Saturday, April 23, 2005

Indie Publishing

A great article at Alternet by Johnny Temple, publisher and editor of Akashic Books. The article is about independent publishers and the state of publishing in general and the need for writers to take charge of their own careers

Today's indie publishing community is in some ways reminiscent of American punk rock in 1982. In that era, bands took it upon themselves to carve out networks that would connect the punk scene in San Francisco to the one in Phoenix, the one in Lawrence, Kansas, to the one in Washington, D.C., to Amsterdam's, to Belgrade's, to Israel's, to Bangkok's, and beyond. Working closely with indie labels, bands did the dirty work of booking their own tours and driving in decrepit vans and sleeping on floors and in parking lots--hammering out a vibrant (and, yes, highly flawed) new underground culture where one didn't exist before. A similar grassroots approach to local- scene building--and to the networking between those scenes--is under way in indie literature. Calling upon writers to do more of their own promotional "dirty work" is by no means a suggestion that they alone must carry this burden. To be sure, it is primarily the publishers' job to market the books they take on. is unwise for any author to hand over the reins of her career to someone she doesn't trust. The ideal, of course, is to collaborate with an attentive and zealous publisher, but the reality for most artists in any medium is that little is guaranteed beyond one's own efforts.
The article if interesting from a reader's standpoint and for anyone who dreams of someday publishing a book of her own.