Thursday, April 24, 2014

“It’s what we are being ‘trained’ to do.”

From: Reel Movie Nation 

“[…] Specific advice differs from one person to another, but most agree that good Literary Citizenship entails buying from local bookstores, attending readings, subscribing to literary magazines, interviewing writers, reviewing books, reading a friend’s manuscript, blurbing books, and so on.
     I agree with the value in all of these activities. Yes, by all means, if you want to build a literary career, you’ve got to form professional networks in your field. You’ve also got to support the small presses, bookstores, literary magazines and libraries in which you hope to see your own work showcased. This is so obvious that it’s surprising it has to be mentioned at all. But it does have to be mentioned, and those who write the blogs and manifestoes of advice are good to do so.
     What I think is missing from this narrative about Literary Citizenship, however, is an origin story. Why do writers need to do these things? In what context are these activities so necessary?
     To understand the rise of the Literary Citizen, perhaps first we need to look at the meltdown of our economy.
     […] ‘In times of recession, marketing budgets are…the first to be cut.’ [Jenny Darroch, Huffington Post]. Who, then, must make up for this shortfall? Certainly it’s not the owners and CEO’s of publishing companies who lend a hand to writers in times of duress (in spite of the fact that their profits are derived precisely from those writers). No, it’s writers who are expected to look after themselves and one another.
     Wildfire Marketing lays it out quite clearly. Company founder Rob Eagar informs publishers that there is a way to ‘maximize budgets in tough times.’ Namely, ‘You can train your authors to handle more of the marketing efforts. Writers who become skilled at promoting books can produce thousands of dollars in extra profits for the publisher.’”
— Becky Tuch, Salon
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