to be the filters. True, Yes, yea verily.

Meika, I love you. That said, you are an insane person.

This is indeed true, and will continue to be true even as it changes (as been described above). I am not saying everyone will like it, and the process itself actually relies on what people 'do not like', so it obviously is going to take a while. Many do not like change.

Many people also don't like reading bad fiction. I think this is where my job comes in, to actually keep people from having to do that. Or am I just arguing semantics?

Also, after my recent experience on the interslush I may discover I am a better editor (or something) than a writer with a photoshop filter dodge-burning German sentence structure into my bipolar-narcissitic poetic style. (Say, that means I am likely just a second rate Nietzsche).

I think you would do well in an MFA program. By the way, that was an insult. On you or MFA programs? You decide.

The web is a mass of opportunities, simply restating past processes and past succesful models (and I do not disagree with their success, nor do I think they are evil or something) in the face of the change does not mean that change will not occur (or be evil or something). Self-Promotion Publishers promote. They generate publicity. They make things public. This completes the writing circle and completes the craft. (That slushpile is the key there).

Can you draw out this circle? Or make a flowcart or something? Because I'm a little confused here.

Self-publishers must also promote, thus as they are promoting themselves. They will be guilty of self-promotion. Case closed.

I hated that anime. You saw one episode, you saw them all. It was so formulaic. And how was Conan always just finding bodies everywhere? Tokyo must have an insanely high murder rate. Plus there was that creepy episode where the dentist drugged the kid so that she could commit a murder while she was asleep and have a perfect alibi...

[more cut for time and my sanity]

Now, even if I am crap, and no doubt about it, consensus here is near universal (never a good sign if your part of the herd by the way) if any part of my self-promotion helps create that culture for writers, then I have done a good thing. And that is why I posted at the rejector, not becuase I thought my crank writing are/were good, but because the new processes are going to slowly dissolve the publishing houses current methods.

"Send editors nothing, I say, and agents less."

"Something something something ... poor, huddled masses, yearing to breathe free ... something something ... et tu, Brute?" I'm not good at rote memorization. I'm glad I don't live in Qing Dynasty China.

Reclaim the slush!

You know what? You can have it.

Otherwise you'll just drown in your own shit and you'll never get better unless someone picks you out of it. Its a predicament and self-promotion is an act of agency rather than, yet again, choosing to be a victim. Get used to it.

Dude, she was not a victim. She totally led that rejection pile on, what with her clothing and her hair and those high heels and the I-don't-know-what's...

Kids these days! Honestly!


Laura K. Curtis said...

You know, I thought the writing in some of the Crapometer entries over at Miss Snark was bad. But if this is the way the person writes in anything s/he's ever sent to an agent, it's no wonder s/he resorted to self-publishing.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, Ms. Rejector, at first I laughed then I became concerned, and then I got scared. This person is so incoherent and so "out there" that unless he were on some very strong, illegal drugs, I wouldn't give him a venue to showcase his schizo-behavior.


Now that would make a great plot.

Meika lurks inside her screen, hiding behind the icons. His psycho yet refined fingers control Ms. Rejector's keyboard--she loses the power to publish. No longer able to publish works of literary genius, she will only publish purple prose (gasp!)
The world is in turmoil, thousands of POD publishers are brought to their financial knees. How can they afford a Christmas Party this year?
Never fear, Superwriter is here. Superwriter incarcerates Meika and his hacks into the slushpile for eternity and Ms. Rejector is safe (and maybe nicer this time around since a writer saved her ass).

Want a query?

Sean Lindsay said...

The Doric colums reference is from this post by Meika at 101 Reasons:

I am not using the old style methods for writing/editing/publishing, now don't get me wrong, Doric Columns are beautiful and as an interpretation of upended tree trunks can be quite a good solution when building impressive homesteads in a slave economy, but the real and neat architectural solution is is not the capital and the column, but the keystone and the arch.

