PR for People Monthly August 2017 - Page 38

frustrat-ed with this writing marketplace. If we release a book with CreateSpace or another free service, it is automatically disqualified from tenure calculation formulas, from major awards, and major review-ers. CreateSpace occasionally prints their books with Ingram, a top printer of books for academic and small press market, and other international printers, so its printing cannot be discounted as infe-rior to what “major” publishers offer. While the author enters information into CreateSpace’s tem-plates themselves, he or she would provide this information to one of the Big Four prior to publica-tion as well. All authors also do basic formatting and typesetting for their books today in Word or other word processing programs that would have been the most time-consuming part of publishing a book before computers.

In this sense, all authors, unless somebody else transcribes the book for them, publish themselves to-day. The boundaries between printer, distributor, publisher and author are blurred, and legal defini-tions are needed to separate these roles, rather than theoretical ones. If an author performs any of the services that constitutes a publisher, including marketing or publicizing themselves, he or she is self-publishing. In fact, it would be very strange for anybody in the nineteenth century to hear this term as they would think it was a grammatical error. Consider these two sentences: “I published the book.” “I self-published the book.” The second sentence is technically a “fragment” according to Word, and it repeats a variation of the pro-noun “I” twice. In other words, it is saying, “I, yes, truly myself, published the book.” Thus, the cor-rect term to describe free setup, distribution and printing of books is… publishing, without private or “self” added to it, as these books are publicly released, and an outside company other than yourself helps to print and distribute it. If a writer pays for publishing services, or profits from an advance is not a matter for reviewers to contemplate because the exchange of funds between an author and the publisher is a private transaction between two consenting contractual parties, and should not be the major factor in disqualifying a book from review and therefore access to readers.

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…[I]t comes over me in a kind of rage every now and then, like * * * *, and then, if I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad. As to that regular, uninterrupted love of writing, which you describe in your friend, I do not understand it. I feel it as a torture, which I must get rid of, but never as a pleasure. On the contrary, I think composition a great pain.

—January 2, 1821, Byron to Moore

…[Y]ou can only produce to order works which are no better than works of mere craftsmanship because of their lack of essential conditions of art… a true work of art is the revelation (by laws beyond our grasp) of a new conception of life arising in the artist’s soul, which, when expressed, lights up the path along which humanity progresses.

—Leo Tolstoy, “On Art”

If we project Leo Tolstoy’s conclusions onto the publishing industry, we can extrapolate that solicited submissions by major publishers from popular authors must be works of “mere craftsmanship” because they lack the three essential elements of art, “importance,” “beauty,” and “sincerity.” The “traditional” model forces writers to find publishers that will sign multi-book contracts with them or will commission future books based on the sales success of previous titles. Thus, authors are always forced into reproducing formulas from their own and other writers “successful” publications, which leave the modern publishing climate under a pile of crafted reproductions that fail to progress neither the writing art nor humanity. In contrast, canonical writers that started their own publishing businesses have been able to write art that elevated the form and humanity because they wrote what their “soul” or their mind conceived and not what a corporation ordered to fit its business interests. A writer needs money to win

the liberty to write from the soul rather than for the wallet, and this liberty comes with the added bonus of literary associations when the writer makes a living from publishing not only themselves but also other writers.

Note: This is an excerpt from my forthcoming book, The History of British and American Author-Publishers, which will be given away for free to authors and interns querying Anaphora, just as my Book Production Guide has been. 10,000+ copies of the latter has been downloaded here.

Lord George Gordon Byron. Byron’s Letters and Journals, Volume I-XII. Leslie A. Marchand, Ed. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press & Belknap Press, 1973-1982), January 2, 1821, Byron to Moore, Vol. VIII, 55.

Charles Neider, Ed. Essays of the Masters. (New York: First Cooper Square Press, 2000), Leo Tolstoi, “On Art,” 1895-7; 379.

Ibid., 377.

Anna Faktorovich, Ph.D., is the Founder, Director, Designer and Editor-in-Chief of the Anaphora Literary Press, which has published over 200 titles in non-fiction, fiction and poetry.