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From: "James Wynn" 
Subject: Re: (urth) GW sightings
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 14:19:52 -0500

Civet said:
 > So I think it's very possible
> that a self-published writer could establish a buzz in this day and age.
> it doesn't sound like a great solution for someone who depends on writing
> for their living, because god knows how long it would take to get
> profitable.
Crush responds:
Probably not much longer than it takes for a writer to find a publisher in
today's market. While a lot of lousy books are blocked out of publishing
companies, a lot of lousy books a greenlighted because the publisher thinks
he can sell them. There *is* a market for crap out there.

Nietzche didn't like the increase in literacy and publishing for the same
reason he didn't like democracy. He thought the result of both lacked
nobility -- that they churned out mediocracy. But Nietzche (while right) was
wrong (about so much). There is no guarantee or even likelihood that
limiting access to power (whether political or literary prominence)
increases the probability that those who gain it will be of higher quality.
This is because there are so many different ways of judging "quality", and
who judges the judges? There's no guarantee that an established noble class
won't produce well-educated, yet inbred, corrupt, and lazy leaders. (Aside:
Enron drew all its officers and employees from the very apex of the
meritocracy -- top 10% of the top schools). Nor is there any guarantee that
publishers won't largely choose to publish the literary equivalent of

New Publishing will probably take the place that literary mags like
"Amazing" and "The New Yorker" used to have. A writer can self-publish and
still seek an established market for the same work. An obscure
self-publishing author that makes very little money is arguably better off
than an obscure author that can't find a market for his work. True, in the
overwhelming din it will be difficult for a single author to become a
superstar, but it will be easier for more good writers to make a living at
their craft and to develop it putting it in front of readers.

Also, there will be more literary jobs in supporting industries. Consider
the potential future market for reviewers in this new world. Think of the
increased prominence of peer awards. How else will the bookstores be able to
weed the marketable crap from the unmarketable? Consider the potential
market for experts from the publishing industry to advise self-publishers.
Actually, as in the California Goldrush where most of the wealth was made by
selling shovels to prospectors, more money in new publishing overall will be
made by the supporting industries. Yet, consider the potential for a strange
work to to have success that no one could have anticipated. And more jobs
for illustrators of course.

-- Crush


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