Tuesday, February 27, 2007

No Contests, No Reading Fees, No Excuses

Here's a copy of the post card we're distributing at AWP and elsewhere. It looks blue on my browser, but the actual card is red and black. The other side has more copy on the back, but it's too light and obscure to read on my browser. It says "Red Morning Press will never fund itself through contests or reading fees./ Truly independent publishing demands it./ If you believe in the mission, then buy a book.../...or start your own press./ Ask us how."

If you want some to distribute, email me and we'll mail you some.

The longer we run RMP, the more convinced I am that writers should take a serious look at self-publishing. We receive so many manuscripts that deserve to be published, but we simply can't publish them all. It's a shame that those authors will have to keep searching for a publisher or hoping to win a contest. One of the messages we wanted to communicate on the post card is that if anyone wants to self-publish or start their own press, we're here to help. If you want tips or advice on navigating the process, we're more than willing to share what we've learned.



Hamish MacDonald said...

Thanks for posting this. I started a micropress about a year ago, hand-binding my novels, and it's been a great breakthrough -- completely liberating. It removes all the bitterness and frustration that result from trying to woo indifferent or troubled publishing businesses into producing my work.

Still, though, it's easy to backslide sometimes. At the doctor's a few weeks back, an assistant asked me when she saw that I write for a living if I was published. Even people who have nothing to do with the business ask industry questions, and sometimes I'm caught off guard -- particularly when they do understand the mass-market version and don't understand my explanation of an original, indie, do-it-yourself culture-of-one.

While it's difficult to reconcile not getting the marketing push and the production costs that come with being traditionally published, I truly believe that doing it yourself puts your heart back in the right place. Art is what we create out of our lives, prompted by what moves inside us, and we don't need permission from corporations to do it!

I'm increasingly annoyed that the industry (and, again, lay-people) are relating more and more to literature as some kind of horse-race. Everything's a list or a contest. But as you said here, and as designer Bruce Mau put it in his Incomplete Manifesto, "Don’t enter awards competitions. Just don’t. It’s not good for you." I don't want to learn how to second-guess contests or editors or arts-grant applications, I want to become truer and truer to the work I'm supposed to be doing.

Sorry for taking up so much space. I just really appreciated reading this post. Thank you.

Red Morning Press said...

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. Take as much space as you want!