What is fiction? What is it for? Hints at an answer to these imponderables turn up in the unlikeliest places. For example, in an old article on psychology's replication crisis: If it turned out that people were so variable that even very close replications threw up entirely different results, “it would mean that we could … Continue reading Manifesto, Advertisement, and Excerpt: Introducing The Class of 2000
There was a debate recently on social media over indie press Tyrant Books's tweeted proclamation that "they no longer accept agented authors." The pro-agent side argued that agents were necessary as advocates for the economic and creative interests of authors, while the anti-agent side claimed that agents were bottom-line-focused gatekeepers of the middlebrow, inescapable duller … Continue reading Buy Portraits and Ashes for Small Business Saturday!
As you might have guessed from yesterday's defense of self-published literary fiction, I have independently published a novel, Portraits and Ashes. For a brief description, here is the back cover copy: Julia is an aspiring painter without money or direction, haunted by a strange family history. Mark is a successful architect who suddenly finds himself unemployed … Continue reading Announcing Portraits and Ashes
If American literature had been left wholly in the hands of established publishers—Ticknor and Fields, for instance—Longfellow might have remained our greatest poet. But Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos, had Leaves of Grass printed, at his own expense, in 1855—he even set most of the type himself. Likewise, if Virginia … Continue reading Literary Fiction: To Self-Publish or Not?
Let us continue to count, and talk, and think about the numbers. —Claire Vaye Watkins As one of the major theses of Claire Vaye Watkins’s celebrated manifesto, “On Pandering,” is that the subject-position I represent should not be acknowledged as a legitimate authority on the essay’s quality or cogency, I will not address myself to … Continue reading Punching What?
No doubt due to the creeping horrors of the slush pile—agrammatical erotica, all-caps conspiracy theories, and suchlike—every journal, editor, and agent in the literary land has published a list of don’ts for writers who want to submit their work. However “we’re-all-in-this-together” such lists are meant to sound, they generally have a scolding school-like tone, either … Continue reading Don’ts for Journals, Editors, and Agents
Later, as the 1980s came to a close, publishing began to change, and there were obstacles. She began to complain to me that publishers seemed to want her to be an unpaid member of their marketing department, when it was her job to write. Publishing houses started to become parts of conglomerates, imprints were bought … Continue reading “Don’t get rid of art; get rid of social relations.”