Saturday, 2 July 2011

In my 12 June post I said of the whole Kindle Store business, "suddenly self-publishing has become a little less desperate". Others have been more enthusiastic. Madame Guillotine has declared that she is "still highly enamoured with Kindle publishing and am now determined to only publish e-books from now on". And of course it has its attractions. The dozen of copies of LAC,o:tBB I've sold in the last three weeks is a dozen more than I would have sold without it. People have actually read it and said nice things about it (but nobody has yet posted a review - what, dear reader, are you waiting for?)

But. Big but. I can't really consider myself a "proper" published author.

I cannot submit LAC,o:tBB to the Man Booker committee. I am not eligible to join the Romantic Novelists' Association (except as a "New Writer", of course). So I am in something of a literary half-world.

And then, in a recent article in theguardian, Cory Doctorow argues that I perhaps shouldn't count myself as "self-published"; indeed I am not really published at all. Doctorow's argument starts from a statement by the Senior Editor at Tor Books, Patrick Nielsen Hayden.
A publisher makes a work public, it connects a work and an audience.
Taking this statement at face value, particularly the second clause, Doctorow suggests that "publication" on the Internet has become separate from the traditional functions of a traditional publisher: that is, many or all of selecting; editing; typesetting; printing; and distribution. Some of these no longer happen at all (printing, most obviously), and some can be done by the author (typesetting is built in to all the formatting done to create an uploadable file). Distribution is done by the Kindle Store. So what is left? Doctorow says:
The internet has created a large number of new kinds of publishers who act to connect works and audiences. These essentially group intosearch engines, then bloggers, curators, and tweeters, and finally suggestion algorithms (such as Amazon's "people who bought this also bought…" recommendations; Reddit's human voting system; Netflix's suggestion system).
He adds:
"Publishers" are everywhere, as general purpose as Google and as specialised as the obscure blog that manages to show a link to the three people in the world who care about it. Anyone with a future in a creative industry is going to have to make peace with this fact.
It's an interesting argument, and I'm not going to suggest that the author of one of the Internet's most read blogs is wrong, but I'm still not sure how it can get me nominated for a Booker, or into the RNA Winter Party.

1 comment:

Olympics Mascot said...
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