Two reasons why not to self-publish your book

Confession: I am an advocate of self-publishing. I have been for years. But my views are changing on the matter due to the glut of poorly written self-published books being released each year.  Serendipitously, I found this article in the London Evening Standard that offers two reasons why not to self-publish: 1) publishers and 2) editors.

Authors need publishers more than ever when there are so many voices out there competing for our attention. As Horowitz rightly says, the main raison d’être of a publisher is to provide the author with a skilful editor who can turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

Editors are the midwives of great literature. T S Eliot’s The Wasteland wouldn’t have been the masterpiece it is if it hadn’t been edited by Ezra Pound and his wife, Vivien.

The death of publishing is greatly exaggerated. We will still need publishers as long as we read books, just as we still need critics to review those books. It is part of the great filtering process of literature and culture. (link: Self-publishing makes us think we can write)

Any questions?

Always be prepared to read your poems

When I mentioned earlier today that you should join the Traveling Bonfires tonight at Malaprop’s, you really were invited to join the reading. Two of the three poets were unable to show up for tonight’s reading. The emcee of the poetry reading and founder of the Traveling Bonfires invited anyone in the audience to read poems. He asked me to read my poems as well.

I wasn’t prepared to read; only to listen. But no one else came prepared to read. So, I frantically dug into my old messenger bag and found two poetry chapbook manuscripts by other poets. For a brief moment I thought I would read from their manuscripts, but I didn’t want to read poems that weren’t ready for the public. Sandwiched between loose papers and a copy of Selected Cantos of Ezra Pound and Narrow Road to the Interior was my red notebook containing poem sketches and revisions. I had half of a thought to read selections from Pound and Basho, but in my notebook I found six poem sketches and revisions to test in front of an audience.

The moral of the story is this: always be prepared to read your poems and if you’re a poet in the Asheville area (or if you’re a poet traveling near the Asheville area) contact me or the Traveling Bonfires (travelingbonfires@yahoo.com) and we’ll find a space and a mic and a crowd of listeners.

// weird. fell asleep reading an ezra pound bio and woke up thinking i’m late for class.

// i didn’t know ezra pound had wisconsin connections… chippewa falls connections at that.

What editors do

From The New Yorker:

Editing takes a variety of forms. It includes the discovery of talent…. It can be a matter of financial and emotional support in difficult times…. an editor ordinarily tries to facilitate a writer’s vision, to recommend changes… that best serve the work…. editorial work is relatively subtle, but there are famous instances of heroic assistance: Ezra Pound cutting T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” in half when the poem was still called “He Do the Police in Different Voices”; Maxwell Perkins finding a structure in Thomas Wolfe’s “Look Homeward, Angel” and cutting it by sixty-five thousand words.

Link.