MAY 2013…Catch up
We’ve only just began to talk to other authors
Thomas Keneally said it was a “grand concept’….”a splendid idea”.
James Bradley, who I’d written to in hope and desperation when my daughter was sick in Athens – her need for me somehow motivated me to at last take action about the paltry earnings from my writing (see “A Chronicle of e publishing” February 2012)- said: “I’m really interested to see where it’s ended up – it’s a great initiative”.
Marion Campbell, whose books are being converted as I write, says:
This fabulous initiative of wutheringink marks a genuinely utopian departure.
My heartfelt congratulations and my abiding gratitude for creating this visionary portal!
The celebrated playwright Stephen Sewell, (whose play texts are also being converted as I write) talking of the traditional publishing status quo, with its inclusion only of chosen Australian authors onto the world stage, says:
Yesterday I listened to a RN program from a Writers Festival, and heard four prominent crime writers talking about their work, and I realised I didn’t have the slightest interest in what any of them had to say, nor the kind of work they were describing, and further realised I really had no idea what (contemporary) crime fiction was, but listening to them I understood that it is a highly ossified convention-driven genre with a very prescriptive idea of what is and is not (true) crime. This made me think that marketing has basically destroyed writing and writers (who in this program sounded like git celebrities) and that if it is true people are reading more than they did fifty years ago (or at least selling more books), they must by and large reading work that is interchangeable with commercial cinema and television.
This made me face the demon I mentioned to you the other day, the fear that I’m turning into a unprincipled huckster flogging my wares by whatever means I can. I thought film had become a brothel, but after listening to these authors I thought they could probably give lessons in how low you need to go, which on the evidence looks almost plutonic.
Which is all by way of saying that I think your self-publishing idea is fantastic, but I think we can add a new element to the mix (I’m sure this has already been part of your conversation with the others, so just consider what I am about to say my catchup): There has been a way in which we all (the planet at large) has been suckered into the idea that what the internet is useful for is flogging stuff – expanding the potential market – etc etc, and this has led us down the dark paths of marketing-thought, trying to imagine what sort of stunt we could use to promote our own stuff (or “shit” as I believe the true marketer would term it in professional circumstances) and so we have ignored or forgotten the truly liberating implications of the net and allowed ourselves (myself) to become a (rather unsuccessful) prostitute(s).
SOoooo, I want to take a pledge (maybe a pledge like the original DOGME pledge) that I will never use the words “market”, “customer”, “client” or such-like disgusting, predatory and utilitarian terms myself, or allow them to pass unchallenged in my presence, again; and that from now on, I will use the terms we used to use, namely our audience or readers or reader, for those people with whom we explore the worlds we as writers and audience members and readers ourselves wish to open up and be opened up for us. They are our friends and colleagues – or enemies to be destroyed, as case may be – and not our customers and meal-tickets to be cultivated and tricked.
AND I would like to propose that your group – of whom I would love to be a member – should include a loud, obstreperous and rude manifesto on the proposed website of our intention to join and expand the warfront of the revolution in publishing, seizing the opportunities the internet has offered to eradicate the debasement of what once was regarded by many as a fine art into the vilest street trade, a machine spewing Crime, Action, Lyrical Realism, Erotica, Young Adult, Australiana, etc upon tedious etc into an increasingly cynical readership (who may indeed buy a book, but more and more often never finish it). And that instead of what might be called a Happy Meal for the Mind (though less and less so, and I’m not sure when the mind was last a consideration at all) our readers will be offered the quirky, savage and individual offerings of indie fiction and the adventure of taking up the challenge of the internet themselves, and engaging in what we used to call exploring literature.
Like the film actors, directors and writers who established the once great United Artists studio trying to wrest creative control back from the executives and moneymen, we wish to reclaim the book for the people whose hearts and souls go into them, and for the readers who cherish them. And what is magic about the moment is that the technology is allowing us to do exactly that. The time is ripe, the stakes are high and the old world is dead, but the light that is shining through the crack of the future is blinding, and we know it’s time to act.
Wuthering Ink – Our mission is to change the world one book at a time.