I was tempted recently to ask Meika to explain, in plain English, exactly how he thinks Web 2.0 will change publishing. But I think this is as close as we're ever going to get.

meika said...


some background
you all

they explain the architecture better than me (columns predate the arch folks, its a masonic thing...)

and merry solstice thingo to you all

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for Meika. :( You guys are mean. Maybe he wrote crap, but who hasn't? it's not like he killed someone. Rejecter could have quietly deleted his posts. She's supposed to be "rejecter" not "insulter". On the other hand if as she implies, his writing is so bad it's entertaining, maybe he should be published for the same reasons someone published this guy.

A betterment worker said...

Meika -

Do me a favor and don't reference my words in a half-assed attempt to support your rambling points. If you cannot easily articulate your own position for yourself, then you should not be arguing.

Further, if you go back and read everything that I have written (and not just those parts that you happen to agree with), you will see that you are not acting credibly in any way, shape or form. Once you step away from the credibility, you have become nothing more than another ranting crazy person on the internet and there is nothing that I can do for you.

Anonymous said...

Meika has the starring role in a blockbuster movie that is playing only in his head. His biggest problem is he thinks everyone else is watching it too. That's what I get from his writing. The coherent parts anyway.

Anonymous said...

Meika has the starring role in a blockbuster movie that is playing only in his head. His biggest problem is he thinks everyone else is watching it too. That's what I get from his writing. The coherent parts anyway.

ORION said...

Meika- I also think the whole thing is a hoot!
Rejector I thoroughly enjoyed this debate - your writing is too fun to read!
Ultimately, IMHO, the beauty of the internet is that we are privy to these exchanges.
Who is right?
It doesn't matter.
Because what will happen will happen...
As a reader I will stop reading when I am bored or don't get it.
As a writer I write stories that I would want to read - but I can't find them.
As an author (soon- conventionally with agent and reputable publisher in Aug '07) I hope many people will read my novel BUT happen they don't?
Well, to each his own.
I will end with that.

Anonymous said...

I think my eyes are bleeding. But they are bleeding through my laughter. Dude, that was seriously funny. And I didn't understand one word of his argument.

Meika is like Glen Close's character in Fatal Attraction. He takes somewhat normal gestures of politeness and concern as support for his crazy ass ideas, and outright insults as constructive criticism. Makes me want to pat him on the head while clucking my tongue.

Anonymous said...

I thik that Meika's writing is supposed to be read backwards.

Kanani said...

Well, this isn't about that rant.

But, I just wanted to say that I've always hung out with older people, have always been in situations or jobs where usually I was the youngest.

And I'm still doing it, and I"m in my 40's.

So don't mind the people who use your age against you. Treat everyone with respect, show them your listening skills, your compassion and flexibility and you'll rise wherever you go.

Anonymous said...

I've been following this with the interest only an unpublished writer can. After listening to the POD camp on various sites I think I understand where they're coming from.

They think the publishing industry exists to publish their work. It doesn't. The publishing industry exists to extract dollars from readers. The late Poul Anderson said that writers were in competition for the reader's beer money.

If someone goes into the situation thinking they deserve publication, they've already missed the boat. It's not about the writer it's about the writing. Agents and publishers reject writing, not writers and they do it because they don't think they can make money from it.

It all comes down to the dollar and this is why the current model works better than the POD based alternatives. They have demonstrated they are not as good at extracting dollars. It's not about reasons, it's about results.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think part of the problem is a bit of confusion about the terms "POD," "self-publish," and "slushpile."

Not on your part, though, dear Rejecter.

POD is a technology. It can be good (keeping out-of-print books available, publishing niche interest books in the absence of storage). It can be bad (used to print up copies of things that should never have been books).

Self-publishing has a long and beautiful history (think Hogarth Press), as well as a whole bunch of unadulterated crap printed up at their own expense by people who shouldn't be writing. It's also what some people do on the Web, which is why our friend Meika is so confoozled.

And the slushpile is what agents and agents' assistants, as well as editors and editors' assistants, wade through daily: It consists of unsolicited submissions of manuscripts and/or unsolicited queries. It is not, as Meika seems to believe, a great mass of "published" (either self- or Web-) material.

