Thursday, July 13, 2006
(11:40 AM) | Adam R:
Libertad! Igualdad! Fraternidad!
You sullen pig of a man
you force me into the mud
with your stinking ash-cart!
--if we were rich
we'd stick our chests out
and hold our heads high!
It is dreams that have destroyed us.
There is no more pride
in horses or in rein holding.
We sit hunched together brooding
all things turn bitter in the end
whether you choose the right or
the left way
dreams are not a bad thing.
-William Carlos Williams
I am thinking bad thoughts. They are, "Maybe I will start a small press. Maybe I could do that." Like Anthony, my grad plans have been recently derailed by effing money, so while I reconsider entering the University of Baltimore in the fall, I find myself more serious about publishing than ever before. This is, of course, insane.
While the MFA industry is pumping out qualified writers faster than you can say "second-rate Bukowski," there are more and more venues to publish their work. As I surf the internet I find countless new companions for stalwart journals like Ploughshares and The Kenyon Review, most of them publishing equally legitimate work. I doubt that Ezra Pound would think twice about publishing in the embarrassingly named, No-Tell Motel. Put simply, there is a glut of writers creating a market for a glut of publishers.
So -- I'm turning now to ask The Weblog's resident venture capitalist, Aryeh Rafah -- isn't it a really, really bad idea to add to the mess? How does the law of supply and demand factor in?
I imagine that the law dictates that my press is bound to fail. I am confident of that. Aside from my own catalog of imperfections, the industry is not exactly set up to foster newcomers.
But there have been some magnificent successes, and some minor successes, and some stagnation, and some frustration. I am just beginning my, gasp, market research, my R&D, and I like what I hear from the writers and publishers and insiders I have interviewed so far. A writer who published with a significantly larger university press is unhappy with the way they support him, while a poet appreciates the much smaller company that released his work, and the few hundred dollars of royalties he receives once in a while.
I see my publishing empire achieving something similar to Dischord records -- basing success on hard work, talent, and undercutting the big guy's prices. I know that in order to do anything, I have to solve problems dealing with distributors and bookstores that no one else has been able to troubleshoot yet, but I have some ideas there. Of course, the ideas involve not starting a publishing company and starting a consulting firm to network between publishers, distributors and bookstores. But hopefully, AggAcad will be around to take care of all that for me.
So why am I telling you all this?