MagCloud Counts on Homebrewed Magazines

Several POD services offer magazine trim sizes (in addition to standard book sizes), but Hewlett-Packard hopes to create its own niche with their latest foray into the DIY world: MagCloud. I only know this because The New Podler posted a piece of commentary on a related The New York Times article. The part that stuck in my head:

We live in a moment in time when anyone can write whatever they want and get it out there. Yet so very few of these efforts are actually worth spending the time with. Most self-published efforts not only have nothing to say, they say whatever they want to convey badly.

Good point. POD volume has the potential to grossly outweigh traditional print volume, if it hasn’t already. Most of that will probably suck (as it does now). The simple truth: the self-publishing movement has transferred the slush pile from the editor’s office to the Internet. The reader (and not the editor) is now saddled with the task of sifting through the slush to find the gems. That’s not a flame or a subtle insult. It’s the difference between intriguing cover art, proper punctuation / margins / text justification—and a $20 perfect-bound rough draft set in Comic Sans. You can find the former, but only after wading through dozens of the latter. And at a premium. DIY books are more expensive than traditional print books, and way too many DIY authors are hesitant to offer quality previews of their work. In other words, you don’t know what you get until it arrives in the mail. As an author, I’m totally biased in favor of my own work, and the stigma surrounding the self-publishing world just kills me. However, as an ex-editor, I know that most stories and books are “meh,” and only a precious few are “wow!” As an editor, I’m shaking my head and going, “MagCloud. Great. One more outlet for the masses to spew out their thoughts almost as soon as they think them.”

Still, I want it to work. I want MagCloud to succeed so that I can jump onboard with my own little magazine down the line and get me some of that POD pie. We all want that, don’t we?