It's the wannabe stack.

And frankly, part of the reason I got so irate about Meika and his "work" is because it reflects the disrespect given writing by the culture.

I wrote a short arts feature about some local writers who had used POD vanity presses to publish their books, thinking it was an unusual choice. I have since discovered that a whole boatload of people who think stringing a bunch of sentence together makes them "writers" have done the same, under the delusion that having something shaped like a book in their hands makes them an "author."

How is it disrespectful? It ignores the audience.

A writer without an audience is a wannabe writer. It's just that simple.

There are a great many of us who have devoted our lives to writing, literacy and literature--and certainly without getting paid very well for it--who find it offensive to have the hard work, discipline and training it takes to actually write something worth reading treated as if just anyone could do it.

The reason we have agents is because most writers would rather write than sell. The reason we have editors is because most writers would rather write than edit. The reason we have publishers, publicists, marketers, etc., is because if we did all that ourselves we wouldn't have time to write.

The laborer is worthy of his hire.

Creativity is cheap. Talented people are a dime a dozen. People who do the work of writing something worth reading--well, now, as Meika has reminded me, those folks are rare. I'll continue to treasure them, and keep combing the slushpile, reading the promos from publishers and giving the review copies one chapter so that I can find them.

BTW, Rejecter, thanks for leading me over to 101 Reasons to Stop Writing. It's turned out to be a hoot.

Kel Munger

Anonymous said...

This just in from the Small World Department:

I nearly choked when I saw the link anonymous posted to The Eye of Argon. Not because I knew such a thing existed--I didn't--but because it turns out I went to college and worked on the school paper with the writer of said masterpiece. I didn't know him all that WELL, but I knew him. He was a few years ahead of me.

He was pushing thirty then, no longer sixteen, and wrote competent-enough news stories. Nothing award-winning or earthshaking, but adequate. Never saw any of his fiction, though, which is another beast altogether...

So perhaps there is hope for even the most seemingly hopeless. Of course, Jim worked very hard on his writing when he was on the paper. Took it very seriously, much more so than us moronic teenagers. I'm guessing this professional attitude (as well as the brutal editing process we endured in the newspaper biz) helped him improve tremendously. But criticism only helps you if you decide to LEARN from it, huh?

I was a bit sad to read that he died a few years back, while Argon lives on. Lord, please spare me any of *my* teenaged dreck coming back to haunt me....

Anonymous said...

Dave Robinson, your comments about the role of money in publishing are interesting. Right now, people in publishing tend to say that even though the bottom line is what the industry's about, they went into the industry because of a love of books, and they wish they could give greater weight to the artistic side. Some come right out and say that they're willing to float a few books that won't make money but are too good not to publish. I wonder if, with the growth of self-publishing, this rationale will fade. If it's possible to put out niche literature in a respectable form without dipping into publishers' pockets, why waste house resources on it? We may see an even more divided publishing world, with big publishers who put out only popular, big-money books, and literary fiction relegated to small publishers and PoD.

Anonymous said...

Meika is the new William Hung. Congrats.

Anonymous said...

My only concern, after reading the longest post I've ever read in my entire life Ms. Rejector, is that you're 25 and still a virgin. Please tell me it's a moral decision on your part. And while we're at it: you need to meet a nice Jewish boy and settle down. (Your mom told me to tell you that, by the way.) You're much too funny and smart to be alone.

xo a fan of the blog

The Rejecter said...

It was a religious decision. That and my crippling fear of intimacy.

Anonymous said...

It is necessary to separate the digital technology of on demand printing from the vanity houses like AuthorHouse, IUniverse and the like. On demand printing ought to be the savior of literature. All those small books which publishers can't keep in print because of tax ramifications and wharehousing costs are immediately solved. Plus, you keep enough of them in print and you start to get "long tail" profits. Not so good financially for the writers although they gain the cultural capital of having their books always in print.

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The Rejecter said...

