Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bye, Bye P.O.D. Stigma

Sorry about the informal title of this post, but -- dang! -- I heard Don McLean's song, "American Pie," a few hours ago, and I haven't been able to get rid of that earworm ever since. Oh, well, there are bigger challenges in life than earworms, although I can't think of very many at the moment.

While my head was wrapped around Don McLean, I decided to look him up on the Net and see what he was up to these days. And, much to my delight, I discovered that he's just used a P.O.D. publisher ( to release an autobiography -- well, sort of an autobiography. Actually, technically, it's a biography. The Don McLean Story: Killing Us Softly With His Song (it seems McLean was the inspiration for Roberta Flack's song, "Killing Me Softly" -- who knew?) was actually written by Alan Howard, but McLean claims the book tells his (McLean's) side of the story. You can read all about the book at

No, it's not a review in Publishers Weekly or Library Journal. Maybe the mainstream book reviewers will avoid Don McLean's life story, even though it is Don McLean's life story, because it has been released by a P.O.D. publisher. Maybe, to that degree, McLean's book promotion potential is limited.

But you know what? This is Don McLean we're talking about. I can't think of a newspaper or magazine in the country that wouldn't mention the book as part of a feature/lifestyle/entertainment story, and I can't imagine a radio or television show that would turn down the opportunity to do an interview with this particular personality and let him promote his book.

It's always wonderful to see "name brands" such as McLean (and, yes, even Amy Fisher, although I'm sorry to use those two names in the same sentence) choose to publish through a company such as Each time that happens, the old P.O.D. stigma gets more and more difficult to justify. I, for one, would like to see it fade away completely, and I'd like to see all members of the media offer the same book promotion opportunities to P.O.D.-published books that they do to mainstream-published books.

One day, perhaps, that will happen. For now...does anyone know how to get rid of an earworm? I love Don McLean dearly, but after listening to him sing his trademark song in my head for the last five hours or so, I am ready for a change. Perhaps I can just switch tunes. No! No! Not that! Starry, starry night.... No! No! No!


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

If ShapeShifter were a real band, I'd send you some music to help chase that bad old American Pie away. But they're not. Sorry.

I really stopped in to cheer you on about the whole POD issue. There's a lot of really great stuff being overlooked by the familiar houses -- I was reading tonight about a self-published book that sold 25,000 copies before being picked up by Putnam.

The downside is that I read the book in question. It would have benefited greatly from going through the editing process -- in spots, the writing dropped in quality, and that could have been fixed by a good editor.

Stacey J. Miller said...

You've hit on the real problem. Most of the POD companies now have the distribution issue under control. Their books are, at least, usually available at one or more of the major online bookstores and, often, are even listed with Ingram.

The final frontier is getting them to assign a professional copy editor and proofreader to each book. That way, even book review editors will take POD books as seriously as they do mainstream books.

When that happy day comes, maybe all mainstream publishers will also take that sort of care with their book projects.

And, one day, someone will invent a cure for earworms. Ah, well. It's nice to fantasize....