Foot Notes : Publishing Perplexities

Writing, like all forms of expression, can be morphed to suit whatever purpose is at hand. How well it suits that purpose determines whether or not the writing gets published. Any published work is a representation of the writer, with posthumously published drafts being the exception necessary to prove the rule. Industrially published works (those commissioned by industry, not necessarily concerning one) are also representatives of some initiative (profit, education, public relations, etc.) by some company. To pay the writer, edit for approval, print the materials on whatever platform, to do all of that instead of solving the problem another way is an investment from which results are as much expected as needed. This is the case for academic writing, technical writing, and also any creative writing meant to entertain, sell, or propagandize.

Conspicuously absent is creative writing intended as an expression of self, because that which is first and foremost artistic, the industries want nothing to do with. Why should they? Despite what Citizens United may say, corporations are not people; despite what capitalist apologists say, they do not care about people. They are not designed to be the first thing, and have no capability for the second. Art is people’s domain. It is us. But printing and distributing? Indisputably company territory.  And as mentioned, a company stamp of approval always means an expected return on investment – even nonprofits need money to stay in business. Therefore truly artistic writing has an innate difficulty in getting published.

To bypass that process an individual would need authoritative access to professional printing and distribution services. No normal person has the money to get any of that. But someone like Jeff Bezos, with corporate influence and allegiance to literature? He has the scratch, and because of that, anyone can do anything they want and have Amazon print it as a book.

But this isn’t some shadow advertisement for Amazon’s self-publishing platform, as since its inception, plenty of other viable platforms have come into existence as well. The fact remains though, that no matter where artistic writing is published, there are good odds it won’t sell well. It isn’t designed to, and is competing with things that are. Yet for an artistic writer, maintaining final say and ability to craft the book as an expression of their way is an invaluable opportunity. This is the first time in history that artistic writers en masse do not have to concern themselves with commercial viability. Nothing is in the way of sharing what they’ve done in an effective manner; I call for all that have the urge to embrace it as I have done. Never know how long the opportunity will last.

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