Levi Asher, of Literary Kicks, (previously mentioned) invited agents, publishers, booksellers and authors to participate in a discussion on marketing books--something set off by questions about hardbound versus paperbacks--why publishers of literary fiction don't put out first editions in paper back, why we don't get reviews of paperbacks... I had about the same time, raised some related questions, but on a more theoretical level, about reviews and marketing--whether or not all reviews are essentially reviews of books "as commodities." (See about three posts down) Ads in disguise. No matter the integrity or intention of the reviewer.
I was profoundly disturbed by the contributions of Simon Lipskar on Asher's blog. Now, Lipskar, an agent for Author's House, and no doubt a fine advocate for the writers he serves, offered insider informed arguments on how the system works, what is and is not possible.
What's wrong here, I asked myself? He's on the side of his clients. He knows his business.
I posted some questions of my own--what does it mean for how we perceive our work as writers, for how we evaluate literary merit, in a context where there can be no competing "reality" but that of the market--where the real value is determined by the bottom line--and all the rest is mere opinionating from the margins?
How do we not let that affect the aesthetic judgments we make? As writers? As critics? ...and inescapably--as reviewers?
Levi Asher, in reviewing the discussion to date, wrote that this should not be about Capitalism versus whatever... but deal with what we can expect from the realities we're left with.
I agree and disagree. Yes, this is valuable in the limits he sets out. I'm learning. I want to make a buck for my efforts like anyone else. So I pay attention and am happy for this discussion.
But why? ... I keep having these nagging doubts, that the cards are stacked against success for what I think really matters.
It's like the message here is: GET WITH THE PROGRAM.
And! WoW! If You aren't watching those GET RICH WITH REAL ESTATE (well... not anymore)... HERE'S how you can (maybe not exactly "get rich"), but ... like Writer's Digest... pure ideological whitewash...
Is that what the whole Beat thing comes down to for you, Levi?
How the mighty have fallen...