Anonymous, you are not funny. Shut up or I will switch this blog over to a comment approval system.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Rejecter said...

I'm now switching it over to a comments-approval system. Thanks, anonymous, for ruining my day and everyone's fun.

Anonymous said...

About "anonymous..." You can't just block a given IP? I'd assume that's possible somehow, but I confess total ignorance on blog technology.

Anyway, kudos to the latest entry - I confess I skipped over the quotes from Meika, and just read your clever responses.

One does have to appreciate the irony of a blogger who uses the internet to expose her own fear of intimacy. What a tangled web we weave! :D

Anonymous said...

Rejector, don't let Anonymous get to you. Unfortunately, in cyberspace as well as the "real" world, we'll never run out of @ssholes.

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to think that Meika doesn't really exist and that he is actually a character in someone's (soon to be released) comic novel. This is all just a brilliant case of geurilla marketing.

Another Ignatius J. Reilly for the ages?

Rashenbo said...

Hahahahah, this has to be a highlight of 2006... right? It's one of those accidents that as you drive by you know you shouldn't look... but you just can't keep your eyes off it! :D

Unknown said...

As funny as I think this is, this is having the unfortunate effect of encouraging Meika. He really, really doesn't get it, I don't think. He won't get it. No matter how often, or how articulately you explain it, he still won't get it.

My greatest fear is that he'll actually profit from all of this in some way. Fortunately for all of us his work is unadulterated dreck, and obviously so (to everyone BUT Meika.) so no one will mistake it for anything but.

none said...

Play nicely with the POD people, folks. Otherwise they'll put you in their next non-seller.

Kim said...

Anonymous the spoiler -

Are you so pathetic that you have nothing better to do than jerk Ms Rejector around and try to ruin things for the rest of us who enjoy reading this? You need to get a life and you need to grow a set of balls and identify yourself if you're going to be such a jerk.


As for Ms Rejector - don't let him/her get to you. I, for one, have enjoyed what I've read (even when I've argued with other posters) and I agree that Meika is obviously a sadist (or is it masochist? I can never remember which is which). But he's an entertaining sadist (or masochist) and the last few posts have been fun to read.

Anonymous said...

To Mean Anonymous:

Don't bother running downstairs on Christmas morning to check your stocking. I guarantee there will be nothing but a hunk of coal.

And you deserve it!

Anonymous said...

Between late autumn 1968 and the summer of 1969, a failed English inventor named Donald Crowhurst attempted to sail a trimaran around the world single-handed. The attempt was part of the Golden Globe race around the world sponsored by the London Sunday Times.

During the seven months of his race, Donald Crowhurst went insane. He left behind a record of his thoughts in his captain's log.

The log books of Donald Crowhurst contain many signs of his advanced education. Crowhurst was acknowledged as a very smart and plausible man, and did design several nautical and navagational devices which, if manufactured, would have made him a comfortable living.

The early logs also reveal the indicators that would increasingly define his baffling form of insanity:

Ideodialect; the use of words in such ways that only the speaker understands them. Crowhurst's favorite ideodialectical terms were "the system," "the impulse," "the game," and "Time."

Obsessive grandiosity; belief that his mind had been blesssed with the ability to uniquely behold a Divine cosmological truth. Crowhust's logs toggle between correct notations of his boat's position, speed and direction, which require rational thought processes, and grandiose passages which describe a mathematical construct of man's relation to god and the universe. This construct, Crowhurst writes, empowers him to embrace and forgive all of mankind's faults and grievances.

Isolation fixation; conflicting, traumatic expressions of pain and obsession with his own social, emotional, and physical isolation from others. During the race Crowhurst realizes, with surprising acuity, that his boat will kill him if he attempts to round the Horn of Africa and enter the southern ocean. He engages in an audacious set of deceptions which give the impression that he is proceeding with the race at record-setting speed. He is, in fact, hiding in the untrafficked regions of the south Atlantic and defrauding his sponsors. His detachment from reality, his manic log entries, and his eventual suicide, all begin with this act of deception, which cuts him off from his family and community in England.

