It’s my blog and I can cry if I want to… and blow my own horn. In my first post I pointed out that 2/3’s of Paula Todd’s “Finding Karla” e-essay was an error riddled rehash of Karla’s crimes.
In various media reports breathlessly lauding the Finkle/Todd excercise as the advent of a new form of personalized digital publishing (previously known as “vanity publishing”) – a story that was current about three years ago but news to Canadian media types such as Simon Houpt at the Globe and Mail and Greg Quill from the Toronto Star.
They must have missed all that reportage in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian and virtually every other major organ in the United States, Great Britain and Europe about start ups like Byliner and the evolution of long-form journalism. But that’s another topic.
The problem with vanity publishing is exactly Finkle and Todd’s problem – you are your own fact checker and editor. Because they did not made the effort necessary to command the facts, they published a small essay that is severely fact challenged. If it were a dissertation Todd would be denied her degree.
According to Derek Finkle’s well-placed wink-wink-and nod to suggestible scribblers, their little digital vanity publishing experiment took about 75,000 people for $2.99 plus tax. Not a bad sleight of mind.
On the subject of Karla’s crimes, almost everyone alive with any knowledge of the case believes they have been retold too often. It is also somewhat ironic that the best and most succinct account can be had for free.
If I’m not mistaken, you can sample the first two or three chapters of any book you download (I know this to be true for iBooks) to decide if it’s worth putting out $9.99 or $12.95 or whatever. Thomas Pynchon’s recently digitally re-issued “Mason & Dixon” cost almost $14.00 including tax, but I was able to remind myself why it was worth every penny before I shelled out.
Apparently this was not the case with the Todd/Finkle offering but then again it was published as the short stuff i.e. as a Kindle Short. However, this sampling facility certainly applies to my last book on the case, “Karla: A Pact with the Devil”
I’ve included the link to the American Kindle edition below. In first three pages of the first chapter entitled “In the Beginning” is the best and most succinct summation of Karla’s crimes in existence. You can also read the first chapter on my website www.stephenwilliamsbooks.com by clicking the “Books” navigation button and then clicking the “Karla” button.
Given that we are approaching the 20th Anniversary of Karla’s conviction and the 10th Anniversary of her release from prison, it really should have been the last word on the subject.