Donald Crowhurst's story is expertly described in his biography The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst by Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall.

The similarities between Crowhurt's last log entries, and the words of this author are, to me, astonishing. I wish this soul a happier future, and recommend the Crowhurst book as a cautionary tale, if only for its strong potential to remediate the feelings of profound loneliness to which so many bright but troubled thirty-something men are susceptible and which lead too easily to this form of solipsistic self-absorption, and to replace those feelings with a strong desire to seek fellowship other than with the reflections in the sterile wilderness of mirrors in which you are lost.

kiss-me-at-the-gate said...

This is one of my favorite posts in a long time, Rejecter... you are just too funny!

I'm sorry again for the misunderstanding earlier (I hope you got my email) and I'm behind you 100%. Thanks for keeping at it.

erin said...

The solution to an arch is the keystone. It was a major discovery.

writtenwyrdd said...

"Otherwise you'll just drown in your own shit and you'll never get better unless someone picks you out of it."

huh? 'Scuze me, but if you are busily floating (drowning?) in the slush/shit pile, you only get out if you can SWIM, that is to say, WRITE. That's the metaphore, and I'm...sticking with it.

Too much Kaka on the keyboard there. Gotta stop now.

Has anybody else tried to read Meika's stuff? I suggest you just back away from the nice doggy, because he's the pit bull type, and he won't let go once he sinks his teeth in. Just...Let...It...Go...

Anonymous said...

I think Meika has worked his way through both a sociology course and an athropology course. He's regurgitating fragments of lessons about the dissemination of ideas, but he's not really understanding those lessons. Before he started blithely started sending dissidents to Siberia, Stalin's first attempt to stifle expression was to simply withhold resources (basic ones like pens and papers) from artists and writers who didn't display the party ideals in their works. In a culture where everything was owned and distributed by the styte, his goal was the withholding of ideasd that didn't suit him.

In modern America we all have access to the most basic supplies to say what we want. The publishing company doesn't have a monopoly on any of these things. They're starting at zero and trying to build up the bank of dissemanated ideas in order to make a wad of cash. They'd never suppress anything that would succeed at this job. The slush pile isn't full of potential competitors that they want to shut down or stifle, either, because the writers are petitioning them. Anything in the slush pile that isn't deemed good enough to read is also not deemed as a threat to anything that the publisher is cranking out.

It's true, POD represents the very long tail of publishing. But that tail is long enough that, at some point, publishers don't want to catch it. I don't quite get the anonymous guy who is angry at inexperienced writers who go POD. I think the only way to become an "experienced and trained" writer is to write. And I think that POD fills the emotional need of many writers to be printed without costing me anything or slandering any profession. But I also don't care for the pail-and-shovel attitude of anyone who's POD. I like to play sandlot baseball; I like to watch professional baseball. One lets players do what they love for a living. The other just lets people do what they love. Both things are the same game.


Anonymous said...

Ocean Rescue Worker--do people on the brink of mental illness have the power to correct the situation themselves? Could they do it by reading a book about another mentally ill person? The book you describe sounds fascinating, and I would want to read it. But as a "cautionary tale"? Probably not. But we can at least be kind to people facing a similar fate.

On PODs. I write a monthly book review column in a very small and remote community. Big publishers and publicists for commercially published books usually pass me by. I get a fair amount of PODs. In 3 1/2 years of reviewing books, I've selected one of the PODs to review (a children's picture book with gorgeous art and an interesting story not particularly well told).

The POD stuff I'm seeing (and people find me through sources meaning they're doing research and have some sophisticating about writing and wanting to be published)is so seriously flawed that I don't like it, couldn't recommend it, and don't want to bother with it.

And I'm a wannabe published author myself.

jmho--POD is fine for books you're writing for your own family and friends, for memories and stuff, or stories you're writing for small communities about local history. While there are occasional success stories, and some decent stuff occasionally, it is, for the most part, a huge swamp of muck and mire.

So, I've stopped accepting PODs for review.